This is our fifth autumn in this house and as each October ends we've noticed that the air-conditioner seldom kicks on no matter how warm the day. The sun is so low that it can't penetrate the still-full, green canopy of the two tall pecan trees to heat the rooms on that end of the house. The east end of the garden gets sun in the morning, but by the middle of the day the back garden is all shadows. As the sun swings around to the west around 3 PM, it illuminates the outside edge of the garden along the fence and then shines on the vegetable patch. After barely surviving the long hot summer, the pepper plants obey their biological imperative, using the sun at low power to reproduce and set a couple of dozen peppers. We'll let the peppers run their race to grow until the freeze warning comes - and will be glad to have even a small crop!
In late afternoon enough sun falls on the Secret Garden to trigger a few Confederate Rose blooms. Hibiscus mutabilis is a close relative of hardy Hibiscus like my 'Blue River II'. Confederate Rose can grow to tree size in Austin if sited well, but my small plant is new this year - a passalong from my friend Carole, it's still in a 10" container.
Enough sun fell through the pecan leaves to set buds on the Camellia sasanqua 'Shishi Gashira' a few months ago. The taller, older Camellia japonica did not enjoy this summer. It looks stressed and may have a handful of flowers this winter. In contrast this little sasanqua didn't seem to suffer one bit and is prepared to open dozens of blossoms.
When I wrote about berries in October I had to leave out the most spectacular berry in our yard - a tall Yaupon near the gate. The paperbark type of birch tree was always something I admired for decades but could never own. They didn't do well in Illinois and could not survive here. Now the sight of bright berries, beautiful trunks and white bark have vanquished any longing for birches... I love my yaupon!
The morning sun is enough to make these Brugmansia set buds but they develop more slowly than they did a month ago. If frost comes too soon these buds will never become yellow trumpets and the peppers and warm weather annuals will die and these passionvines will turn to threads, but the garden won't go to sleep.
Instead, as the pecans let loose their leaves, the winter sun will shine through the spaces between the bare branches. When the shadows turn again to sun it will be time to plant pansies and snapdragons, alyssum and dianthus. The loquat will keep opening fragrant flowers and when we take our coffee out to the patio, we'll be glad to have the patio umbrella over our heads.
2016 – APRIL ANNIE’S GARDEN DAY
1 month ago