Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day -- October 2019



It's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for October, and since I missed September, and have posted very little for the month, I figured I better put a post together. With my son's wedding in September and the travel that came along with it, I seem to have spent most of the last month in some kind of altered state, rarely thinking about the blog much.

The flowers I have to show this month are actually pretty much the same ones that were flowering last month, so no harm done with missing a month's post. Even though we had a frost last week, many flowers haven't missed a beat and are still flowering today.

A second wave of flowers on Centranthus ruber -- I allowed the previous to go to seed, and I can already see that was a mistake -- babies everywhere!

Astrantia major 'Vanilla Gorilla'

Geranium 'Rozanne'

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' and Leucanthemum 'Crazy Daisy'

Calamintha nepeta 'Marvelette Blue'

My neighbor's side of the new prairie bed is a riot of flowers, many grown from seed this past winter

Coreopsis

Heliopsis helianthoides 'Burning Hearts'

Veronica teucrium 'Royal Blue'

Salvia azurea

Coreopsis

Poppy mallow/Callirhoe involucrata

Not a flower, actually, but a berry drupe, on Leycesteria formosa/Himalayan honeysuckle

Floppy spent flowers on Eucomis, looking very octopus-like

A tall Aster whose name I've lost


Eryngium 'Blue Glitter'

Abelia 'Kaleidoscope'

Cyclamen that has popped up from seed in an out-of-the-way spot

Arbutus unedo 'Compacta' is smothered in flowers

Normally there are quite a few of last year's berries still hanging with this year's flowers, but I had to hunt hard for these two

Yellow Corydalis

Most of the Dahlias have collapsed, but a few are still standing upright

Ready to give up the ghost

Cyclamen hederifolium

Last few flowers of Geranium 'Wargrave's Pink' which has a first spring flush and then flowers sporadically all summer

Most of the oakleaf Hydrangea flowers have faded to brown, but it has produced two bright white new ones


Hydrangea arborescens

There are more flowers inside the greenhouse, where all the summer players from the front porch display have been put away.

Pelargonium

Begonia

Euphorbia millii

Pelargonium sidoides, which never flowers here until I put it away for the winter

 Hoya carnosa 'Compacta'

Packed away in an obscure corner of the greenhouse, the flowers of Aloe 'Christmas Carol' rise above the fray




Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Check out her post here.


Friday, October 11, 2019

First Frost 2019

We had our first frost this week. On Tuesday night the temperatures went down below freezing long enough to crystallize the dew on the leaves, and on Wednesday morning, as soon as I got back from dropping Nigel off at the train station, before I even went back in the house to make my first cup of coffee and eat my breakfast (plain yogurt sprinkled with nuts), I got out my phone and walked around the front garden taking a few pictures.








We've had first frosts this early in the past, and we've had first frosts in the past that waited till late December, or even January, I think. I remember last year not needing to move my tender plants back into the greenhouse until nearly Halloween. They have already been back inside the greenhouse all snug and warm for a couple of weeks now, since the end of September, when the weather people threatened a first frost, but it didn't actually materialize.

Frost is very pretty, but it does turn your fingers numb.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Instead of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

I missed Garden Bloggers Bloom Day because for most of the week leading up to it I was on the East Coast, in Providence, R.I., for my son Iain's wedding. So instead of trying to play catch-up and post for GBBD, I'm just going to share my happy, albeit hectic, week. There's not much flowering in my garden right now anyway, other than very wet and wind-blown Echinacea purpurea and Sedum Autumn Joy. I came home at the end of Happy Wedding Week to gale-force winds and rain, strange weather more suited to later in the season.

I found some flowers in Providence, I'll show you those. But I'll also start with plants.

This was my airplane carry-on -- a tote bag full of potted starts for my son and new DIL's garden

We arrived on Tuesday afternoon and met with Iain and Diana for dinner, and then on Wednesday afternoon they took us to Newport, R.I. to wander around the shops on the waterfront. We were still having a hard time getting acclimated to the new time zone, and in fact, never really did, we were still falling asleep around 2 a.m. the night before we came home. I also didn't take a lot of photos of the wedding, I just wanted to enjoy being with the two of them, plus Nigel and I had to meet all of Diana's family, which, as you can imagine, was pretty stressful for two old introverts who rarely talk about anything other than gardens (me) and computers (Nigel). Therefore, there are photos in this post that will be attributed to others.

A small park and old church next door to our hotel in Providence

At our afternoon meal (I wasn't sure whether it was lunch or dinner, since my time sense was all off), my son Iain made us all laugh with his version of Mr. Napkin Head from the movie The Holiday

On Thursday morning, rather than continuing to eat at the somewhat disappointing hotel restaurant, Nigel and I ventured down the street for breakfast at a little cafe called Ellie's, for lattes and breakfast sandwiches.

The interior of Ellie's

Breakfast

On Thursday was the actual "paperwork" wedding of Iain and Diana, at the North Providence Town Hall, officiated by a justice of the peace. The celebratory wedding, which was scheduled for Saturday, was going to be officiated by a friend of Diana's, who was not actually licensed in Rhode Island. So to get the paperwork correctly filed, they decided to have essentially two weddings. The one on Thursday in front of the J.P. was attended only by Nigel and I, Diana's parents, and Diana's sister Julia.


As you can see from the expression on Diana's face, she's a weeper, but she's also very much a keeper


On Friday evening, after the wedding rehearsal for the bigger celebration set to take place on Saturday, Nigel and I hosted a get-to-know-you party for all the people who had arrived from out of town for the big formal reception (Diana's family are all from Long Island).

Nigel and Brad, one of Iain's "groomsfolk," a good friend from Iain's high school days, at the Friday rehearsal party (photo by 2 1/2-year old Arzu, one of the flower girls)

On Saturday morning Nigel and I went for a walk around Providence.

I like this mural of a young girl opening a magical door

And this one, of a young man tossing a ring in the air, seemed appropriate

This art deco building in downtown Providence is called the Superman building because of its resemblance to the Daily Planet building in the original Superman comic books

We walked along the river that runs through the city, where preparations were underway for a city-wide celebration called WaterFire, set to take place that evening.

Those braziers full of wood would be set ablaze, but we wouldn't be there to see them as we would be at the wedding

Another Providence mural

Barges full of wood and a gondola

Along the riverfront, art with the city as a backdrop

Of course I managed to find a little pocket garden near the river.

There were large swaths of Rudbeckia

As well as lots of tall sunflowers

This building captured my imagination

Plant City was apparently a vegetarian market - we didn't bother to go closer for a better look

Providence recently built and opened a new bow-shaped pedestrian walkway across the river, that makes use of old bridge pylons. Read about it here.

Providence's new pedestrian bridge

View of the city from the bridge

On one side are tiered planters full of grasses that were blowing in the wind

I spotted Miscanthus, Panicum, Calamagrostis, and I think the short, pinkish tufted grass is Eragrostis


At the other end of the bridge was a large concrete walkway with island beds

I'm pretty sure they were intended as rain gardens, as they all dipped in the center, and although the plants on the edges were not especially moisture-loving, the ones in the depression in the center, such as Lobelia cardinalis, were

In the evening we headed out in our rental car to the reception hall at the Meehan Overlook in North Providence.


Flower Girl RaeLynn and Bridesfolk, Diana's sister Abby

Second Flower Girl Arzu, holding up a mask of Diana, created by one of Arzu's moms, one of the Groomsfolk and friend of Iain, Rosalie (who also took the photo)

Here's adorable Arzu in her dress (photo by Rosalie)

Arzu playing with bubbles (photo by Rosalie)

Arzu's favorite greeting -- "I have a dress!" (photo by Rosalie)

Nigel and Arzu, who took a liking to each other (photo by Rosalie) -- the bandaids are adornment

Iain looking quite dapper

Arzu calls him "Uncle Iain"

Diana and her mini-me Arzu -- Diana's simple bouquet was made of flowers from her garden

Arzu's second mom, Elnara, is from Azerbaijan. Arzu's name in Azerbaijani means "wish" or "dream."

My sister and her husband holding up bride and groom masks

After the wedding came Bridesfolk and Groomsfolk speeches. To Nigel's relief he wasn't called upon to speak. Iain's good friends who have all known him since high school shared funny and at times heart-warming stories of life with Iain. The last ten years have had their ups and downs and I'm so glad he has had such good friends for support back east.

Brad's speech included a funny story about Halloween, always one of Iain's favorite holidays

Scott told a story about being part of an underground newspaper in high school that was Iain's brainchild

For some reason I didn't get a photo of Rosalie's speechifying, but I did take a photo of her from Friday night's party

Diana (center) and her sisters/Bridesfolk, Abby (left) and Julia (right) (photo by Diana)

There are (fortunately) no photos of me, I'm not much of a selfie-taker. But for the wedding I did make a fun little fascinator. I bought a witch hat from Michael's last year at Halloween, which I altered by adding some colorful feathers and a flower with a battery-powered fiber-optic center that lit up.

Brave soul Nigel models my fascinator

After a brief visit to Iain and Diana's house on Sunday morning to say good-bye, we headed to Boston's Logan Airport Hilton for one last overnight stay before boarding our plane for home.

View from the Hilton

The shore of Lake Ontario from our plane

The opposite shore of Lake Ontario

Finally, the welcome sight of Mt. Rainier as it rises above the clouds

Lake Washington as our plane descends into SeaTac airport


Of course, now I am still jet-lagged despite never acclimating to East Coast time. It was a stressful, exhilarating week full of meeting new people, eating at odd times, etc. Nigel was back at work the very next day and we still haven't caught up on our sleep. Maybe by the weekend we'll get that chance.