California’s Subtle Fall Show

The New England states are known for their color this time of year. Vibrant reds and golds brighten the skylines and bring tourists near and far. I love it there, and long to visit every year.

California on the other hand puts on a subtle show.

Here’s a peek from my backyard as the garden folds up shop for the approaching winter.

The Fringe Flower is covered in fuchsia blooms this time of year. They remind me of miniature pom-poms. I love their brilliant color.

Loropetalum chinense or Chinese Fringe Flower

Loropetalum chinense or Chinese Fringe Flower

Polka dot plants are commonly grown indoors. I bought a few for my fairy garden three summers ago, then transplanted them when they got too large for the area. Little did I know that they would come back year after year, bigger and better than the last. In mid-October they start producing these tiny purple flowers. They’re hard to photograph against the busy background, but they catch my eye in the morning, autumn sun.

Polka dot plants (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

Polka dot plants (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

These brilliant white anemones produced a fraction of their usual blooms this year. They tolerate a lot of conditions, but they don’t like droughts. They generally bloom profusely in August, yet here they are blooming in mid-October doing their best to survive.

Anemone hupehensis

Anemone hupehensis sports a visitor

That’s an Orb Weaver spider, hanging out on the flower. He’s bathed in the traditional fall colors but that’s nothing new. He’s the same color year round, but seems to show up in our garden around this time. He’s not camouflaging at all, but I guess if you’re the biggest spider on the block, you can show off on the tip of a white bloom whenever you want to.

Orb Weaver Spider

Orb Weaver Spider

Our Japanese Maple Acer produces rich red seed pods and variations of amber leaves. It’s one of two deciduous trees in our yard. I look forward to the color changes every year.

Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' or Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ or Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple Acer palmatum

Japanese Maple Acer palmatum

And finally, here are my raspberry vines, dying back for the winter. I missed those warm, fresh berries straight from the vine this year, along with fresh tomatoes, sunflowers and summer annuals.

Raspberry vines

Raspberry vines dying back

Some of you are heading into fall this month, and others are ushering in spring. What color heralds the arrival of your new season?

Welcoming Christmas in the Fairy Garden

I thought I spotted Santa in the fairy garden! On closer inspection I realized it was a pair of reindeer and a bag of toys. Santa must be down at the local coffee shop, getting his fill before the big night. The reindeer lingered to see if they could spot any carrots growing in the curb garden. Sorry fellows. I’ve been a lazy winter gardener this year.

reindeer on the roof fairy garden

A couple of reindeer in search of a carrot

Boomdee sent this charming little Christmas sign all the way from Alberta, Canada. Isn’t it adorable? It will be welcoming the wee visitors for years to come.

christmas fairy garden

All decked out for the holiday

The miniature cyclamen is back in business, preferring the colder weather to our summer heat. The baby tears revived as well and are filling in nicely. I added a pair of hypoestes also known as polka dot plants  for a bit of white contrast. I’ve never seen this white variety. They’re usually pink.

cyclamen and baby tears

Baby tears and cyclamen

White 'polka dot' plant

White ‘polka dot’ plant

In case they’re looking for some exercise, I’ve added a small ice-skating rink. San Jose doesn’t get that cold, so like our local hockey team, the San Jose Sharks, we made our own ice.

ice skating pond

Fairy garden ice rink (we have to bring in fake ice and snow)

If I’ve timed this right, it’s still Christmas in the southern hemisphere and almost Christmas in the north. Merry Christmas!

September Treats: A Little of This and That

purple flower polka dot plant

Tiny purple blooms dot the Polka Dot plant

My garden’s been busy over the weekend. In just 24 hours, the Pink Polka Dot plant produced several flowers.  I didn’t know the plant would actually bloom.  All plants have a flower and a fruit, but many are subtle and therefore go unnoticed. Tiny purple flowers dot the plant.  They’re quite small, no bigger than a centimeter, but they look vibrant against the mostly pink and green backdrop of the spotted leaves.  What a fun discovery.

yellow daisy like flower

Three cheers for yellow!!!

Also growing in one of the pots is a fresh, yellow daisy or daisy-like flower.  It’s another surprise from the packet of wildflowers planted in early spring. Every few weeks, a new flower appears. Today’s gorgeous bloom is as bright as a sunflower, but smaller in size. Yellow flowers are the garden cheerleaders: upbeat and sunny.

In that same pot, one or two fuchsia cosmos remain, a nice backdrop for the hummingbirds darting in and out at the feeder.

bird house gourd

Bowling-pin Gourd

I smiled when I rounded the corner of the trellis and saw a rapidly growing birdhouse gourd still thriving on the vine.  Most of the early fruit was small, but this latest gourd is growing at break-neck speed.  In its present form, it reminds me of a bowling pin.  Several smaller gourds grew up the trellis to the side of the house and they now hang below the eaves like a string of Christmas lights. Every time I see them I get a good giggle.

Tomorrow is October 1st with a projected temperature of 94 degrees Fahrenheit  (34 degrees Celsius). Crazy weather!  I’m starting my Halloween countdown in earnest tomorrow, featuring something seasonal daily.  Stay tuned.

I love October!  How about you?

cosmo and hummer

Cosmo and Hummingbird
Beauty Times Two

Christmas light gourds

Who needs to hang Christmas lights?