The yellow glow of late fall

December 02, 2021

Cool, blue-sky climate has me spending extra time within the backyard, having buddies over, and tinkering with planting beds. It’s type of glowing on the market. Why? Yellow is the colour of fall in my backyard, beginning with the fantastic forsythia sage (Salvia madrensis), which lights up the again backyard with tall wands of buttery yellow flowers.

Ursula, the variegated whale’s tongue agave

All that yellow within the background makes Ursula’s personal moonlight-yellow variegation pop.

Edging the round mattress beneath Ursula’s flukes, cute-as-a-button pink knotweed (Polygonum capitatum ‘Magic Carpet’) exhibits off chevron-patterned leaves. No yellow right here however…

…over by the deck, three ‘Colour Guard’ yuccas glow like spiky yellow suns. That’s silver ponyfoot (Dichondra argentea) cascading like granny braids from white hanging planters.

Partially collapsed below its personal weight, forsythia sage dominates the shed backyard in late fall.

A month in the past it needed to compete with white mistflower (Ageratina havanensis), which blooms round Halloween. However with the mistflower gone to seed, yellow guidelines the day.

Peeking by way of the little window within the gate to the aspect yard — which I’m dubbing the Hideaway Backyard for its semi-hidden seating space — you see yellows glowing beneath reside oaks: yariegated American agave within the dish planter, tawny Mexican feathergrass, a stray coreopsis flower, and workhorse golden thryallis (Galphimia gracilis) hedged alongside the fence.

With the gate open, the grids that outline this house are simpler to see.

I’ve added just a few extra Mexican glass balls to echo the boxwood balls and convey mild to floor stage. Plus deer don’t eat them.

The place to get Mexican gazing balls in Austin nowadays? YESimports on FM 620. I additionally added society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) for extra deer-resistant, shade-tolerant coloration, however assume I’ll double the quantity come spring. The deer do nibble on the coreopsis, irritatingly.

Trying again by way of the gate window — man, these vegetation are getting huge. I’ve pruned up the ‘Blue Ice’ Arizona cypress (Cupressus arizonica var. glabra) in order that one can stroll below it (scroll up two images to see how tall it’s). I give the ‘Will Fleming’ yaupon a flat-top haircut every year to maintain it on the peak I need. And the ‘Sapphire Skies’ beaked yucca (Yucca rostrata) to the appropriate of the shed does no matter it desires.

You may see how tall that yucca is getting on this photograph (again left) — it doesn’t even match within the body! The ‘Winter Gem’ boxwoods’ new development provides a little bit chartreuse to the backyard’s yellow glow. Ursula, the variegated whale’s tongue agave, sits on her throne within the middle of the boxwood circle, just like the queen she is.

OK, no yellow on this fall vignette, however how I like it: royal-purple ‘Little Grapes’ gomphrena with blue plumbago (Plumbago auriculata).

I don’t know the cultivar title for this plumbago. The plant tag known as it darkish blue — extra of a medium blue, actually — and I desire it to the usual sky-blue plumbago standard in Austin.

The blue-purple combo will get me each time. Need to see it in movement? Flip in your quantity and watch my little gomphrena-plumbago-fountain video on Instagram.

Getting again to yellows, ‘Espresso’ mangave, which has gotten positively monumental, exhibits off a moonshine-yellow leaf edge. Poor factor — it’s in a dropping battle to carry again the ‘Tiny Fern’ bamboo behind it, which got here roaring again after the large freeze. I must get in there and prune the bamboo to present the mangave some respiratory room.

Extra yellow leaf margins on aptly named ‘Vivid Edge’ yucca. However what are these little reddish fruits between the mangave and yucca?

They’re lovely miniature pomegranates! That is ‘Peppy Le Pom’, a trial plant from Confirmed Winners that got here again from the roots after the large freeze and has now produced extra fruit than ever.

My intention has been to topiary it, however for the reason that freeze killed it to the roots, I haven’t finished any coaching this yr. I most likely ought to although.

Two of my three huge cleaning soap aloes (Aloe maculata) survived the freeze, they usually’ve bloomed a few instances. How I really like these purple candelabra flowers, and so do the bees.

It’s amusing to observe honeybees spelunk their manner into the dangling tubes.

Extra purple from bat-face cuphea (Cuphea llavea), one other shocking freeze survivor.

And native chile pequin (Capsicum annuum), which seeded itself into this mattress and promptly climbed the metallic agave.

After all my again backyard at all times has the blues, as a result of you possibly can’t compete with a blue swimming pool. You simply must go together with it.

I moved the blue motel chairs over right here — they used to sit down alongside the stone wall on the different finish of the pool — for a backyard occasion and cherished them a lot with the khaki Adirondacks and their turquoise pillows that I plan to go away them. I must powerwash that decking although. There’s at all times one thing, proper?

Ah fall, patio season in Texas

Pretending to work

Up by the lined patio, yellows blaze within the type of Mexican mint marigold (Tagetes lucida) — a 4-inch freebie from Houston Botanic Backyard‘s opening weekend final fall (click on for my tour). How glad I’m to have introduced it residence with me. ‘Moonglow’ mangave has despatched up a tall bloom spike, which I’ve been watching anxiously. Gotta get these flowers open earlier than our first frost, which might come at any time! I wouldn’t complain a few freeze-free winter although. Don’t need to take a look at that energy grid once more!

Mexican mint marigold and ‘Moonglow’ mangave

A passalong petunia shared by Andrew and Jared at @gayswhogarden opened its first velvety flower. Extra buds are able to pop.

My new favourite hangout house within the backyard, the lined patio

However I additionally benefit from the backyard from inside, particularly the view from our bed room’s patio door, open to catch cool breezes within the fall. In mid-afternoon the sunshine slants so superbly by way of the timber. That is my favourite studying spot.

Again within the backyard, right here’s a yellow that appeared solely this week: the daisy-like flowers of large leopard plant (Farfugium japonicum ‘Gigantea’).

Bees comb them for pollen, buzzing from one flower to the following.

They develop below the Japanese maple on the north aspect of the home, which is simply beginning to flip purple — proper on time to coordinate with Christmas decorations going up on the road.

What are the colours of your fall backyard?

I welcome your feedback; please scroll to the tip of this publish to go away one. In case you’re studying this in a subscription electronic mail, click on right here to go to Digging and discover the remark field on the finish of every publish.


Digging Deeper: Information and Upcoming Occasions

Want design assist together with your yard? Rent me as your private backyard coach! Possibly you want substitute plant concepts after the large freeze. Or perhaps your landscaping has grown drained, and also you need recent curb enchantment. Or maybe you’re able to eliminate some garden and create a pollinator backyard, fowl habitat, or hangout house for you and your mates. I’m right here to assist! Contact me to let me know what’s occurring, and let’s determine it out collectively. My vary is Austin and suburbs inside a 25-min. drive of NW Austin, however I’m versatile and may journey farther with a surcharge, so let me know the place you’re. Weekday morning appts. solely.

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