october in bloom

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day comes around on the fifteenth day of each month. Carol, over at May Dreams Gardens dreamed it up. If you visit her site, you will find links to gardeners all over the world, showing what is blooming in their gardens at the time. But first, please take a virtual trip through mine.

The leaves are bronzing up for the final show:


Would you believe that I picked up this Japanese maple at a yard sale for a mere $15?


The tree peony leaves are great bouquet fillers all year because of their beautiful shapes, but when they begin to color up like this, they can stand on their own in a vase or in the yard.


In the case of the Limelight hydrangea, it’s the blossoms that go from white to pinky-bronze as the days shorten.

Berries punctuate the landscape:


Gaultheria procumbens is sporting the red berries that follow the shy white bell-like flowers. Pop one in your mouth and recognize it as wintergreen.


My beauty berry is ‘Profusion’, a name it earns by producing lots and lots of pearlescent purple berries. If the wildlife deign to leave them alone, they will decorate the entry long after the leaves have fallen.

Quite a few perennials come on strong in late July and keep up the good work until the first frost.


Hellenium, or sneeze weed, is one.


Agastache is another.


And then there are the Dahlias. So often they are grouped together in a bed, where they come off as the floral equivalent of fruit salad (the canned kind, at that). I hope to develop the knack for using them as they did at Heronswood…as dramatic highlights in mixed borders.

A few divas arrive late to contribute to the garden’s swan song:


Next year, there must be more asters. This white one is from a friend, and has no further identification. The three foot high, shrubby plant has feathery foliage all summer, then erupts into a froth in early October.


Liriope edges a woodland bed, peeking out from overhanging hosta leaves.


Orostachys furusei, a ground cover in the dry berm, sends up fuzzy little spires.


Spiranthes odorata, still in its nursery pot, is a rare and endangered hardy white orchid native to North America. This is the sort of special plant to be found at the Hardy Plant Society fall or spring plant sale. The woodland will become an even more magical place if the ‘Nodding Ladies Tresses’, as these are called, agree to take hold and multiply.


local 14 is history

Having been looking forward to Local 14 for months, I must count it a success: not in terms of sales (will get into the strikes against us on that count further on) but meeting and working with outstanding women. Each of them was generous with advice based on long experience, and was genuinely interested in showing everything off to best advantage.

It was also an opportunity to experiment with displaying banners under adverse conditions. The Oregonian has many ways of predicting rain: everything from occasional showers to spotty rainfall. This was the first time I can remember them calling for “pouring rain”. They weren’t kidding! The banners are impervious to any amount of rain, but hang tags are another story. I thought the problem was solved by putting plastic zip lock bags over the tags. Oops! They filled up like little water balloons and dropped to the ground…I call this on-the-ground training.

The Gala Grand Opening of the show fell on none other than the night of the Palin/Biden debate. Not many potential attendees (engaged citizens, all) were about to miss that piece of theater. Then there was the freshly crashing economy…well, you get the idea.

I did get to connect with some long-lost friends who responded to the mailer and came to look and to visit…what could be better than that?



made it into The Sunday Oregonian‘s ‘Short Takes’ column with this little ditty:

No, no, no! Do not give the nod to Winkin’ and Blinkin’.

prompted by annoyance at being constantly winked at by both McCain and Palin.

Richard’s comment: Does anyone in this day and age even ‘get’ the reference? I had to admit to not being able to call up the complete nursery rhyme, Winken Blinken and Nod. Anyone?

(later in the day) Googled it, and here it is in its quaint entirety:

Winkin’ Blinkin’ and Nod, one night Sailed off in a wooden shoe;
Sailed on a river of crystal light into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going and what do you wish?” the old moon asked the three.
“We’ve come to fish for the herring fish that live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we” said Winkin’ Blinkin’ and Nod.

The old moon laughed and he sang a song as they rocked in the wooden shoe.
And the wind that sped them all night long ruffled the waves of dew.
Now the little stars are the herring fish that live in that beautiful sea;
“Cast your nets wherever you wish never afeared are we!”
So cried the stars to the fishermen three – Winkin’ Blinkin’ and Nod.

So all night long their nets they threw to the stars in the twinkling foam.
Then downward came the wooden shoe bringing the fishermen home.
Twas all so pretty a sail it seemed as if it could not be.
And some folks say twas a dream they dreamed of sailing that misty sea.
But I shall name you the fishermen three – Winkin’ Blinkin’ and Nod.

Now Winkin’ and Blinkin’ are two little eyes and Nod is a little head.
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies is a wee ones trundle bed.
So close your eyes while mother sings of the wonderful sights that be.
And you shall see those beautiful things as you sail on the misty sea
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three – Winkin’ Blinkin’ and Nod.

and there you have it…ain’t the internet grand?


I have long hankered for a visit to see the Bellevue Border, having seen and heard of it for many years. On the last weekend in October, we took a trip to Seattle to visit with family. Since a three year old was part of the gathering (actually, more the focus of the gathering) everyone took to the idea of a day spent wandering in wide open spaces.


Of course, the big draw for the border has to do with blooms. This late in the season, most blooming plants have passed their peak…on top of which, the border was undergoing a major overhaul. What I hadn’t known was that the border is only a small part of a botanical garden spreading over many acres. The trails are beautifully maintained, and weave through woodlands, meadows, a Japanese garden, a water-wise garden, a garden of natives, and maybe more (three-year-olds are, as you may know, somewhat distracting).


The woodlands were a study in green, with the occasional hydrangia sparkling in the sunlight filtering through the canopy.


I can just imagine what this dry streambed would be like with the primulas in bloom, but that is to take nothing away from its quiet charm here.


I wanted to include a human, to give an idea of the massive scale of the rocks in the Japanese garden.


Here they are again

I would still like to return in early spring or high summer, to see the much-touted border in full glory, but left the garden fully sated by beauty of a different order.