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Archive for October, 2007

Glowing sedge

Glowing sedge

View from my balcony door at 4 pm today. You glow, girl. (I’m sure this flamboyant orange-haired beauty of a sedge is female.)

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Magpie GirlLemon & MahoganyMoi in Copenhagen

Creative projects — I’m enthusiastic about beginnings and middles, but less energetic, focused or punctual about endings. That’s why I signed up for Magpie Girl’s Creativity Challenge. I’m about 90% finished my Autumn garden and think I will be able to meet the Challenge’s November 1st deadline. I’ve posted some of the plant creations on Flickr and will be adding more photos and notes this coming week.

Decision-making — for me, the process is never fast and rarely final.  This is another area where I need help and largely explains why I have trouble finishing projects on time if at all.  For my Challenge Project, I needed help choosing plants and creating container combinations. This is where my blogging friends came in — little did they know. And I hope they don’t mind how I used them. 

Note: I admit only the pansies, violas and wintergreen are — technically — edible plants, although I don’t plan on eating them. Next Spring, I will be transplanting about half the Heuchera to my mom’s garden and replacing them with lettuce, other veggies and herbs.  Yes, I’m one of those kids who stores stuff at the parent’s place but in this case, my mom doesn’t mind.

Here are links to the Flickr photos. I hope the plants and/or combos inspire you to try fall planting if you previously thought this was the season to put the gardens to bed. (Although I know in some growing zones, this is necessary.)

Magpie Girl — a seasonal arrangement in Fall’s classic colours
Moi in Copenhagen — plants suitable not only for the Pacific Northwest but also, I believe, Copenhagen’s growing zone. (In one gardening forum, a contributor said it was zone 7.) Summer alternative to the pansies and violas: the national flower of Denmark, the Marguerite Daisy (Argyranthemum frutescens).
Lemon & Mahogany — lemon-yellow may not be a true Autumn colour but we need a source of sunshine during Vancouver’s rainy, dull fall and winters.
Mondo Beyondo — is the only word to describe this lush mound of Black Mondo Grass and two prolific pansy plants that have flowered continuously and abundantly.
Anchors & Masts — this one is a bit like looking at clouds and trying to see animals or objects. Do you see the mast, the sails, the anchor?

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Some of you who read my blog may also read Anchors & Masts, but in case not, I want to link to Tess’s powerful, moving and beautiful post for Blog Action Day. Please take 3 minutes out of you busy day to view it. (I bet you won’t be able to watch it just once.)

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img_0156.JPGFence of Virginia Creeper
Fiery Virginia Creeper (10 October 2007, Vancouver, BC)

If you have a very large balcony railing and want some spectacular fall colour, you may want to try growing Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) along it. A few cautions: (1) it grows rapidly (2) its tendrils, if not confined to the railing, trellis or other support structure, can damage a building’s structure and (3) it should be considered potentially poisonous. So in other words, this plant is not edible and you also want to think twice about growing it if you have children or pets.

Before publishing this post I checked a few “not all-inclusive” lists (1, 2, 3) of plants that are poisonous to pets and could not find Virginia Creeper listed. This does bring up an important consideration, though. Before you introduce a new plant into your home and garden, do check on its toxicology. Here are a couple of resources: Toxic Plant List, Health Canada pages.

With these caveats in mind, you may still may want to consider it as a tapestry behind a container arrangement of fall and winter greens. (This is an idea I’m filing away for next year.

You can find helpful growing advice on growing Virginia Creeper here and here.

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Autumn Psalm (excerpt)

by Jacqueline Osherow

A full year passed (the seasons keep me honest)
since I last noticed this same commotion.
Who knew God was an abstract expressionist?

I’m asking myself—the very question
I asked last year, staring out at this array
of racing colors, then set in motion

by the chance invasion of a Steller’s jay
Is this what people mean by speed of light?
My usually levelheaded mulberry tree

hurling arrows everywhere in sight—
its bow: the out-of-control Virginia creeper
my friends say I should do something about,

whose vermilion went at least a full shade deeper
at the provocation of the upstart blue,
the leaves (half green, half gold) suddenly hyper

in savage competition with that red and blue—
tohubohu returned, in living color.
Kandinsky: where were you when I needed you?

(You can read the rest of the poem here.)

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Gayla features a striking combination of edible and inedible plants on You Grow Girl.

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