Garden Diary - October 2018

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A Day of Garden Visits

Sunday, 21 October 2018

If I go to visit one garden, why not visit another? Or even a third. So I did. Even better, I had company. It started like this. Today is the October meeting of the Watnong chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society, which is held at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown, New Jersey. Today's speaker is John Lonsdale of Edgewood Gardens, speaking about autumn flowering bulbs. My friend Joan is ever ready to join me on an outing of horticultural nature. Having discovered that a return home stop-off at Willowwood Arboretum is an easy, minor detour, we added that to our plan. And Bamboo Brook is right next door to Willowwood, so . . . We each packed a lunch, and off we went.

Some renovation is going on at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum. We walked
around the visitors center to a different entrance, where we were welcomed
by these three elaborately carved pumpkins. 'Tis the season, for Halloween.

The day is overcast and chilly. Clearly, last night was cold enough
that frost on the pumpkins did more of a number on the elephant ear

and this coleus. Tropical plants meet temperatures below freezing
with very poor outcomes. But then, you do know winter is coming.

Off we go to Willowwood Arboretum.

Hardy plants accept the seasonal turn. Some
flower now, others fade from green to yellow,
while others actually manufacture lovely reds.

Miscanthus shift in the breeze, catching light, looking like rain.

At 5 or 6 feet tall Aster tataricus 'Jin Dai' is
the "dwarf" form of this Japanese species.

A cluster of chilly bees, two different kinds.
No sunshine, not warm. Huddled together.

Late flowering perennials, perennials gone to seed. Milkweed,
Asclepias syriaca, ready to send seed off in the next breeze.

Joan and I walk over to the border where a hardy orange, Poncirus trifoliata, is adorned with the largest fruits we've ever seen on this small tree. Yes, hardy. No, not edible or even useful for preserves. But certainly attractive for spring flowers and autumn fruit. Wicked thorns though.

What's this bare ground! It is where rescue efforts brought in
the tender plants before frost struck with damaging force.

Here was where I saw agaves just 5 weeks ago, on 15 September.

Onward to Bamboo Brook. Joan is wearing fingerless gloves and a hat.
It's chilly. But we are hardy garden visitors.

Adjacent to the parking area is a field of golden grasses and arborvitae.

Down the stairs, into the gardens. An allée
of mature arborvitae offers a focused viewpoint.

Down by the circular pool there are hardy chrysanthemums, quite different
from the clunky pots offered for sale as short lived seasonal embellishments.

And witch hazel, Hamamelis virginiana, disguises
its threadlike yellow flowers with yellow foliage.

A pleasant outing, much to see, could have had better weather.

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