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Life is not about surviving the storm.  It’s learning how to dance in the rain. – Taylor Swift
 
 
Boy, this quote pretty much sums up my life these days. I’ll explain in a moment. 

In my previous newsletter, I mentioned that I spent the summer in NYC.  Oh, what gardens I saw!  The memories of those gardens will last a lifetime, with my top three favorites being the Highline, Heather Garden and Central Park’s Conservatory Garden . Please take a look at them – they’ll give you plenty to dream about during the colder months that lie ahead, including tips on how you can introduce some of their magical qualities in your own garden.

Shortly after returning home, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  And while it’s a highly treatable type (HER2+) it’s also very aggressive, requiring immediate chemotherapy for the next few months.  Hence, the storm in my life.  The ‘learning how to dance’ part of the quote has been something of a silver lining to this crisis.  After the initial shock, it became clear to me that while this is an unfortunate setback, the downtime forced upon me by the side effects of chemotherapy has given me a most blessed gift – time to reflect.

I’ve spent hours, exhausted beyond belief, sitting in my garden quietly observing.  Observing the wildlife that comes and goes, observing my garden’s rapidly changing shift in season, observing fall’s slanted sunlight and the interesting shadows it creates.  Normally this is the time of year when I’m spending every spare moment in my garden, tidying up for fall, spreading mulch, last minute divisions, etc.  So you can see what an untended gift this is, to just sit and appreciate my garden.

Not to sound too corny, but in a way I’ve fallen back in love with my garden.  Not that I ever really fell out of love, but over the years I think I’ve forgotten just how much my garden means to me, and am forever grateful for the comfort it offers in times of stress. 

I hope you all have a beautiful fall season and find the time to spend in your own garden.

Warmly – Rebecca 
 

Growing in My Garden 

In the fall, my garden experiences a second wave of color coming not only from fall’s blazing foliage, but also from late blooming perennials.  Here’s a few of my favorites:

Fairy Lily (Zephranthes candida)
USDA Zones 7-10
 
The crisp white flowers of this late blooming bulb never fail to elicit ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from visitors to my garden.  Thriving in sun or part shade, it’s somewhat drought tolerant, but add a bit of water and watch it explode into months of blooms.  The evergreen foliage resembles a tidy mound of grass, making it ideal for the front of the border.  
 

European Cranberry Bush (Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum) 
USDA Zones 3-8

The ruby red foliage of this viburnum is hands-down some of the showiest in my fall garden.  A large beauty, growing to 10′ x 12′,  it’s happy in sun to part shade, making it the star at the back of my border.  To see how I use this indispensable color throughout my garden, click here

Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus)

USDA Zones 9-11

The cheery red flowers glow against the bright green foliage of this late summer perennial.  Evergreen in mild climates, it will grow to a towering 10′ or more in full to part sun.  It’s edible, too, with the flowers and berries producing a lovely pink color in tea or lemonade.

Cigar Plant (Cuphea ignea)

USDA Zones 9-12

Between this and my Turk’s Cap above, the hummingbirds are zipping around in pure heaven. One of my go-to perennials, cuphea provides months and months of delicate flowers (and nectar) from summer until the first frost.  

 

Garden Tips

Repurposed Plant Tags 

What to do with those bent or outdated mini-blinds?  Instead of throwing them away, here’s a simple way to repurpose them as plant tags.

Just cut them to size, rounding the corners on one end (they can be sharp!) and creating a point on the other (to stick easily in the ground). 

A Sharpie pen works best for labeling.  For a few more creative repurposing projects for the garden, click here
 
Can Green Tomatoes Turn Red?
In milder climates tomato plants can keep on producing until the first frost.

But as you’ve most likely noticed, the quality of those tomatoes aren’t exactly like the ones you get in July.  But hey – they’re still better than nothing, right?

Click here for a fantastic article about how to salvage those last few tomatoes, as well as how to tell if your green tomatoes will ripen (or not.)
 

Where you can find me

Thank heavens that even though I’ve had to pare down my schedule until I’m feeling better, I’m still able to speak at the following garden club and botanical societies.  

If you’re in town please consider attending as I’d love to say hi!  

 

HAPPY VALLEY GARDEN CLUB 

November 3, 2014 at 10:00 Am
Topic: Refresh Your Garden Design
3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd

Lafayette, CA

 

MODESTO GARDEN CLUB 

November 13, 2014 at 12:00 pm
Topic: Refresh Your Garden Design
One Church (formerly Bethel Church)
2361 Scenic Drive
Modesto, CA

SAN DIEGO HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY

January 12, 2015, Time TBD
Surfside Race Place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds


2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd

Del Mar, CA 92014

Have you heard?

This is a sweet little succulent-topped pumpkin that my good friend Laura Balaoro gave me – isn’t it the cutest thing?  Not just for Halloween, these pumpkins look beautiful on the Thanksgiving table, lasting for months at a time with minimal upkeep.

If you live in the Bay Area, you’re in luck!  Laura teaches classes on how to make your own – just Click here

If you don’t live in the area, you’re still in luck!  Last year I taught a class to some fantastic Master Gardeners and have written my own instructions here.


I’ve discovered a wonderful blog that I wanted to share with you called Working The Earth.

I’m particularly fond of this article about the author’s longtime love of rocks.  As gardeners, I think we can all relate.

I also wanted to share with you my favorite source of pottery, fountains and garden furniture - Eye of the Day Garden Design.

I’ve used several of their pieces in different gardens (that’s one of them in the photo) and can’t recommend them enough.  

They’ve also recently created an inspirational Look Book filled with one gorgeous garden after another that I’m sure you’ll want to see. Click here to take a look.
 

Special offer for my readers

I don’t want to scare you all, but now that Halloween’s upon us, the holiday season is right around the corner. 

And what would the holidays be without at least a small token of my appreciation? I’m so grateful for all of you who have purchased my book that I’d like to offer a signed bookplate to anyone who’d like one.
 
What’s a book plate?  A book plate is simply a peel-and-stick decorative label that you place inside the book.  Author-signed book plates add value to a book and are a lovely way to make a gift book special.  If you’d like one, please send me a note, along with the recipient’s name, as well as your address and I’ll quickly mail it right back to you.

Well, that’s it for now.  Until next time, I wish you a most beautiful fall season! – Rebecca
 

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