Saturday, November 7, 2015


Finally we are through all that summer heat madness and can look forward to cooler days ahead. It is beginning to feel like fall but, alas, fall in my garden doesn't bear much resemblance to the falls I remember growing up in England or when we lived in Canada. With mainly live oaks and junipers and few deciduous trees there is little in the way of those vibrant oranges and reds.
My fall color comes from the berries on the pyracantha which have turned color almost overnight. Paired here with the mock orange, Philadelphus 'Natchez' The mock orange has become a reliable re-bloomer in recent years.

More red berries on the ornamental pepper, Capsicum annuum 'black pearl' which, with its deep burgundy leaves pairs well with the lighter leaves of sage and columbine.

The fruit is beginning to ripen on the calamondin orange. It will be perfect to bring into the house for the holiday season.

And there are certain flowers which wait until the fall to bloom. Mexican mint marigold, Tagetes lucida.

Gomphrena decumbens 'grapes' This is a perennial variety of gomphrena which dies back during the winter but has returned for 3 years. It is a large, airy sprawling plant which, even though planted in full sun, requires the whole growing season before it flowers.  I grew it from seed gathered from a friend's garden.

Copper Canyon daisy, Tagetes lemmonii

And of course the lovely Philippine violet, Barleria cristata.

All week Keats poem has been going through my head. Just the first passage takes me back to my homeland and those fall days I remember. I love my Texas garden but the atmosphere is quite a different one from that generated by this poem.

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and pump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel;to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'er brimm'd their clammy cells.

John Keats


  1. I was bemoaning to myself about the lack of color and excitement in my southern California garden right now. All dull green and dull burgundy. Your post is timely. I think the Tagetes will soon find a place in my garden. Thank you for the inspiration. I would welcome more ideas for color (short shrubs) for the next few months

  2. Oddly interesting that your Philadelphus re-blooms in the fall. I have Tagetes lucida just coming into bloom, and it is always a race to see if it will beat the first frost countdown clock. This year it suffered from some insect that gathered all of the upper foliage into a webbing of some kind. I had to cut it way back and was prepared to not see flowers, but it has surprised me.

  3. I'm hoping our heat is finally over as well, although now the Santa Ana winds are blowing, raising the temperature a bit and making it very dry. We've had no foliage color change at all this fall - usually, the persimmons, Japanese maple, and ornamental pear show at least a little color by this time. However, despite receiving a bit too much shade, my Tagetes lemmonii is also starting to flower, as is my Gomphrena decumbens. I also have my own miniature version of your Philippine violet, Barleria obtusa, which I'll try to propagate - the flowers out-shine everything else in my garden at the moment.

  4. Every place has their own procession of things that marks the passing of the seasons. After having moved up North, I am learning a whole new way of the unfolding of the seasons, though I am glad of all the colors from the hardwood trees in fall. Your blooms and berries are lovely, and how wonderful to have citrus!

  5. I spent some time yesterday starting to pull out the zinnias which are now spent, leaving rather large holes in the island beds. I think that tagetes may need to be added to my list for next year.

  6. Really nice picture of the pyracantha and mock orange; Christmas colors. What type of camera do you use?

    1. It does have a Christmas look to it. I have a Canon G10. I love it because it is small, easy to use and takes great photos.