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Gardening

Enjoying fall color and a mellow garden

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December 07, 2022

By the time I hang red Christmas balls from the agave’s spines, the Japanese maple finally blushes red too. Fall comes late to Central Texas, but I’ll take it, even at Christmastime.

Last week was peak color for the Acer palmatum. Today, shriveled tan leaves cling to the branches. But it was lovely while it lasted.

In the side garden, fall color is absent, but I’m pleased with how the Mexican feathergrass has filled out around the agave pillar and ‘Baby Gem’ boxwoods. Society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) is doing OK too — there are a few lavender flowers — although during this hellish summer it didn’t fill out as much as I’d hoped. Maybe next year!

At twilight, the string lights along the fence come on automatically, illuminating the side path.

That’s an ‘Opal’ American agave in the dish planter.

Out front, Wheeler’s sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri) is a spiny, blue-green starburst. I’m grateful that deer don’t antler these during the fall rut, like they do with small trees, agaves, prickly pear, giant hesperaloes, and certain yuccas (ugh, deer). I didn’t cage my giant hesperaloes this fall — I just got tired of the caging — and they now lie smashed flat courtesy of Bambi. I’ll be removing them soon. My deer-resistant plant palette shrinks every year, but I still have more variety than most in my neighborhood. Gotta keep trying things!

Our mellow weather this week is patio weather. Today the high is 81F. Still no freeze yet in my garden.

Mexican mint marigold (Tagetes lucida) and ‘Amistad’ salvia make a pretty combo alongside a potted ‘Moonglow’ mangave. Purple oxalis (Oxalis triangularis) in a turquoise pot continues the color scheme by the sofa.

A native pepper, chile pequin (Capsicum annuum), is Christmas-colored alongside a silvery whale’s tongue agave — a Moby pup! — and silver ponyfoot (Dichondra argentea).

In the lower garden, the little Mexican plum (prunus mexicana) catches my eye with leaves turning butternut-yellow.

More yellows glow around the Circle Garden, including Eve’s necklace (Styphnolobium affine) in back, forsythia sage (Salvia madrensis), and ‘Color Guard’ yucca.

The bouncing balls are ‘Winter Gem’ boxwood, with ‘Micron’ dwarf yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria ‘Micron’) around the center ring.

But the golden star right now is the ‘Wonderful’ pomegranate. It’s still not quite at peak color. I love it against the steel-blues of the Yucca rostrata and ‘Blue Ice’ Arizona cypress.

A wider view — and look how freaking tall that yucca has gotten!

A view across the Circle Garden, with the pomegranate and forsythia sage stepping up for fall.

My forsythia sage pouted after this blistering summer. I sympathize! It normally starts flowering around Halloween or early November. But this year it didn’t flower in earnest until early December.

I’m grateful for no freeze yet to nip it in the bud.

The moonlight-yellow variegation on the whale’s tongue agave echoes the pomegranate’s fall splendor.

Along the deck, Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha) adds velvety purple.

The bees were going after it.

A rogue fall flower on the ice plant (Delosperma cooperi)

And a cute little anole hanging out on a ‘Frazzle Dazzle’ dyckia — spiky!

Inside I’ve still been enjoying fall vibes, but Christmas decorations are going up this week. It’s time to let the pumpkins and mums go.

Anyone else wavering between fall and winter?

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Digging Deeper

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All material © 2022 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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