When I get home from any trip one of the things I like most - aside from sleeping in my own bed again! - is taking a trip around the garden to see what has been happening while I have been away. Even if I have only been a way for a night I like to go and see what is growing or flowering.
There were a lot of leaves down already. In fact there were more leaves down here than I had seen in New England it seemed. We also had a lot of apples (i.e. small hard inedible rocks that the apple tree produces!) down, but hubby had picked them up before I got chance to take a picture.
I was surprised to see this giant mushroom growing, it must be four of five inches across! I didn't pick it though as I would be too worried, and I suspect that it is going over now in any case. It looks to me just like the sort of mushroom that you would see a little elf or pixie sheltering under.
There were just two flowers left on this beautiful bright pink penstemon, but it was lovely to see them in any case. The rowan leaves are changing colour and the birds have been eating the berries already. I saw a blackbird trying to eat them and I notice that there are a lot less berries than before we went away. These are always one of the first things that get eaten in the garden.
Although they might not look like much, these two pictures really delighted my heart. This is the best that this daisy has ever flowered. It was so wonderful to see it, and I was even more delighted to see this Japanese anemone flower as I have been growing this plant for about 4 years now and it is the first time that it has ever flowered. As you will see there are several spent flowerheads so I have obviously missed more flowers too. To say I was excited would be an understatement!!
Of course there are other more normal signs of the changing seasons as well. The forsythia leaves are turning a beautiful dark red colour and the sedums are blooming too. Any passing insects and bees will be glad to stop and visit these.
The wildflower bed really is past its best now. This week I will clear it and pick up some seeds to sow for next year having learned that wildflower seeds are best sown in the autumn. Apparently some of them need to be frosted to stimulate germination so next year I hope they will be even better. It has been fun to grow them and there has always been something in flower all summer even if it has been a bit faded looking in recent weeks.
The leaves of the peony are turning too. Of course I really grow these for the beautiful flowers they produce, but the red leaves are another benefit later in the year too.
I have absolutely no idea what the flowers are in the picture below. Perhaps someone can identify them. They only open up when it is bright and warm and sunny and are a stunning shade of pink. When we moved here they were already here and I moved them to this spot and they love it. I love them too!!
More sedums. I really do love these for the late season colour they provide as well as the benefit they give to the insects and butterflies. It is amazing how feathery they look when you get up close to them.
This marigold is still going and doing its best so I will leave it until it is spent. The geraniums are still putting on a show as well which was nice to see as they were also looking a bit past it when we went away. I have never had much luck in keeping these from year to year. I don't have space indoors to keep them and no greenhouse.
Last year though I put the ones I had in one of the raised beds and they made it through the winter. Mainly I suspect because the weather was so mild. So in the hope that I can keep the plants from last year as well as the new ones I bought this year going again I have bought a small plastic "greenhouse". Actually, it is more like a plastic cold frame. No idea if it will work, but nothing ventured nothing gained.
The grapes are really ripening up now and looking good. I haven't tasted one yet in case they ripen some more. Although they look amazing, they are usually hard with very thick skins and far too sharp to eat. I think they must be a wine grape of some sort rather than a dessert grape. Who knows though, I have had a hankering to make some grape jelly so perhaps I will pick them in a while and see what happens. The birds will be disappointed though as they usually get to eat the grapes!
One thing that hasn't faired at all well is this pot of mint. it was growing really well when we left. Now I think that it is a gonner. Strange, because mint is one of the toughest of herbs and can actually be quite a thug if you grow it directly into the soil - which is why it is in a pot. Oh well, I can get another one next year!
The grass is being mown though and the borders are looking pretty good considering, but I really must get out and start on some tidying up work while the sun is still out and it is dry.
Now, I have left the best till last - well second from last actually - but the last thing outdoors! This yucca is in our front garden. It has been there for about 9 or 10 years - I cant quite remember when I planted it. Last year it started to produce a flower spike I think in about October or November and it got wet and cold and came to nothing. So imagine my surprise and delight to return home to this sight! If it stays warm enough it should flower which will be wonderful as my yucca in the back garden didn't bloom this year. Yay!! Here's hoping.
Oh, I forgot, and the weigela is flowering again - this is very unusual.
Last of all, as the house seemed rather bare and empty when we got home I bought two bunches of flowers - wild extravagance I realise! - from the supermarket. They just seemed to shout out autumn with these wonderful orangey red and yellow tones though and they were on offer, so it would have been rude not to buy something wouldn't it!!
I hope that all is going well in your own gardens with the change of seasons from summer to autumn and winter to spring depending on where you are.