Sunday, September 25, 2011

Seen in the Garden: The Beginning of Autumn, 9/25/11

by Lynnda
View looking NW towards Kobe lantern, photo by Lynnda

I had a 12:30 public tour to lead today, and I thought I had left home in plenty of time to accommodate all the traffic snafus predicted for the day.  Fortunately, I had the gatehouse phone number saved in my cell phone and had to call twice to say I was stuck in traffic, but really, I was coming!  For the length of time sitting in traffic, fretting about being late,and the number of rain squalls that came and went while waiting to cross the Montlake Bridge, I was only 5 minutes late!  The Shedding Stone was in sight!  Tranquility will reign!

Doug Fir with Sapsucker holes, photo by Lynnda
Two couples were just entering the garden and I enticed them to take my tour.  The weather was on a rapid change schedule.  It was cloudy and threatening rain, minutes later the sun was shining and no clouds were visible!  Then there was a downpour but we were in the azumaya and enjoyed the sights and sounds from there. 

On the eastern path leading to the gardener's shed stands a Doug Fir that always intrigues me.  Horizontal holes are drilled throughout the trunk.  I had to ask my birder friend to identify who made these holes.  Her comment:  "A kind of woodpecker called a sapsucker makes those holes. They return over and over again for the sap and the bugs attracted to the holes! Other birds including hummingbirds also drink the sap!"  There are 3 uncommon species in our area and one common species, Red-breasted Sapsucker, according to The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America

As we walked around the garden, we were met with showers, torrents, sun shine and blue skies.  All within one hour!  There were ducks fighting with each other and with the koi, each trying to be the first to the fish food.  I was heartened to see some small koi still darting out from under the lilly pads.  Earlier this summer, I noticed their mouths weren't large enough for the small pellets of food.  They are now large enough to scoop up the food, but there are many fewer than a month ago.  Missing were sightings of all the turtles.  They must not have enjoyed the changing weather conditions!

Saucer Magnolia in Bloom, Photo by Lynnda
What a surprise to see a brightly colored bloom on the Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana) near the eastern wall.  Are the seasons confused?

Burning Bush, photo by Lynnda
There were signs that fall is approaching.  The Burning Bush or Winged Spindle Tree (Euonomus alata) is beginning to turn colors.  In a few more weeks, in time for the Maple Viewing Event (Oct. 16, 2011), the leaves should be a rich, dark red color.  Also beginning to change color are the leaves of the Korean Dogwood (Cornus kousa 'Chinensis').  The Ginko leaves are still green, so I'll have to come back in a few weeks to see their radiant golden color.

Korean Dogwood, photo by Lynnda

Visitors to the Garden from now to the close in November will see an evolving picture of autumn colors.  Each week will showcase added colors.  Be sure to come visit often.  Some of my most peaceful visits have been in the fall when there's light misting.  Come and see for yourself!


  1. What a beautiful and insightful post, Linnda! Ahhh... (sigh of satisfaction)

  2. same here, Keiko, thanks, Lynnda! that saucer magnolia is truly confused - it bloomed already in spring, and i have a photo proof... sapsucker! what a great word is that:)

  3. I thought the sapsucker had drilled holes in a Doug Fir, but that tree is actually a Chamaecyparis, also called a false cypress.

  4. A real fascinating scenery. Those were very wonderful, seeing your photos feels like I have already seen them. Nice experience and those plants were very beautiful.


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