Monday, November 10, 2008

Fall in a Big Way

Greetings from Eureka! I have been going nuts taking pictures in the garden over the last week and a half as things transition. Elsewhere there are blizzards, but here a few vestiges of Summer are mixing with Fall. Here is Cappuccino looking suitably cat-grumpy on the damp back lawn during a weather break.

Well, the rainy season has arrived on the North Coast. The storm door doesn't open here; it gets blown off its hinges. We have had about a week of solid wet since the first of November and it is likely to stay that way through March. Eureka is the dry spot in HumCo at 37 inches of rain a year, but there is a reason the redwoods here are so steroidally huge: it is damned wet here. Foggy in Summer, rainy in Winter. You don't have to drive too far either North or South before the precipitation totals get into the 80-120 inches per year range. Yeouch.

Still, that wet is good for my little cottage garden out back. I swear every time I poke about out there, I find some new, funky, weird plant peeking out. We are Sunset Western Garden book zone 17, which is the same as my hometown of Fremont, but the things I can grow here tend to be more Pacific Northwest than Bay Area. Rhododendrons THRIVE here. We have two mondo pink rhodies that explode in Spring. The rhodies hint at a more acid soil than I am used to and this really is a transition zone between the Mediterranean climate of coastal California and the deep wet green climate of the Pacific Northwest.

There are a few things growing here that are more warm-weather based. Despite the foggy coastal climate, we have a thriving lemon tree and a producing grapevine (although we were essentially Summer-less this year and were consequently grape-less.) The centerpiece of the garden is a fairly large Japanese maple that is pretty generic looking when it is green, but it has gone ape this fall, having turned almost radioactively red. Check these pics out:

I took this picture just a couple of days ago using a flash. This is looking out the back door of the Solarium. The greenery on the far right is one of the big pink rhodies in the corner of the yard along the fence.
Here are a few isolated leaves that show how really red the leaves get. This was taken using ambient light, although I tweaked the light levels in Photoshop. The color is pretty true to the leaves.
Another spray backlit by an overcast setting sun. The leaves in that light seem to glow.

Last, but certainly not least, our clematis have continued to bloom, despite the growing cold. (although the recent rain has rather bashed about these blossoms.) We have another lavender clematis blooming as well, see here. The late season bumblebee was quite torpid and so posed for a long time for the picture. It's nice to get a last gasp of blooms before we get our wet green winter. We are rather spoiled here for flowers, but everything needs to rest. Still, we are going out with fireworks. Happy Autumn, everybody!!

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