Saturday, October 21, 2017


My garden is beginning to signal that winter is on the way. Sometimes it seems as though it is never going to arrive  and when it does happen is is usually overnight with our first good frost. But there are subtle changes in the garden. The plants look more colorful because of cooler days and nights.

Among the whites and oranges of the narrow leaf daisies a new flower begins to bloom.

It is the Mexican mint marigold, Tagetes lucida.  The leaves make a good substitute for French tarragon, which cannot withstand our hot summers, and is therefore often called Spanish tarragon. This herbaceous perennial dies back during the winter but and spring and summer the plant is green, before bursting into flower in October. It flowers only where winter comes late to the garden.

Another late bloomer is the Philippine violet, Barleria sp. Pest free and seemingly no diseases it also dies back during winter but has been a reliable returner even giving me a few new plants from seed.

The orange cosmos, Cosmos sulphureus, has been in non-stop bloom throughout the summer. It is both heat, drought and pest resistant. I threw a few seeds into this bed less that a month ago and they are now flowering.

The citrus fruit are starting to ripen. The bitter Calamondin, which I make into marmalade. No other marmalade comes close to the tangy orange flavor of this fruit. Not even the Seville marmalade.

The Meyer lemon. The fruits aren't quite so big this year. Maybe because of our dry summer.

Rusty seedheads appearing on the dwarf papyrus, Cyperus papyrus.

Plants spill over the low wall completely covering the pathways. The last to flower will be the Copper Canyon daisy, Tagetes lemmonii.

There are changes among the succulents too.

Echeveria Devotion, Hana Bay flowerswith its velvety leaves takes on more color with the cooler nights. When I bought it it was like this and then lost most of its color during the summer. I am so happy to see it back again. It should enjoy being in the potting shed for the winter.

Kalanchoe thrysifola, the flapjack or paddle plant is also coloring up with the cooler nights. I am on the lookout for its cousin K. luciae, which gives more brilliant color during winter.

It is also the bloom season and several are starting to send up a boom stalk. The plant is monocarpic so these plants will die after flowering but leave plenty of pups behind.

Euphorbia lactea cristata form. Possibly Grey( white) ghost with cresting.

Today the heat and humidity are back again.


  1. Thanks for sharing your fall garden. It’s wonderful!

  2. Your garden looks lovely no matter what the season! My own Barleria (B. obtusa) is finally beginning to bloom with abandon. As it self-seeds readily and as I've moved seedlings and seeds to other areas, I may soon have too much of the plant, if that's possible. We were enjoying a cool spell but the Santa Ana winds are forecast to kick up again tonight, raising the usual red flag warnings, all the more ominous now due to the rough October California's had thus far.

  3. I was just thinking today how even though it's still warm, a lot of the plants are telling me it's actually fall. The caladiums stated me on that train of thought. Fall in your gardening is beautiful.

  4. Things really are refreshed in your garden, but sorry the warm-muggy stuff returns so fast. "Soon", keep telling yourself!

  5. What is your secret with respect to Indian blanket? Mine grow huge and are spent by June.

    1. I'm not sure I have a secret. Most of them grow with their roots under paving so maybe they are kept cooler or maybe it is the native variety. I saw them growing along the roadside yesterday. I usually pull them out around now because they are looking quite tired but new ones are coming up already.