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October In The Foothill Garden

Walking around the garden here in the foothills of Central California, I feel we’re really nearing the end of the gardening season. I’m tired. Tired of watering and ready to rake everything, gather up the rest of the clippings that neaten the garden and come in for some rainy days.

I may be dreaming. If I remember last year, we had mild weather, requiring me to continue watering until November and the first frost was not until December. At least the garden left is cheery and colorful…what a bonus. To have planned for deer resistant Fall color in the garden is a joy. Here is the color at the first week of October:

Pineapple sage and Rudbeckia

Pineapple sage and Rudbeckia…what a color combination!

Pineapple sage grows tall

Pineapple sage grows tall from two 4″ pots!

Last of the roses

Last of the Iceberg roses

I’m able to grow two climbing roses against the house on the south side. It’s so narrow there with a steep bank that I believe the deer just don’t like the looks of the place and leave these alone. Icebergs are reputed to bloom all Summer and Fall and they do.

Patio containers needing clean up

Patio containers needing clean up…time to change them all.

A Western bluebird visits  along with a brood of tiny offspring

A Western bluebird visits along with a brood of tiny offspring

I had thought the tiny birds I was seeing were our titmouses, but after looking closer at the flocks and flocks of babies, I saw their distinctive blue feathers….baby bluebirds!

Icy blue Artemisia and Lamb's Ear glisten

Icy blue Artemisia and Lamb’s Ear glisten

The Lamb’s ear begins to thrive in the cooler weather this month and looks well with the feathery artemisia, being the same color but different textures. I remove the flower stalks each summer… I don’t like them that much. I’ve found that where ever you lay the seed-filled stalks, more plants easily grow, so as I cut them, I lay them down along path edges.

Mountain view

Mountain view

All non natives will be removed from the CA native meadow this month, bit by bit

All non natives will be removed from the CA native meadow this month, bit by bit

This year, I continue to water the meadow, mainly for the sake of the perennials now planted around the edges. Also, I became tired of the weedy look of the Fall meadow. I had to weedeat the dry plants and leftover flowers, it was messy and I wanted a more green garden look. Once a week water was all it needed for about a half hour with a sprinkler or handwatering.

 Fall cleanup in the meadow

Fall cleanup in the meadow

I’ve been clipping, trimming and weeding the meadow area, collecting the trimmings for the compost pile or burn pile. Often I clip and drop the clippings as I go and those become mulch or they reseed. Bad weeds go in a plastic trash bag to get off the property!

Autumn sage pops with color

Rose pink Autumn sage pops with color.

Plant two colors together for maximum impact. I counted and possess more than 20 Autumn sage,…shows how much I enjoy them.

Salvia greggii 'Mesa Azure'

Salvia greggii ‘Mesa Azure’ is my favorite color for sage. I can’t quite describe it!

The Autumn garden

The Autumn garden glows in morning backlighting.

Mimulus auranticus 'Butter Cup'

Mimulus auranticus ‘Butter Cup’

This little mimulus bloomed again this week! A few years ago, I vowed to plant one next to every Cleveland sage I have, since they bloom at the same time and go so well together in color.

Monkey flower, Mimulus alatus 'Curious Orange'

Monkey flower, Mimulus alatus ‘Curious Orange’

Monkey flowers are little known but are perfect for our climate and conditions. They need little water.

Salvia greggii 'Rose Pink'.

Salvia greggii ‘Rose Pink’.

Fall is primetime for Autumn sage which blooms off and on through the summer. The incredible flush of color is just what we need when bloom is sparse elsewhere.

Tomatoes to be frozen

Tomatoes to be frozen

Last year I was picking tomatoes until December it was so mild. Whole tomatoes can be washed and popped in Zip-locs to be frozen. Tomato soups and sauces can be made for the Winter. I don’t bother to peel them but cut out the stem ends and blend in the food processor or blender. Easy! If you add a few peppers either sweet or hot it’s doubly delicious!

The birdbath is the birds' community center

The birdbath is the birds’ community center

Soon, we hope the rains will come. I’ll be changing out these patio pots from Zinnias and fading Mums to Pansies, violas, Johnny Jumps-ups and snap dragon. All of these will survive through the snow and chill, believe it or not,…until next May!

My Fall container in the entry,...the back door entry for my good friends!

My Fall container in the entry…the back door entry for my good friends!

This rustic galvanized container is filled with Japanese blood grass, a purple chrysanthemum, yellow and orange gazanias and pink snapdragons, all perennials and all deer resistant in my garden.

For more information about gardening in the foothills, visit

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