• December First Views-Late Fall Chores

    by  • December 1, 2011 • Fall, Garden • 6 Comments

    First views is a meme that Town Mouse started in order to get wider views of our gardens to show the changes from month to month. You can join in here on Town Mouse’s Mr Linky link..

    In December the blooms of the summer have really faded and you search for small pleasures where you can. I feel very fortunate to be able to ‘borrow’ wider and distant views when the winter season comes. In fact the mountain beyond my garden upstages ALL I do in the garden, showing me how small and insignificant any of my labors are in comparison.

    As I walk around, I start from the patio just out the sliding windows off the living room. I’m pleased by the different greens and grays of the Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ and the rosemary, thyme and rockrose on the bank. These have really helped to stabilize the bank just below the patio at the far edge of the house pad.

    The Red fountain grass glows and waves on either side of the steps going down. I can see this from inside.

    As I walk down the steps I notice that a random variegated euryops planted when the garden was brand new, has reverted to its green leafed form and decided to bloom, when in the past five years it has sulked and hid among the iris and manzanita. Beyond are the buff dried flowers of the native golden fleece, Ericameria arborescens, a fire follower rampant and attractive here after our fire of 2001.


    I stop to roll up the hoses and wind the monkey swing around the tree. This is the far north end of the Salvia garden, the salvias mixed in with native bear clover, Chamaebatia foliolosa, at the base of the oak tree, more golden fleece and manzanita. This path goes the length of the garden and you can see the lower path below, maybe.


    This is the middle of the garden in the same Salvia bed. The iris edging the crude log ‘steps’ are turning yellow and there are two azaleas on the right, just below the flowering peach. Beyond is the native meadow where the deer grass grows. I am fighting the filaree seedlings there, which have come back with a vengeance. At the left is the trimmed Ceanothus and you can now see the split rail ‘fence’ at the base.


    Looking down the short garden path from the patio, on the left you can see that the asters are brown at the stems and fading and on the right the foliage of the Hall’s Mule Ears, Wyethia elata, is drying and crackling. Beyond is the leafless Japanese maple that is sheltered in summer by the oaks.

    I have plans for the area where my lounge is I’d like to make a level circle of ground and edge it with something. We’ve worked hard to neaten and trim the oaks to give us this view down to the lower property. Soon it will all be green grass down there.

     Looking down to the far south of the garden are my two fruit trees, an apple and a cherry, …don’t they make bright spots in the subdued native plant surroundings?  More hoses to roll up.

    Now for a walk down below.


    A view of the mountain from the new bench built this Spring.


    Looking south, you can see two of the ‘switchbacks’ made for walking Maggie. It’s all about the dog sometimes. This way she doesn’t get too many stickers. See the brush pile?


    Down one level, this field is all hedgehog dogtail grass, Cynosurus echinatus, an attractive, but non native grass that looks best in spring and early summer. All this was THICK brush and poison oak surrounding the oaks, just two years ago.


    This path winds down a steep bit where we’ll be working this Fall and winter on nice days. We have about 400 yards more to the bottom of the property and lots of downed trees and manzanita from the fire 10 years ago and from a storm last May that brought many burned and dying trees down. The tractor really helps to make paths down here.

    A pretty woodsy area, looking north.  The chores?  Mostly getting the hoses squared away for the winter and scratching out whats weed seedlings I can.  I was happy to be able transplant 25 or so deer grass seedlings that popped up around the bases of the ones I planted four years ago.  I planted them further down here in the lower area on some old burn pile site and in some open areas.  Cross my fingers…

     Late in the day, around 6 o’clock, the mountain glows in the afternoon light. Since we face the East, we don’t quite get sunsets, but we do get this odd orange light on the mountain most clear days in the Autumn.

    Getting dark now, so we’ll go back up.

    The sun is full down now and the fading light shines on any reflective surface of the main garden path.

    I huff and puff coming up the hill and pass the lower patio in the dark.  Heavens! See all those acorns?



    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.

    6 Responses to December First Views-Late Fall Chores

    1. December 1, 2011 at 10:42 am

      Wow, amazing tour! You’ve certainly gotten ahead of me here. Between usually being out of the hour before it gets light enough for photos and some DSL troubles, I’ve been bad about posting. But I took some photos this morning and I’m hopeful about posting this evening.

    2. Des Harding
      December 2, 2011 at 12:43 am

      Oh, Sue! You’ve done it again! Literally taken my breath away. I am speechless 🙂 Truly!!!

    3. December 2, 2011 at 10:43 am

      Yes, thank goodness for our mountain home views! But your garden areas are looking very attractive and appealing. I have so many fall chores to get to!

    4. December 2, 2011 at 11:27 am

      I bet you have a few more acorns on the patio now! What did you think about that crazy wind storm? I love your hillside planting with the Artemisia and rosemary. I’m totally stealing this idea!

    5. December 2, 2011 at 11:10 pm

      Interesting to watch the daylight fade, from the brilliant colors in the first gorgeous photo to virtually monochrome by the end. When I come home from the office things are mostly dark, so I’m glad to share in others’ looks at what happens before the dark curtain falls…

      Some of my favorite late afternoon color effects happen opposite the setting sun. Your sun-red hill is a terrific example. Happy Decemeber!

    6. December 6, 2011 at 8:39 am

      Thanks, Town Mouse, I hate computer problems,…I’m totally dependent on them, I admit. Thanks again for starting this idea, I wish I’d taken more photos earlier in the creation of the garden.
      Thank, Desiree, Mouse’s idea has given us, who participate, a better idea of what the gardens look like. More like a real tour!

      Thanks, Country Mouse,…I’m glad you have nice views, too. Statistics say people are happier when they can look onto mountain views. I like that!

      Katie, the wind has been crazy….and it’s so dry, so I’m still having to water. Will we have a very wet Spring then?

      The different light is something in itself that adds to the enjoyment here. Taking photos before the sun comes up over the mountain is totally different than after it’s up. It reminds me of the difference between black and white and color in those old movies that use that as an effect. The birds seem to come alive just after the sun is up as well. Neat! The late afternoon sun is wonderful,…wish you could see it for yourself, James. Thanks and happy December to you as well! 🙂

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