Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Beginning of the End

There is some wet, slushy snowflakes falling from the sky this chilly October morning. It's just too early for such nonsense! We haven't even had our first frost yet, but we're having a little snow. It just doesn't make any sense. I knew it was coming, so I spent all day outside yesterday making ready. It was time to let go of the zinnias, they looked so very bedraggled. So I cut a vase full, then pulled them out. There are a few near the house that still look good, but the rest are gone.

I'm so glad that I planted ornamental grasses around the new patio. Now I can enjoy them throughout the winter, just by looking out the kitchen door. These Karly Rose pennisetum were planted in June, and have looked this beautiful ever since then. They flop a little in the rain, but perk right up when they dry out. Please, you must have these in your garden!

On the other side of the patio I have another grass, Morning Light miscanthus. I have three of them there in a row, and when they bloomed recently, it was in an odd pattern. The bottom one is fully bloomed, the middle one is lightly bloomed, and the one nearest the house has barely bloomed at all. I'm trying to analyze why this may have happened.

Fall also means that the Montauk daisies are in bloom. The plant itself is large enough to be considered a shrub, so I suppose I'd better pinch them back next year to keep them under control. Still, it's always nice to have fresh flowers in October.
It's been a good year for roses, and I'm sure it's because we actually had enough rain. For some odd reason, there were no Japanese beetles to bother them this year either. There are a few blooms here and there, I hope they hang on for weeks yet. I often have a rose or two in early December, but the snow this morning tells me not to get my hopes up.

I do enjoy the reblooming iris, but don't they look odd in the fall garden? This one has been blooming over and over again for awhile now.
This container was almost entirely dead after we went away on vacation during one brutally hot week of summer. I'm so pleased with the way it rallied.
These two plants have been blooming in harmony all summer. This is Autumn Sage Wild Thing, and Supertunia Cotton Candy. It's not easy to photograph how pretty they are together, but maybe you'll get the idea. A perfect combination!
What fall garden would be complete without dahlias? What lovely ladies they are! As the frost threatened last night, I was out in the dark, snipping myself a bouquet. How it pleased me to see that pretty vase this morning when I went down for breakfast. The glowing look you see in the photo is real.

And of course, my containers were tweaked for fall. Summer flowers were discarded, and pumpkins and gourds were added, along with fall flowers.

Yes, it's the beginning of the end, despite all the pretty spots I found. The weather forecast for this weekend is not good at all. Our first frost will be here in the next few nights, and then many of these beauties will be gone. Guess it's time to hunker down and dream of next year's garden. Every year, I hope for the best year ever, but this year really was one of the finest ever. Next year's garden has a hard act to follow.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tropical Getaway

Now you'll know why my garden blog has been a bit quiet. I've been off on a beach vacation to Sanibel Island, a lovely, quiet little place off the coast of SW Florida. See?
 Sanibel is known for its shells, and for good reason. You will often see people bent over searching for special shells, and that posture is called The Sanibel Stoop. I did it often.

There were also lots and lots of birds. The beach was always full of them! But they were not bothersome at all. I found them entertaining instead.

 Sanibel sunsets are so beautiful. I only missed one, and that's because it was raining that night.  If only the no-see-ums didn't come out to chomp on me every night at sunset! For a tiny little bug, they sure have a great big bite.

 They even have a lighthouse on Sanibel, but it sure isn't like any Lake Michigan lighthouse that I'm used to.
 Near the lighthouse, you could see a view of Fort Myers Beach and the causeway over to the island. We joked around a lot about having to pay six dollars just to cross this bridge, but I have to admit that the views were incredible. We discovered that you don't have to pay the fee to get off the island, but we still felt a little "trapped" there because we didn't want to pay every time we left. So we just stayed put.

Most restaurants are seafood based, of course. We always expect to enjoy endless grouper while in Florida. Gramma Dots was a place recommended to us as a great place for seafood, and we sure did enjoy it. The setting by a marina really had a lot to do with that. And yes, there is a giant piece of lint in my lens! It ruined so many of my pictures that I finally gave up. I'll take it to the shop tomorrow, I promise.
Many said that The Bubble Room was a place we had to see to believe. It really was a kooky, crazy spot as you can see.

We also found a charming little church, called Chapel by the Sea, with an old cemetery nearby. I love old cemeteries like this, with interesting old graves. Here, most graves are decorated by shells, especially the unique shells that are so hard to find. I guess no one dares to remove these shells from a grave. We sure smiled over the grave decorated with beer cans!

One of the best parts of our trip was the resort where we stayed, in which every room had an ocean view like this. There's nothing like waking up every morning to see this.

 But best of all, to me, is the beach. Just a few steps is all it takes to be on the beach, and trust me, I was there every day. I've always been drawn to beaches, and it feeds my soul just to be there.

 We had an early flight out, so I took one last walk down the beach and found this sunrise to greet me. Goodbye Sanibel, you are a beautiful spot. Hope to see you again someday!