It is the pretty much the end of the gardening season in Tennessee-though not the end of the garden. Here in Tiger Gardens I garden all winter long by tending to various chores, making things for the garden, creating new gardens, trimming trees, and so on. Winters are short in Tennessee so on all but the coldest days you'll find me in the garden. Also, during the winter there are several holidays and this year we'll be very busy during the holidays so I plan to take a little break until next year.
I walked around the garden snapping some pictures to leave you with until the new year and the new garden comes along. We have barely been touched by frost in Tiger Gardens so most of the garden still looks fantastic. The only things that got zapped were cannas, impatiens, and some annual salvias. Everything else is still blooming and holding onto its color. We'll start with 'Miss Gloria's Thanksgiving Day' mum. This is a late blooming Sheffield type mum that is very tall and much loved by flying insects. It is one of the first flowers you'll see walking to my front door. The vegetable garden will also keep me busy. We have peas flowering, carrots ready for picking all winter, nice and green chard to feed the rabbits, and dreams of next year's vegetable garden to sustain us on our break. Blackhaw viburnum is a sweet little native shrub/tree. I have trained mine into a small tree and it is showing some gorgeous late season color. This is an excellent viburnum for shady spots and requires no care on my part. 'Sunny' knockout roses are still blooming wonderfully in the Vegetable Garden proper. Also blooming are the red and pink knockouts. I'll cut all of the roses down to knee level in early February. Wine bottles, 'Adagio' miscanthus, oakleaf hydrangeas, and frost blackened cannas (not yet cut back) show some color in the Greenhouse Garden. Also in the Greenhouse Garden these dried hydrangeas from my 'Limelight' hydrangeas bloom all winter long. There are literally hundreds of dried blooms and I think I enjoy them as much this way as when they are white and fresh. The common witch hazel has decided to bloom. This shrub is more than six years old and I was beginning to despair it would ever bloom. I can't say the blooms are much to look at but it is a start. I really grow this shrub for its cool seedpods; which I hope to see from these blooms. As is indicative of fall the ornamental kale has been planted in flower pots ready to brighten the dreariest of winter days. And finally I close with the quintessential plant for winter; the camellia. No other plant but the camellia will be in bloom when winter begins and when winter ends (fall and spring blooming shrubs are necessary for this very long bloom season of nearly six months total). I have three fall bloomers and two spring bloomers and I tell you I love them all. This one is a double pink that is quite deep in color. The red foliage behind it is the foliage of oakleaf hydrangeas. I want to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday Season..... in the garden....
My last post on the Windy City takes us back to Millenium Park and the Lurie Garden. The Lurie Garden has long been a garden I have been fascinated by and wanted to see. It is a garden designed in part by Dutch designer Piet Oudolf. I have been reading about his design philosophy and like that he likes gardens to be interesting in all seasons of the year. He does this by designing with plants that have neat seedheads and textures. You will see his design at its finest during the period we visited in late October because the seedheads were outstanding. We start with a shot of a redbud and some kind of grass; which escapes me. Please if anyone knows feel free to post it in the comments. There were lots of blooms to be had in the garden. Verbena bonariensis and a red flower (unknown to me) were in full bloom. Here are some of the textures of the garden. Remember this garden is built on a parking garage. The grasses have all gone by and are now turning golden russets and golds. Can you see the black seedheads of the 'Goldsturm' rudbeckia? The garden reminds me of what I would think a prairie would look like. Maybe a close up will help you to see the Goldsturm seedheads. I was impressed by the sidewalks made out of some kind of granite as best as I could tell. The straw colored perennial on the side of the sidewalk is Amsonia hubrichtii. More seedheads in front of Amsonia hubrichtiiwhich are probably coneflower seedheads. A good part of the garden was walled off by solid impenetrable arborvitae and viburnum hedges. Doesn't the green make a nice living wall for the garden? The borders were probably about 10 feet wide and I was a bit amazed at how well the arborvitae were doing while being packed together like sardines in a can. The plants to the right of the walk are Russian Sage, coneflower, and more amsonia. Amsonia is a fabulous perennial if you have the spot for something that is okay in sun or part shade, is drought tolerant, lives a long time, and looks good most of the year More textures and seedheads of what I think is millet.The garden just seems to be filled with pin cushions but the effect is overall a soft effect. Finally, the sun is setting on our visit to Chicago and the Lurie Garden so soon we must say goodbye... in the garden....
We are still on our trip to Chicago and when we left off on Monday Mr. Fix-it and I were on a quest to visit the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Did you correctly guess that the building used to be called Sears Tower? I think most Chicagoans still call it the Sears Tower as we kind of got that impression while we were there. Neither Mr. Fix-it nor I knew its name had changed to the Willis Tower. The wait to take the elevator to the top of the Willis Tower was about one hour long. Once we crowded onto the elevator it took only 60 seconds to climb all 103 stores to the top of the building! A recording said the ascent was at more than 20 feet per second if I can recall correctly. That was pretty darned fast! Here is a view from the top. Isn't it pretty? I have also visited the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris France and can tell you I much preferred the Willis Tower to the Eiffel Tower and for several reasons. Primarily the Willis Tower did not sway half as much as the Eiffel Tower. Also, getting to the top of the Eiffel Tower takes a much longer time than getting to the top of the Willis Tower. It is not such a short and sweet trip riding just one elevator up the Eiffel Tower. No, guests to the Eiffel Tower must ascend to a second or third level then wait for the elevator, then fight the crowds. European travelers are not as nice with lines as American are. In that you use a lot of elbows to maintain your spot in line or you will quickly fall to the end and not even know how it happened! The top of the Eiffel Tower is rather crowded as well. When Mr. Fix-it and I made it to the top of the Willis Tower it was not so very crowded at all. There was plenty of breathing room; for which I was grateful. Waiting to visit the SkyDeck on the Willis Tower did take a bit of time. Surprisingly enough though everyone who waited to precariously walk out into the plexiglass cube on the side of the Willis Tower was quite polite and considerate of one another while we all snapped photos of our loved ones. Mr. Fix-it tried really hard to get me to walk out onto the SkyDeck but I told him no in no uncertain terms. I am sure missing the experience will haunt me for the rest of my life but at the time I could not see putting myself through the ordeal of looking down 103 stories! You can see Mr. Fix-it had no problems looking down, but funny enough he gets scared climbing on our roof and I have to lead the way in order to get him to go on the roof!
An important note for veterans and active duty service members-your ride to the top of the Willis Tower is free. Be sure to let the ticket person know you have a military or veteran's identification card ahead of time. Both of our tickets were free but at only $17.50 the tour to the top of the building was quite reasonable. Not to be missed is the view looking down once you are on the SkyDeck. CAN YOU IMAGINE??
I had Mr. Fix-it take another shot of the nearby SkyDeck cubicle where you can really see just how precarious looking this cube is, but I have decided not to post it. The close ups of other people is not something I usually do on here.
Can you imagine cleaning the windowson this building? A little tidbit about this building is that no one has to clean the windows! Engineers designed a robotic window cleaner that handily takes care of the task.
Now we'll say goodbye to the Willis Tower and move on to the Lurie Garden. Here is a shot of a little out of the way seating area in Millenium Park. Can you spot the white box behind the tree? It is a beehive. We saw lots and lots of beehives not only in Chicago proper but in the Chicago Botanic Gardens too. When we left the parking garage in Millenium Park (we parked our car here for $26 a day) we took a bridge that overlooks the Lurie Garden and I snapped a shot. The garden is actually located over the parking garage that housed our car. You'll see more of the garden on Friday. This blog is predominantly a garden blog but also serves as my scrapbook of memories. Visiting Chicago with my husband was a wonderful memory I shall treasure so of course I post it on this blog for easy access.
Another shot of Lurie Garden and the overlook to the Pavilion and Great Lawn....
If you have never visited Chicago, aka the Windy City, it is a must see for everyone as far as large cities go. Mr. Fix-it and I were able to spend a weekend in Chicago and enjoyed our visit very much. We saw all the must sees (okay, not all but several at any rate), ate some famous stuffed Chicago pizza, and enjoyed the people and ambiance of the city. We'll start with the city part of our visit then by the end of the week we'll look at a well known garden named the Lurie Garden. Right now take a look at the Cloud Gate located in Millenium Park. This sculpture is known as an interactive sculpture and can you believe that at one time the city of Chicago tried to require permits to photograph it? I just couldn't even imagine! I had fun photographing 'The Bean' as the sculpture is affectionately called in Chicago. Would you like to know why it is an interactive sculpture? Well, if you look at the picture above it is of Mr. Fix-it and me and I actually took the picture! This picture is a reflection of Mr. Fix-it and me in the sculpture. The sculpture was modeled on mercury. Do you remember that chemical element that used to be used in old thermometers? Mercury is a fluid silver liquid metal. It is the only metal that is in liquid form. The Bean really seems to be a moveable sculpture and is considered interactive because it really is! No matter where you stand your reflection is different but quite realistic as though the reflection was from an actual mirror. The bean is quite shiny and so very beautiful as it reflects the city, people, and all of its surroundings. There were a lot of tourists visiting Chicago including the two pictured above. We were asked to take a photo of some girls in front of a sign that said 'Millenium Park' so of course I asked them to reciprocate. One thing Mr. Fix-it and I both noticed was there were a lot of revolving doors in Chicago. Perhaps this is a thing of big cities? I always associate revolving doors with cities at any rate. Although, now that I think about it there were several revolving doors in Germany as well. I am pretty sure the above berries are Rock Spray cotoneaster. While we walked along the city streets both Mr. Fix-it and I were impressed by the planters all along the sidewalks. The cotoneaster was a groundcover under some beautiful crabapples. Further away from Millenium Park we found a combination garden that contained sculptures and plants. The green 'stems' are actually speakers with lights on the end of them. The whole garden is called 'Poetry on State Street' and is presented by the Chicago Loop Alliance with the Poetry Foundation. The kale, chard, and cabbage were a nice winter combination on the city streets. A sight you cannot ever miss is the Art Institute of Chicago. I took the above shot of Mr Fix-it under a huge bronze lion (or perhaps copper as I am not entirely sure). The lion was immense! It was an amazing building and while we passed through it we did not take a tour. Our mission was to travel to the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The building is called Willis Tower but used to have another name. Do you know the old name? We finish out this post in Crown Fountain. This exhibit/sculpture is also interactive and has been a bit controversial. Not being from Chicago I actually thought this exhibit fit in perfectly with the park though it seemed to only work intermittently while we visited. On our way out though the faces did finally appear. This exhibit contains two glass buildings that reflect faces of the people of Chicago. When the faces were not on the tower we could see splashing water reflected in the towers but could not actually find the fountain. Wikipedia says the fountain is a great spot for people to cool down in the hot summers of Chicago. Next up our visit to the Willis Towers.... in the garden....
Today we will finish our virtual visit to the Chicago Botanic Gardens with a stop in the Japanese Garden. I have never before seen a Japanese garden and was enthralled with the serene beauty of it all. It is a paradise for all to see and enjoy. The evergreen trees are pruned in a style called 'cloud pruning'. It is a horizontal type of pruning that completely changes the way an evergreen looks. The migrating Canada Geese also enjoyed the garden. Some of the islands (and I believe this was one of them) are off limits to visitors. These two islands are only for visiting birds. How nice is that? The birds are left undisturbed to stop for a bit on their migration paths and the visitors to the gardens can enjoy them from afar such as what I was able to do. It's a good thing my camera has a great zoom to capture these birds as they were a long way away. Okay, we leave the Japanese garden and wander on the nicely paved paths. I am for some reason fascinated with the pointy evergreens. I think it is because I like that wow factor. Sometimes gardens can get boring so when you put in a sky scraping pointy evergreen that is not too overwhelming but which raises the bar a bit the garden gets exciting! This area is the Dwarf Conifer Garden. Our guide (we rode a tram and since we were the only ones aboard we got a good overview of the gardens) told us that many visitors were not utilizing this giant staircase to go up into the conifer garden. The garden staff decided the solution was to plant some conifers in the staircase by taking out some rocks and creating planting pockets. The hope is that people will be more apt to climb the stairs. The Rose Garden was splendid! It is the best I've seen. The roses were all massed nicely and looked extremely healthy. Mr. Fix-it and I endeavored to smell quite a few of the blooms. Many of the hybrid teas had no scent but we found one that was a true rose smell. The name of it was 'Tiffany' and it was a lovely pink rose. This is not 'Tiffany' but I wanted to show a shot with both rose hips and blooms in the picture. The rose hips and blooms made for an interesting rose bush and was yet another reminder we visited at the end of the garden season. We will finish our visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden in the Heritage Garden. I was most curious about this huge and rather intimidating yet beautiful bronze sculpture. Can you guess who it is? It is a sculpture of Carl Linnaeus. Linnaeus is the father of binomial nomenclature-the naming system we use to name all of our plants. He is a very important man in horticultural history and no self respecting gardener would not know his name-though they might not know how handsome he was! Maybe it was just the sculpture:) This garden pays tribute to the world's botanical gardens. Around Linnaeus is a wild and jumbled disorder of plants (figuratively more than literally) and as you spread out from this sculpture the plants are organized by country of origin. I loved looking at each and every one of the countries and where all the plants came from. For instance, I knew that Hydrangea arborescens and Hydrangea quercifolia were both native to the United States. I also knew that Hydrangea paniculata was not but I never gave it any thought about where this hydrangea came from. It comes from....Asia! My favorite plant in the Heritage Garden at this time of the year had to be a cool milkweed called Gomphocarpus fructicosus, aka Milkweed. This milkweed is not native to the United States though. It is native to South America. The pods were the coolest pods ever. And lastly my traveling partner. Not only is he my best friend, and husband of many years, but he is a partner in the truest sense of the word. We are equals and enjoy being together so very much. Our children are all grown up and this was the first weekend away for just the two of us. We had a super wonderful time on our weekend in Chicago just doing our thing and not rushing here and there and trying to see everything. Sometimes travelers just need to slow down and enjoy the journey. I am very grateful we were able to do this on our weekend away.... in the garden....
My GEORGIA GARDENS are showing Fall Color as a backdrop for my fading plants.
Another view with the Forsythia Bush showing color and Elephant Ears still hanging on. I do not recall the Forsythia Bush ever being so pretty in fall.
The Bald Cypress tree to the left is turning a bronze (dead looking) color while the Dogwoods are giving me the Red colors I desire in Fall. Crepe Myrtles give the Orange colors you see. The Angel Trumpets are dropping their last blooms and leaves to the ground.
But there is still life in my Gardens such as this Eastern Phoebe at the Birdbath.
And this Mocking Bird hiding in the Butterfly Bushes.
I went out to the Butterfly Bush Island the week of Halloween to find many visitors fluttering about. The Long-tailed Skipper is shaped like a bird don't ya think?
I love the shade of blue on its back. There were a lot of Long-tailed Skippers enjoying a meal.
Underside of a Painted Lady.
Top side of this pretty Lady (or is it another one) There were many of them spotted as that day.
Several Monarchs were enjoying a sip of nectar before their continued long journey south.
The ever so popular (to my gardens) Gulf Fritillary's were busy.
Here is the top side to a Gulf.
I spotted two Buckeyes on this day.
I am going to take a guess and say this to be an Appalachian Eyed Brown. Maybe, maybe not. It was sunning itself on the grass.
I rarely bring any of my flowers inside the house due to these two little fur balls. They like to nibble and that is not always good when some things are toxic.
But I just had to clip some of these blooms to bring inside before nature took them away from me. Oct. 29 and iris still blooming! I put the flowers up high when we left the room. Today, they are still pretty for me. Yes, they were fresh when clipped.
Of course the ever hardy Butterfly Bushes continue to bloom and will, up until our first frost. But other then those, the main colors we have glowing for now are the Coleus in many varieties.
As this one matures, it becomes a washed out color but still pretty to my eyes.
This one grew slim but tall and is bursting with colors as well. coleus sometime return in my gardens as we have mild winters. I hope all the above beauties return as they are such assets to the garden when other color fails, they shine.
Today, 7 baby deer went to the birdbath outside my window for a sip. Yep, we are still in a drought. It was a nice sight to see all of them at once on their own without a mommy near by. Two are little boy's as I spotted their little button antlers. Aw, they are so cute. I am allowing the deer to eat as they please in the garden for now. Things are going dormant for winter anyway, so why Not, I say. I shall get the stinky spray out for the evergreen items though. Fall is a bittersweet time of year for me. I enjoy all the lower temps in the air but do not like the idea of saying FAREWELL TO MY PRETTIES, In the Garden...
I am also going to be saying Farewell to my blogging friends for the year! I will pop back in to wish you all wonderful holidays but other then that, I do not plan to write any more blogs for the remainder of the year. I shall see ya in the New Year though....