Friday, October 26, 2007


With Fall in full glory I often keep my perspective looking out or up enjoying all the colour on the trees and shrubs. But the other day while looking down I discover a nice surprise right before my feet. The above photo is of fallen leaves on my deck. The leaves randomly found their way to this outdoor living space and created a beautiful collage of texture and form. The leaves belong to several large potted maples that are on the deck and natures placement was perfect. In studying it I really felt this would make a great photo for hanging or maybe a pattern for a textile like wallpaper or fabric.
The leaves belong to Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum ' ( the brown leaves), Acerpalmatum 'Sango Kaku' (the yellow leaves), and Acer palmatum 'unknown hybridus' ( the red leaves).

This picture really made me think and realize how nature influences so many things we surround ourselves with. From furniture to textiles, paint colours to interiors, the list is endless.

Nature is the best designer I know.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


The next few posts will feature the beautiful fall colour in the area. In the Northwest (especially in the Sound area) we don't have the Autumn colour like that of the Northeast. But we do get some beautiful Fall foliage, and it's generously accented with our abundant evergreens and conifers.

For many, Fall is a time trepidation. Some people hate to see the lengthening shadows of Autumn, knowing that the sun is slowly retreating to the South, bathing gardeners below the equator with longer days. Others know that Winters grip will soon be upon us. We all can recall recent cold Winters were the garden lies dormant, and we wait anxiously for the Springs warming sunshine. For me, I love Fall. I love sweaters and warm layers of clothing. I love the crisp chilly air and my nose being cold. I love sitting by a fire with loved ones drinking coffee ( the main liquid refreshment of this Seattle area) or cocoa and sharing the days goings on. I love to be able to make pot roasts, soups, stews and other meals that warm the body and heart. I love to bake and enjoy sweet goodies and not worry about heating up the house with the oven. I love flannel and corduroy and leather jackets and all fall clothing. I love all the new plant catalogs that are arriving daily, seeing whats new in plants and seeds. I love Fall bulbs, and know for me they can be a real addiction. I love Autumn leaves on the road and with a gentle breeze watch them dance across the it. And I especially love Fall leaves. It is truly amazing to see a leaf start out green and transform into a myriad of the most incredible colours.

Autumn is a wonderful time of year. Lets all enjoy the beauty of the season and savor all it has to offer.

The above photos are of some of the views from my backyard. Through out the year, and especially in Autumn, the clouds condense and squeeze against the mountains to the East while to the West it is clear. Giving me many evening where rays of the setting sun high light the Cottonwoods, Alders, and Conifers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


In a second installment of "pairings" I wanted to focus more on foliage combinations. Flowers are an integral part of a garden but I really do love foliage combinations because they look good for the greater part of the year.
Unfortunately it is getting late in the season and much of the garden is starting to head towards it's Winter slumber. I don't have many shots and these were actually taken several weeks ago, but their are still some that I thought were of value.
I apologize about the length between posts. I have been busy with company and with tucking the garden in for the season. Here's wishing you all the best of Autumn.

Helictotrichon sempervirens, Iris foetidissima varigata, and Sedum spectabile 'Brilliant'

Spirea japonica 'Magic Carpet' and Berberis thunbergii 'Rose Glow'

Stachys byzantina and Lamium galeaobdolon 'Hermann's Pride'

Monday, October 08, 2007


Autumn has arrived in Northwest with the typical cool rain and wind. Between storms we Northwest gardeners work feverously to clean up what we can. There is cutting down the perennials, weeding, putting down mulch, all the the traditional chores of seasonal climate gardening.
While working today I spotted the Hardy Cyclamens in bloom. I've had these for a number of years and they always delight me when I see them in colour. They are nestled beside several of the hydrangeas in the yard, actually somewhat hidden unless one was looking, and are very sweet and delicate in colour and form. Furnished with a soft fragrance somewhat reminiscent of old fashion violets, they bloom in late Fall till early Winter. There are many species, several that bloom other times of the year, but mine I believe is Cyclamen hederifolium a late season bloomer.
The blossoms make their appearance first followed by beautiful foliage. The leaves are uniquely marbled with silver and different shades of green and they alone make this bulb worthy of a place in any garden. Being one of the most reliable Hardy Cyclamen, it has been even known to show great vigor and reseed.
C. hederifolium is considered one of the most cold tolerant of Cyclamens easily handling temperatures to Zone 3 (-40c).

Like Crocus in Spring or the Hardy Cyclamen in Fall it is often these small charming bulbs that enamour us so when the weathers chilly.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


As many of the Summer annuals begin to decline and Springs colour is long gone its nice to count on a few garden troopers who energetically bloom until the first frost. One plant I count on is a newer plant to gardens these days --- Calibrachoa (Million Bells). Gaining popularity in the last 5 years and not really showing up at the nurseries until the mid 90's, Calibrachoa is fast becoming a trend plant.

It comes in a myriad of colours and has the look of a diminutive petunia. In fact many botanist don't see enough difference in it to give it it's own separate genus. Because of it's small stature it has become the darling of mixed hanging baskets as well as window boxes and has the added benefit of the long blooming period, crescendoing in Autumn.
Calibrachoa is not only for container gardening. It works well in between other fall bloomers like Asters, Mums, Ornamental Cabbage and Kale, and Autumnal foliage in the mixed borders. Personally I prefer it where it can cascade out of urn or hanging basket. This way you can really see how it got it's common name 'Million Bells'. Even garden designers have taken note of this plant. Using it in Autumn colours and incorporating it with branches, fall foliage, pumpkins, gourds in large urns making a festive and spectacular presentation greeting guests at the front door. You can see that it really has many uses.

Calibrachoe is self cleaning, meaning you don't have to dead head, likes full sun and responds well to bi-monthy applications of a mild all purpose fertilizer. It is actually considered a perennial in very warm climates but is generally grown as an annual in most gardens.

I have created a new look for BOBSGARDEN.COM. In addition to having larger print to make it easier to read I have acquired some new software for my photography. I'm resizing them to where they will boot up quicker for you all. I hope you enjoy the new changes, BOB