A Few Hints of Autumn

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Sometimes you have to look quite hard to find any signs of autumn in Central Florida.  Steamy weather gradually gives way to warm and drier days and there is a whisper of coolness in the early mornings.  It is a beautiful time of year and if we are lucky there will be no cold snap until January.  This gives us a lovely long growing season throughout the remainder of the year.  All my tropical foliage has doubled in size this summer with the daily thunderstorms and heat.

 

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This area under some water oak trees is at the front of the house and leads down to the shady path on the left.  There is a whole tangle of plant material under here including gingers, gardenias, tree ferns and philodendron.  A sure sign of autumn is how huge and dense all this has become, some of it is well over head height!

Often a slight rustle in the bushes announces a visitor.  We do sometimes get bears in the garden which can be a little alarming but also quite thrilling.  Black bears are quite active at this time of year as they are foraging and fattening up.  This visitor was however a young buck which appeared out of the foliage.

 

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He was very handsome and did not seem to mind me admiring him!

In autumn the purple fountain grass in the front garden really comes into its own.  When the early morning or evening sunlight catches it, it glows with a lovely movement of mauve, red and bronze.  Autumn crowns it with its feathery seed heads.

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I love it here with a little hint of blue Plumbago behind.  Grasses are such a wonderful addition to any autumn garden but they serve double duty for me because it is one type of plant material that the deer do not eat!

In the back garden, where the deer can’t reach, a long wet season has also given rise to a lot of growth.

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This raised border is also well over head height now and is full of various palms, Heliconia, Thryalis, Firebush and a tiny hint of red from the Florida Cracker Rose.  Behind all that growth on the right hand side is a waterfall which leads to a pond and which I will show you on another post.

I spent the best part of two weeks in England this month and then had another quick trip to Mississippi, so I have been scurrying to catch up in the garden.  One thing that I usually do at this time of year is to refresh all the pots and planters.  Sometimes this involves taking everything out entirely and starting over or sometimes it just needs a little refresh with plants that look more autumnal.

The little sitting area by the front door which I have shown you on a previous post needed a complete refresh as many of those plants had been in there since early spring.

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I love to find plants for these terra-cotta containers that are bright and colorful and can also transition into Christmas.  The little ornamental peppers are wonderful for this as they look like little christmas lights.

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For autumn I mix them up with Crotons, Zinnias, Marigolds, Coreopsis and a few fillers of herbs which the deer don’t like. Others have Crossandra and the lime colored Duranta for a tangerine and lime explosion!

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Deer don’t particularly like succulents either!

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I love to plant with herbs and use many different types.  They are easy to raise from seed and pop into a container or basket and they smell so good too.  In one part of my side garden I have a small and formal vegetable/herb garden.  It has only been in about a year so I am still waiting for the box hedging to grow around it and enclose it.  Two of the raised planters are usually given over to various herbs, mainly rosemary,oregano, parsley, mint and basil.

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As I have been gone quite a lot this summer, I pulled out all the tomatoes when they had finished early this summer and the other three planters just got a top dressing of compost.  I’m trying something different with these this autumn and have actually sowed flower seeds in each one.  I did this before I left for England in September and hoped that there would be enough rain to help the seeds germinate, which they did, and they were up and quite big by the time I got back.  Nothing too fancy in these, just Zinnias, Calendula and Cosmos.  My sister in England has such a wonderful cutting garden and has taken many courses there which helped her grow all the table flowers for a family wedding in July.  As our weather in autumn is similar to a hot English summer I hoped there would be enough time for me to grow some too.  It’s an experiment but I like to try something different!

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Oliver the grey tabby decided to roll around in the middle one so it had to be replanted!  Hopefully they will be up soon!  The little citrus trees you see in pots there are a mixture of Limes and Kumquats.  The limes are just beginning to ripen.

If you peep through the pool screen there you can just see a sitting area inside.  This is an outside fireplace which we love in the winter time.  In the summer I use it for many of my orchids and ferns.

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By Autumn I like to decorate it a little even though we won’t be lighting it for a while!

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I have lots of plans and projects for the next few months, both inside and out and some more travel too.  I also have a lovely garden to show you in England that I visited.  See you soon and Happy Gardening wherever you are!


17 thoughts on “A Few Hints of Autumn

  1. Kate, you have an amazing property, each garden area is absolutely lovely. How exciting to have wildlife wandering about! The urns are also especially beautiful for the season, another reminder I need to get busy with my pots. I have never noticed how much the ornamental peppers resemble Christmas lights…great idea for the holidays. Take care and enjoy those beautiful gardens.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Janice and for your kind words! It is lovely to have wildlife and I really appreciate all that we have although some neighbors get a little rattled by the bear! I hope to get a picture of it to put on here at some point but I don’t usually stand around too long!! So glad you liked the urns and peppers. You are so wonderful at growing things from seed that I bet you could get some going. I have to search and search to find them at nurseries. Sometimes they have them and sometimes not. I like to mix red geraniums and poinsettia in there at Christmas and they look really lovely together. Enjoy the sunshine!

      Xx Kate

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  2. You have an enormous garden! It’s a lovely one too. I find it so difficult to find attractive plants that I like, that aren’t liked by deer, rabbits, mice etc.! I also have a herb garden though I often put herbs in the flower border because, as you say, they smell wonderful. Your pots and planters are looking so good and your colour schemes are fabulous! Clare 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much Clare for your lovely comment. I think sometimes the garden looks bigger than it actually is. Its about an acre…certainly can’t manage any thing bigger than that! I agree with you on finding plants that aren’t tasty to all the animals that live here too. I actually don’t find there is anything that is actually deer proof – boxwood maybe! I just keep trying new things and putting strong smelling herbs and using some repellant sprays. Glad you like planting with herbs too..so many of them are even pretty with their flowers and not just the leaves. Have a wonderful weekend and I hope that the gorgeous weather in England right now continues.

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  3. Kate, your post and photos are absolutely lovely! Have you been featured in a magazine yet??? Well, your house and gardens should be! I love the deer photo – aren’t they little and cute, especially compared to our northern deer. Although they aren’t as small as the Key deer. We have bears too. I have so much foliage they come around a corner and they seem like they magically appear. I now talk A LOT to myself in the garden and sometimes I wear bear bells. Your raised beds are wonderful! Well, everything is wonderful and looks so beautiful! I like the peppers in the containers and how they look like Christmas lights! I have some sweet pea seeds – I doubt they’ll do well for me, but I wish, oh how I wish I could grow them. I’m trying them this winter…we’ll see. Have you had any luck with them up there?

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    1. Hi Lynn! You are so sweet!! Thank you for the lovely comments ….I’m definitely not magazine worthy!….but your bird pictures surely are! Oh goodness I’m so glad I’m not the only one talking to myself out there! I am convinced that our resident bears are always nearby and as much as I like them I don’t like surprises! Sweet peas? Oh please tell me that we can be successful! I have some too and I am going to sow them maybe in about November. We will definitely have to compare notes! I am very determined that I can pick a bunch of them…it would make my day to bury my nose in that bouquet! Have a wonderful week…it was actually a little cooler for us this morning! Yay!

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  4. Hi Kate, welcome home after all your travels! I always find so much inspiration in your posts. One of my dreams is to have an outdoor fireplace! I agree with Lynn that your garden is magazine worthy. Definitely! I was surprised to see a deer standing so boldly in your garden. Somehow I had not thought of deer living in a tropical climate. Do they do very much damage? It seems not. Your garden looks perfect.

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    1. Deb…Thank you so much for your visit! You are always so generous with your lovely comments…but no definitely not magazine worthy…but your lovely and lush garden could for sure be in Southern Living! I do love having the fireplace even though for the majority of the year it remains unlit! On those chilly evenings we get it is lovely and I love the smell of woodsmoke!! The deer are abundant here and quite tame but they do eat everything. I have just learned what’s not really their favorite and plant lots of that. Lots of hot pepper spray too!

      Thank you again! ❤️

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  5. I love the way you have your containers planted, Kate – color schemes and foliage and everything! I’m just not very imaginative on that so maybe I can loosen up and get some inspiration from yours. I was designing my herb garden in pots, but I missed a few waterings (that will do it here!) and had to start over. At which point I reverted to planting my herbs directly into the perennial beds… At any rate it gives me a few more plants that deer and rabbits don’t usually eat (dill and parsley excepted!) 😉 Your deer are lovely despite their good taste in plants!

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    1. Hi Amy! Thank you so much for your lovely comments. Im glad you liked the container plantings. You have such wonderful artistic talent – I see it in your photography that there is no way you can say you are not imaginative! I really just see what is available and just try to work some kind of color scheme together, plus I literally overfill my pots so they always look more mature than they really are. I hear you on herbs in pots and having to water them…I have to water every day..even if there is rain as they dry out so fast! I do love them though! So far I haven’t had any parsley eaten by deer…but honestly who knows, they change their eating preferences so fast that it is hard to keep up sometimes!

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  6. Beautiful gardens, wonderful pictures! Love reading your posts! I am kind of jealous that you can still keep your plants outside– that’s the one thing I can’t do anymore!

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    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments. So kind of you! It really is starting to get lovely here now as the humidity is gone pretty much and it is starting to cool down a lot. I am glad that we get to enjoy the outdoors now! Sometimes we get a freeze or two here… And once there was a freeze every night for a week which was awful as so much died. My garden looks like a battle ground if that happens as I drag every available cover outside to protect everything… People probably think I’ve gone crazy! Haha!

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  7. Your gardens and property are wonderful! You did a lovely job with your containers.

    I’m south of you and it is still very warm and humid. Right now at 12:30 p.m. it is 85 and feels like it is 88. I’m so ready for cooler weather, as I want to work on painting my little cottage this cool weather season.

    Your gardens are an inspiration.

    Happy Fall ~ FlowerLady

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    1. That was so sweet of you…Thank you! Hasn’t the weather just been altogether too hot! I know we shouldn’t complain but it just makes it too difficult to get things done outside. Like you I can’t wait for it to cool down! Your cottage is so lovely. I love looking at your photos. Hope the little kitten is still doing well.

      -Kate

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