Outside today was awesome. Blue, beautiful. Warm enough to tease me into wearing my tank top most of the time until I had to run back to Wally Fart for the last minute stuff for my good gawd fruit salad...when I pulled slowly up the dead end, English Mountain was glowing with the last remaining leaves that hadn't blown off the trees by the last storms and their high winds. Today it got to 60o, and I did a bloom count.....lessee.....I forgot the ladder to get the last brown pods of trumpet vine off. I'll hafta remember before the fairies loosen the milkweed like seeds upon my whole side yard.... Over in the side yard, down the narrow paths, if you look upwards, you see the bony fingers of the fig tree with those warty looking unripened figs hanging from the sides. I filled up the sandstone bird bath to deter the cats from snoozing in it, and saw the cushion mums in the huge nursery pot were cascading over the edges in white and yellow contrasts. They looked like puffy little fried eggs. In the half dead foliage of the perennials in the western central bed is a lone blue spiderwort blossom. awesome.
The Hellebore underneath the Vitex has defied all odds and has started making young shoots underneath the older leathery leaves, and I stoop to fish out more leaves out of the icy water that is now fishless. All the goldfish are inside in the 59 gallon tank. Yes, I know they can stand the frigid temperatures, they cheer me up with their beautiful colors. and they're so simple and demanding. Drop a few goldfish balls of food and a few flakes and they bubble the top of the water....I sat and listened to the sounds. Soon the winged dinosaurs gathered and started raiding the dwindling supplies of black sunflower seed that I'd filled up to capacity a few days earlier. They don't spot me, and fuss at the cats playing around. (they are outside happy that mama is out) and the dogs are long gone through the hole underneath the chain link fence that borders the pasture on the west side, I can hear them growling and playing their games underneath the barren maple tree as they play)The sun is warm and beckoned me, and I walked down the dogrun and saw the Blue Enigma salvia is STILL blooming, especially that which has flopped over into the dog run's pathway. Some of the Enigma is in the NSSG, the rest is out front. ALL the variegated arum leaves are up now for winter display. I adore those things.....last week I found a forgotten mother in law tongue that I'd left to fend for itself and it had suffered a few frosts, but is recuperating a bit. Some of the leaves are frosted, dying, but in amongst them are living leaves that guarantee that they're alive and well, no thanks to my spaciness!
I see Sunset echinacea in the pot of assorted perennials have produced two beautiful daisy like flowers to wow me for Thanksgiving, their red-orange colors just like an Eastern Tennessee sunset.....right next to that, the double hollyhock that I got up in Michigan at Meijers in their nursery, it's setting another bud, and one is open. wow.
I took another walk around and the Oak Leaf hydrangea is blowing my socks off. The huge, felty leaves are deep liver colored. Textures that draw me close. As I walked to take in their beauty, as they stubbornly held fast on the hollow stems and twigs, my eyes caught hot pink. HOT PINK? I forgot what I was looking at and rounded the edge and walked straight towards the colors....Loripedilum! PIZAZZ! AWESOME! And totally covered! Of course this probably means a no show in the late Spring, but hell, this is incredible, a feast for my eyes. The little hot pink threads like their kissing cousins, the Witch Hazels dangling from every intersection and leaf, and each leaf is burgundy and dark. ahhhhh, my soul feels like it's sipping from some gentle feast of colors, textures, shapes. I take in all the little threads and then move back to pay decent homage to the Oak Leaf, then catch the whiteness of the variegation of the Blue Lace Cap variegated hydrangea in the hodge podge hydrangea patch near the butt rock boulder.
Next to the butt rock, just above, the Korean Spice viburnum has retained IT'S leaves and they're a soft rose. I see in my neglect and absence,that the Korean Spice seedling that Mary Emma gifted me a few years ago has finally reckoned with the taste of the soil, or forgiven me for where I parked her, and has thrown another two stems. Soon I will have to part her limbs to sit on the butt rock. But her brief flowers are so overwhelmingly fragrant, it makes the heart ache with delight. I can't imagine the day when it is completely covered in these soft pink beauties and fills the air with their delights. Just the few it's gifted me with already have enticed me outside to see who is blooming.
I glance at the Deutzia that Brudder John started me from a cutting, who came into herself this year after I lost him to cancer's sharp pruning of his life, and she made me weep with the love and perennial gift he had given me to remember him by. I think of him often as I have these late fall showings of unexpected flowering, and have to laugh to think he'd be a bit green with my Sunset echinacea, or the oddball double hollyhock. He'd already have a start of the Salvia just to have a piece of it, if Barb would let him. lol
The day was magnificent and I had everything cooked and ready by the time we had first agreed upon, but there was a communication problem, and dinner was to be later, and I needed the broth from the turkey roasting, so I decided to improvise, and did what I always do. I made too much cornbread dressing.......I always do. we wind up eating dressing and turkey for a few days, and the birds wind up getting some of the dressing in their suet feeders eventually. It's good, but one can eat only so MUCH dressing....
The dinner went off without a hitch. Renee and her two gorgeous and well mannered children were a delight, and my extra son and his wife and two youngsters were great to have around. One of the felines decided no way to any children and has kept a low profile, but came out long enough to be enticed by turkey wings to crunch and growl over. The puff ball, Piquito discovered the adoration and attention of an 8 year old girl, and the dogs were fine until someone down in our woods decided to shoot off their shotguns, poor Smeagol had serious meltdowns. He threw coat and got so shaky that he started hyperventilating and freaking out. His temperature went up and at one point, it took two Benadryl to settle his poor nerves. About the time I'd get him down to minor shivering, the guns would explode and go off and he'd almost crap himself and I'd have a neurotic dog on my hands again.
Now the children are asleep, one by one they fell to exhaustion and playing and food and two are piled up like brother puppies on the den floor pallet, the beautiful girl is asleep on the couch above them like a little dear princess, and the 13 year old is battling adults valiantly on a complicated video game set up all over the house as everyone is linked up on their computers through out the house.
The houseplants finally got a drink, I lost a few along the way of neglect. Things around here have been most distractive. But I'm slowly pulling out of my haze and fog. I hope to write to my gardening neighbors about things that I captured on my digital camera at least,so if something seems out of season, that's the explanation. I've missed you all....and it's good to be back.
madgardener, up on the ridge, back in an ever blooming Fairy Holler, overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36 where we're having the El Ni no winter like they've promised. I expect a snow in the late winter, early spring............(today got up to 62o and the low's in the lower 30's! LOL)