September 15, 2015

Late-Season Vignettes and Fab Foliage

succulent collage
Scallions, hot pepper flakes, cinnamon, thorny sticks, and a croaking toad are all attempts to
repel chipmunks from these succulent pots.

As the growing season winds down and the plants are starting to fade, there are still several vignettes that I'm finding relatively pleasing to the eye. The succulent pots are filling in nicely, although I'm occasionally finding Sempervivums and Sedums upended by chipmunks.

porch pots
Yes, more cinnamon to repel the chipmunks!

I'm also pleased with the chartreuse, magenta, pink, and green of Coleus, Impatiens, Oxalis, and Alternanthera (although I think they looked better in July).

pond pots

The pots by the pond have improved as the season has progressed--filled with variegated Coleus, Hedera, Alternanthera, a Cordyline and a few Marigolds (Tagetes spp.) blooming in the dappled sun.

whiskey barrel
Lava rocks to discourage digging, and a fake snake to scare away critters.

I've finally figured out what works in the north-facing whiskey barrels--various Sedums that spill out the front and Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadenis), which blooms in the spring, goes dormant, and makes a repeat appearance in late summer/early fall.

dwarf forsythia

Sometimes I curse this dwarf Forsythia (spp. unknown), because it's impossible to rake around it. But it's growing on me. The spring flowers are unimpressive, but the low-growing shrub/hedge makes a nice ground cover in the summer, and the foliage turns to variegated fiery hues (starting to show here) in the fall. This time of year, it complements the blue/green of its neighbor large-leafed Hosta.

cushion spurge

Finally, the Euphorbia polychroma has performed well this growing season, forming a pleasant ground cover. While the surrounding ferns are fading and the Hostas are nibbled away by the rabbits, the blue/green of the Euphorbia still looks relatively decent.

I'm linking this post to Pam's Foliage Follow-Up at Digging, and Anna's Wednesday Vignettes at Flutter & Hum. Visit these excellent blogs for more garden inspiration.

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There's still time to participate in the "Garden Lessons Learned" meme. Feel free to write a post or share one you've already written about your "Lessons Learned" during the past season. Then share your links or simple observations in the comments at: Garden Lessons Learned, Quarter 3, 2015. The link will be available always under the "Lessons Learned" tab at the top of this blog.

Please also join in Donna's Seasonal Celebrations at Gardens Eye View! You can join in with a post that fits both memes, or separate posts for one or both of them. I'll include wrap-ups on PlantPostings' Facebook page, starting within the next few days and leading up to the equinox.

54 comments:

  1. I really like your ground covers in the last photo. I don't think I have seen this very often. The chipmunks are cute as buttons but they are as destructive as their cousins the squirrels. The squirrels throw soil and plants out of their pots. Maddening.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. Pachysandra is in the foreground, and the Euphorbia polychroma is behind the gazing ball. The Euphorbia gets pretty yellow flowers and bracts in late spring, and some summers it kind of fizzles out, but this year it's had staying power as a tall ground cover. I haven't had too much trouble with squirrels, but as you can see I've had to get creative to repel the chippers. But at least they simply upend things. The rabbits eat plants down to the ground. I don't like rabbits.

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  2. The euphorbia is a winner isn't it, and I love what you have done with your barrel. If I had something to replace it with I would be digging up my raggedy hosta, it is so depressing to look at for all but a short period of the year.

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    1. Yes, I do like the Euphorbia. It's been here for at least 16 years--since we moved in. Other plants have come and gone, but it has staying power! Re: the whiskey barrels--I've had some struggles over the years with low light, chipmunks digging, and other issues. The barrels face the street, so I needed to have plants fill in and thrive for curb appeal. The lava rocks seem to be making a big difference. I have tons (100s?) of Hostas here (they were here when we moved in). The rabbits nibble on them, but they barely make a dent. Although if I try to plant new ones, it can be challenging.

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  3. Garden well designed never lack of interests, and yours is always full of them . Congrats!

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    1. Thanks, Lula. I can't take credit for the main design since we inherited this garden, but I've helped it along with little touches here and there. Right now, I'm struggling a bit with rabbit damage and some rough patches, but it is a pretty nice plot of land. :)

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  4. Your garden is still looking sharp! :)

    PS - The 'munks don't seem to cause too much damage here. The deer and rabbits on the other hand? Well, something ate ALL the leaves off a sweet potato vine in a single night. I'm blaming Bambi.

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    1. Thanks, Aaron. Some sections are still decent. Others are looking ratty. I don't have the courage to show you those. ;-) As I've mentioned to others, I don't like rabbits. We have a huge rabbit problem here, and not enough predators. If we had deer, I don't think I'd even try to garden except in small pots by the house. I'm not surprised that Bambi ate your Sweet Potato vine--I've heard deer are even more destructive than rabbits. The chippers are destructive, too, but mostly they upend plants, and I've found some ways to discourage them--methods that don't seem to work with the rabbits. Ugh.

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  5. It all looks so lush and green (and red), Beth - despite the critters! I haven't seen any chipmunks, but the squirrels are ever so diligent. That rubber snake would make me jump every time... probably me more than the squirrels. They are pretty smart, those little cuties, and would figure it out in no time...

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    1. Thanks, Anna. Yeah, we have dozens of squirrels and chipmunks and rabbits in our yard. I like having the wildlife, but we need some foxes and owls and other predators to keep them in check. The owls and hawks seem to hang around here more in the winter. Tee hee: I don't think the rubber snake really scares them, but it makes me feel like I'm trying something. ;-) Rabbits are my true enemies--they kill plants.

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  6. There is always something to battle with in the garden Beth isn't there? No chipmunks here, thankfully!

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    1. Yes, I guess that's part of the game of gardening. I've had success repelling squirrels and chipmunks, but the only thing that works with rabbits is to: 1. plant rabbit-repelling plants (rabbit-resistant doesn't seem to cut it here), and/or 2. place double chicken wire fencing around things I don't want them to eat. I can't put double chicken wire fencing around the entire property, so ...

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  7. I didn't know there was such a thing as dwarf forsythia. Sounds interesting. Your container plantings have really nice texture to them.

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    1. Yep. It can look ratty in late winter/early spring before it fills in, because I can't rake under it or around it. But it sure looks nice this summer. It filled in nicely with our mild spring/summer. Hopefully it will be pretty this fall, too. Thanks, re: the containers.

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  8. Love all your little sedums, though too bad the chipmunks are getting into them! I didn't plant hardly any containers this year, as I just never got around to it, even though I love them and think they are so much fun to design and plant. Your gazing ball is so pretty among the swath of euphorbia!

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    1. I'm enjoying the Sedums and the Semps more as the years go by. I like the colors and textures of them and how they don't need much tending (except to keep out the chipmunks!). I enjoy container gardening. It would be even more fun without the critter battles--although I guess that's part of the challenge. Thanks, re: the gazing ball/Euphorbia combo. I like the look of it in the spring, too, when the chartreuse flowers/bracts form on the Euphorbia.

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  9. Cinnamon to repel chipmunks! I had no idea! Do you think that would work for rabbits and squirrels as well--have you had experience with that? LOVE the toad!

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    1. Yep. It seems to work. I'm going through too much cinnamon, though. ;-) I think it works with the squirrels, too, but NOT with the rabbits. I DO NOT like rabbits, and yes, I have way too much experience with them. The only thing that works is to plant rabbit-repellent plants (rabbit-resistant plants don't work here) or to put double chicken wire fencing around things I don't want them to eat. ("Liquid Fence" doesn't seem to work for me, either--simply too many smart, hungry rabbits.) Rabbits have killed a large percentage of the plants I have added to this garden. For a while I hit an equilibrium, but recently I've been trying to add more native plants. Unfortunately, the rabbits are eating them. Not fun. Thanks--I love the toad, too, and he croaks with motion! LOL

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    1. Ha! Yeah, the snake is kind of silly, because I don't really think it scares the critters. But I guess it's worth a try. ;-)

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  11. Squirrels in my succulent containers, chipmunks in yours--there's always something, no matter where one gardens! Still, your containers do look good and I hope you can enjoy them a bit longer. I love the Euphorbia is lovely and especially with the russet of the pot and gazing ball. Beautiful!!

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    1. Thanks! I'm having a major struggle with rabbits this year. I'm not even sure I can describe it adequately for a post. Suffice it to say my blood pressure has been elevated several times after discovering gnawed-off plants. Ugh! The chippers aren't quite as destructive.

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  12. I have been having trouble with the squirrels destroying my succulents, but maybe it is the chipmunks like you found. I am not sure a fake snake would help here. My squirrels are too darn smart for that trick.

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    1. Yes, in my garden it's the chippers that get to the succulent pots. They run by and perch on the pots--so I've seen them. But the cinnamon, etc., seems to keep them from digging. Yeah, I don't think the snake really makes a difference, either. I keep putting it out every year, but it's my other methods that seem to work better.

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  13. Oh my, if it isn't rabbits, it's chipmunks! That's one critter I don't have a problem with here, though they might be the culprits causing havoc in my roadside garden--it's too far away for Sophie and the boys to patrol. I have a new dwarf forsythia, too; I don't know if it's the same variety as yours, but it also has a reddish tint in the fall that I really enjoy. There have been many lessons for me in the garden this past season--now if I can just find time to sit down and write about them!

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    1. The chipmunks are cute little guys, and they simply dig and upend plants. It's the rabbits that I truly detest! I found more plants eaten this morning! I went in the house to check on something, and when I came back out they had eaten more! So, I re-worked all the chicken wire around those new plants. They won't look good this year, but maybe they'll live to fill in next year. Sigh. The dwarf Forsythia is definitely growing on me (no pun intended). I don't like it in the spring, but if it fills in during the summer, it really looks nice through late fall.

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  14. Love your blue/green Euphorbia, Beth! Smiled at your spiced garden! I didn't protect my grapes and here I am looking at the empty spaces where nice blue grapes were hanging a day ago...

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    1. Every year I try new natural repellents, Tatyana. I have an organic garden, so mostly it's spices and physical barriers that I use. I seem to eventually have luck repelling the chippers, but nothing works with rabbits except rabbit-repellent plants and chicken wire fencing! I dislike rabbits!

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  15. We have hadeda ibis poking their way around in search of insects. And moles tunneling along. But I'm not seeing any damage. Hordes of snails, but just one bulb is so delicious that it never manages to make leaves!

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    1. Oh, yes, I sometimes have snail/slug damage, too. And earwigs. But beer bait takes care of both of those. Honestly, the only critter that really makes my blood boil is the rabbits. They are nasty little plant-eaters!

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  16. So many critters to keep in mind.... I am learning....

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    1. Always something to learn, Michelle. I didn't realize so many of our native plants are delectable to rabbits. And I'm amazed that some of the plants I planted last year didn't register with the rabbits, but they ate them down to the ground this year! Argh!

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  17. I have not blogged for a few months, but of course i will still be coming back. I've always loved blogging my flowers, plants and travels. My best regards.

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    1. Hi Andrea: So glad you're back. I always enjoy visits to your blog. Learning about gardens in other parts of the world is one of the greatest joys of being a garden blogger and visiting other blogs. :)

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  18. Chipmunks and Rabbits! Nice to know there are SOME critters we needn't deal with here.

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    1. Well, you are fortunate! I can deal with the chipmunks, but rabbits are horrible creatures. I hope I'm not offending anyone. ;-) Plants can seem safe from rabbits for years, and then all of a sudden they eat them down to the ground! I've lost so many plants and so much $$$ to the long-eared, evil-doers! At least some repellents work with chipmunks and they don't eat the plants. They just dig around them.

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  19. The chipmunks do sound like a handful. I think I cut my bean vine losses some this year sprinkling cayenne pepper around, and waxy pepper spray is supposed to stick to the plants better and not wash off, I should try that again. The Euphorbia polychroma is a plant I just bought, and I think a good candidate for larger areas I need to cover, since it's toxic to rabbits and voles. Yours looks so pretty with the gazing ball.

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    1. Chippers aren't so bad. :) Rabbits are another story. I'm glad we have some hawks back in the neighborhood to reduce their numbers. Yes, the only thing that works on rabbits is to stick with rabbit-repellent plants or use chicken wire trenched into the ground. Even Liquid Fence and pepper spray don't keep rabbits away (in my experience, anyway).

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  20. Oh cheeky chipmunks....I had squirrel problems he was planting 'stuff'" everywhere especially in our planters. But he seems to have moved on thank goodness.

    I thought the snake was for real at first glance. LOL.

    Jen

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    1. Yeah, the snake is a psychological tool for me, I suppose. ;-) I do have a five-foot long one that I put near some of my other plants that might be a little scarier. But ... rabbits are not impressed by anything except poisonous plants and chicken wire. Ugh. (I actually like chipmunks.)

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  21. I have had no problems with all the succulents I have in the gardens and in pots. I was surprised you had to do so many things to try to keep the "rodents" away. I wonder why they have not been here - now I hope they don't read this and now show up -- hahahahahaha. Jack

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    1. Oh yes, I would guess we have 100s of chipmunks here. Really. And dozens of squirrels. They're fun to watch and I've found ways to repel them. The rabbits on the other hand... grrrrrrr.

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  22. I love the gazing ball amidst the euphorbia! I hope your efforts to repel the chipmunks work. We have a huge problem with chipmunks. Cute critters, but I am tired of them digging holes all over the garden.

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    1. Thanks, Deb! It really turned out well this year. The Euphorbia has been there for years, and we've had a gazing ball there for probably a 7 or 8 years. But the plants seemed healthier this year and kind of wrapped around the gazing ball. I'm pleased. The chipmunks do dig quite a bit. I've invested quite a few $$$ and muscles in lava rocks. They really do work!

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  23. Hmm, chipmunks must be even cuter than squirrels, although I have only seen them on TV as we don’t have them over here. I gather once they have destroyed something in your garden, the feeling of wanting to wring their neck is just as bad as I have with the squirrels, cute or not!

    Loved your gazing ball within the euphorbias, here in my new garden I will try to find a space for one. I also have a (supposedly) dwarf Forsythia, it is 6 years old, growing in a large container, I prune it twice a year and it is still taller than me!! The definition of dwarf is rather loose I think :-)

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    1. The chipmunks are cute, and for some reason I forgive them. Don't ask me why. They don't actually kill the plants or eat them like the rabbits do--they simply upend them so if I find them in time, I can stick them back in the soil. And then the repellents do work. The repellents don't work with rabbits. Ugh. Yes, the rabbits make my blood boil. I don't know the species name of this Forsythia. For years, I questioned its place in the garden, but I think I get it now. It looks feeble in early spring, but really fills in in summer and has pretty color in fall. This one is definitely a dwarf, rambling, low-growing shrub variety.

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  24. There's still so much blooming that it's hard to believe leaves are starting to change color already, isn't it?

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    1. Yes, I agree. My sunny garden is full of blooming Cosmos, Zinnias, Lantanas, and Snapdragons. I have blooming Fuchsias all around the house. My partial shade areas would have blooming Asters, False Asters, and Goldenrod, if the rabbits hadn't eaten them. :( Fortunately, I rescued some of the Blue Mistflower with chicken wire, so that's blooming, too. So, yes, it is weird. I noticed quite a touch of orange and yellow color this afternoon looking up at the tall trees.

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  25. Your planters are just wonderful - it's too bad about the chipmunks. I don't know what it is with a critters selectiveness - I had the same thing happen with rabbits - one year, no problem, the next year, half of my plants were chewed up.
    I have really become excited about succulent planters recently & did create a very small one and placed it by our family room window. It's not looking amazing, but not dead yet either, so at least that's encouraging ;)

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    1. Thanks, Margaret! Yes, I feel like I have the rabbits and chippers and field mice figured out and then the things that worked for decades don't work anymore. I've decided the only thing I can do is add chicken wire and lava rocks to every new plant--or at least to all the plants that aren't critter-repellent.

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  26. good luck competing with determined critters. Love the blue green Euphorbia show.

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    1. Thanks, Sue. I need all the luck I can get. My plans for swaths of lovely autumn-blooming plants were dashed by the critters this year. But there's always next year! :)

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  27. Oh what we do to discourage the critters from our plants....beautiful views especially the last one Beth! Oh and that snake looks real. The rabbits seem to have been hawk and fox food as they are all gone and strangely so are the deer.

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    1. Thanks, Donna. The Euphorbia really filled in nicely around the gazing ball this year. LOL about the snake. It would scare me, but not the critters so much. ;-) Lucky you that the deer and rabbits have disappeared. My backyard is chock full of chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits! The hawks are barely making a dent. I guess we need some foxes or wolves or ... a dog!

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