Fall’s Balls

Bowling Ball and Nandina
Bowling Ball and Nandina

One of my main elements of design is mixing round, spike, and frill shapes. When nothing else works, I often add “non plant” materials to fulfill one of the shapes – including rocks, containers, even the occasional bowling ball.

I have a handful of shrubs pruned into tight meatball or gumdrop shapes, if for nothing else than to show neighbors that I actually know how to do it in my otherwise naturalistic cottage garden. When a large yaupon holly tree on a property line got whacked by a neighbor, I got even by turning it into a three-ball poodle plant.

Yaupon Poodle and bottle tree (1)
Yaupon Poodle and bottle tree

Anyway, while knocking around the garden and neighborhood in early November I collected quite a few roundish Autumn fruits and laid them on a bed of maple leaves collected from the garden of Mississippi author Eudora Welty and accessorized with flowers of “country girls” (‘Clara Curtis’) and a couple other hardy garden mums (Chrysanthemum x rubellum).

See if you can match the names of these “passalong” heirloom and native fruits with their image:

Fall's Balls resized
Autumn Fruits, Mississippi 2018

Pomegranate, sweetgum , Oriental persimmon, native persimmon, chayote or mirliton (Sechium edule), Pyracantha, Nandina, pecan, air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera),  contorted hardy orange (Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’), American beautyberry, ‘Callaway’ crabapple, osage orange (Maclura pomifera), bird’s eye pepper (chile pequin), toadstool, red buckeye, and mango melon or “vine peach” (Cucumis melo variety chito)…

Poison Ivy and other Autumn Favs

Posion ivy has gorgeous fall colors
Poison ivy has among the most gorgeous fall colors

Autumn is a reflective time, a slow page-swipe from sultry, busy summer.

As the day length slowly dwindles and nights get cooler, fall wildflowers light up the countryside, and even poison ivy’s fall colors appear to be red and yellow flames licking up into trees. Where friends have patio fireplaces fueled from gas cannisters, my old iron fire bowl is the real deal, replete with smoke that takes me back to days far more ancient than my childhood.

Chores are more earnest now, with fallen leaves heaping everywhere in need of raking or blowing into a mounded kaleidoscope of colorful foliage.

They’ve been there all along, the sometimes-brilliant hues of Autumn. But as Summer wanes, green leaves of deciduous trees start shutting down, revealing the underlying blushes. Continue reading “Poison Ivy and other Autumn Favs”