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uh-oh, or yippee? which is it for you?

fall-leaves-startTHE FIRST COLD NIGHTS AND FIRST FLAME-COLORED LEAVES stir a mixed well of emotions: “Thank goodness,” I think, and then, “Why can’t it last?” Frankly, I am as burned out as my garden at this point, and will be happy to be free of from twice-weekly mowing and lusty weeds. I say that, however, as someone whose best gardening season is yet to come. Some hints of it are showing already:

viburnum-sieboldiiVarious of the many viburnums here are already devoured, but V. sieboldii is partway ready for avian visitors (above), and the many smaller yellow fruits of V. dilatatum ‘Michael Dodge’ are really coloring up nicely, too (below).

michael-dodge-viburnumMany plants have had a good fruit set because of extra-heavy rainfall, including the golden-leaved Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas ‘Aurea,’ below). The birds have taken most of them already.

cornelian-cherriesMy favorite large-fruited crabapple, ‘Ralph Shay’ (bottom photo) is getting ripe, and its many smaller-fruited cousins are soon to come into their own as well.

Still ahead: Dozens and dozens of shrubby winterberry hollies (Ilex verticillata), which are mostly still all green but covered in berries. They’ll rate a whole post of their own once they’re ready, once they’ve gone golden or tangerine or fire-engine red and dropped their leaves. Stay tuned on that score.

So which is it now as you look out your window: What lies ahead? Is it uh-oh, or yippee over there?ralph-shay-crab

Categoriestrees & shrubs
  1. margaret says:

    Welcome, Lynn, and don’t be afraid. Just buy an electric blanket and a really serious heating pad. (Tee hee, but that is a great one.) And yes, I said twice-weekly. This rainy summer has doubled the growth rate of my lawn and fields over any previous year in memory. Do come back soon.

    So let me get this straight: Beth’s “yippee” even though it’s cold where she lives; Turling’s “yippee” even though it’s warm in her area; Blue Arrow (my favorite colleague for two-person mowing duty…my neighbor and friend who isn’t afraid to drive the tractor on the steep part of the hillside like I am) is just hoping for some new specials at JAs in Egremont, MA. OK, everyone’s in character I guess. :)

    PS to DenDen: Yes, Jack is delighted at his bag o’treats. Thanks again.

  2. Joyce says:

    For me it’s uh-oh, even though it’s been feeling and smelling like fall here in SW MI. I ‘m not ready for fall just yet.
    Not a lot of rain lately, too hard to keep up with the watering. So my brown perennials have been cut back, and the grass is quite crunchy. Harvested some arugula and dill today. Pulled most of the calendula, it will be back next next without me doing a thing. Love volunteers.

    Question about viburnums: Any thoughts on the cultivar ‘Blue Muffin’?

  3. margaret says:

    Welcome, Joyce. Crunchy brown is what we usually have here at this time, but not this (soggy) year. As for ‘Blue Muffin,’ it’s a smaller-scale arrowwood viburnum (species dentatum) with (big surprise) blue berries. I have bought some but haven’t grown it to enough of a settled-in size to say what I think. Most of the so-called smaller viburnums get pretty big in time, in my experience, so we shall see! But the fruit is handsome, and so is the fiery fall foliage. I am a viburnum freak, so maybe I am not impartial…

  4. celinabean says:

    I had to laugh when I read that there is another person who starts getting wistful when the dogwoods drop their flowers. I’ve loved this summer because it has been cooler than usual in upstate NY. I can do without the humidity and this year we really got a break. I don’t mind the rain so much, probably because I grew up in Oregon.

  5. Sarah says:

    I’m feeling surprisingly yippee about it. Usually this time of year is very sad for me for some reason — but this year, not so much. I’m eager for the leaves to turn and to buy some new boots, and for the dahlias to really get their moment in the sun when they are the only flowers at the farmer’s market, and I am really, really excited about the idea of cooking and braising and baking. Wow, Margaret — thanks for making me realize how totally YIPPEE I am!

  6. margaret says:

    Welcome, Sarah, and thank you for sharing your gratitude list (or yippee list, however we want to label it). It is so nice to see you here, and hear what you are up to…at least a little sliver. I still think about the great interview you did with me this summer on Pink of Perfection and what fun it was.

  7. carole says:

    cooler temperature here in zone 5 makes it easier to work in my garden and work I have! some new plants that I HAD to have and finding the right spot created a domino affect and others had to be moved or divided; let’s hope everyone will be happy next spring. time to bring the tender perennials inside but first they need to be separated from those that go dormant-oh my! traveling back to my zone 6 home tomorrow-so little time, so much to do-I need a longer day!

  8. margaret says:

    Welcome, Carole. The days grow shorter, and as you point out, now’s when we need them to be longer instead. Lots of work ahead, but sounds like you have gotten a jump on it. Nice to see you here.

  9. Cindy says:

    Yippee!!! The best month of the year for me is October with it’s long shadows and earthtones! Although, we’ve had a decent summer here in the metro D.C. area, I really can’t complain… and the recent tropical storm made everything perc up!
    I’m a wannabe gardener… most of my plants have seen two or more “homes” before they adapt to a good spot. The lucky ones are still alive. However, I have a long way to go!
    Thanks for your great blog and I enjoyed your article this morning (9/11/08) in the Washington Post.

  10. margaret says:

    Welcome, Cindy, another “Yippee!” voter. Moving plants around is what gardening really is, isn’t it? Try a few times before giving up, I figure. Do come again soon.

  11. ReadSing says:

    Woo Hoo in Minnesota Zone 3/4? A first sign in these parts is when the sumac start turning bright red (like right now). My husband gets romantic and reminds me this was the time of year we first met. It’s become our love symbol. We are planning a romantic getaway for the 1st October weekend, hoping to wallow in the fall color splendor. Predicting the exact location of peak colors can be tricky, but that’s part of the fun.

    I also start getting excited about compost this time of year. The black gold harvest is here!! I need to get distributing, and storing it now so I have a place to put the new leaves this Oct/Nov.

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