Garden Photo of the Day

Fall in May’s garden on Vancouver Island

Rose 'Flower Carpet Pink' and burning bush (Euonymus alatus) on Oct 4.

Happy Monday, everyone! Today's photos are from one of our favorite GPODers, May Kald (GrannyMay)! We got a pre-fall post from her a little while ago (refresh your memory HERE), and today she's back with a little more. She says, "Here are some fall views of my garden to share. I was hoping for more colour before posting again, but so far this fall has been very warm and I'm certainly not going to complain about that! Lots of perennials and some of the roses are still pretending it is summer, while those plants that need cold weather to colour up are still waiting for their cues to strut their stuff.  Meanwhile, lots of things in the garden do look good, the Anna's hummingbirds are battling over the sugar water in their feeders, and Lacey keeps busy chasing the squirrels as they try to bury nuts and seeds everywhere. All of these photos are from October 4 to the 20.  The first photo is the rose 'Flower Carpet Pink' that climbs up the fence at the very front of my driveway. It absolutely loves this weather and is still blooming now, while behind it is the burning bush (Euonymus elatus), which normally steals the show with its flaming red leaves. The burning bush did redeem itself a couple of weeks later, but even now has not reached its full glory. If we do get some brilliant colours later, I can always send more photos!" Please do, May! Yours is one of the most beautiful fall gardens I've ever seen. Goregous!

SEND ME PICS OF YOUR GARDEN! Email me at [email protected]. Thanks! –Michelle

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Rose 'Flower Carpet Pink' and burning bush (Euonymus alatus) on Oct 20.  Also a yucca, rhododendrons, and climbing roses in the background.

A blue Hydrangea macrophylla, most of the flowers have turned pinky/brown but the leaves are still mainly green, edged with a darker band.

Part of a front border – central is a white Hydrangea macrophylla 'Incrediball', some lower flower clusters are white, the upper ones went brown.  This was its first year here and I was hoping it would go pink in the fall like the other white hydrangeas I have.  But the summer drought may have caused the brown.  The rhododendrons around it weren't happy to be dry either.

The same part of the border from the opposite side – in the centre is a Berberis thunbergii 'Rose Glow'. There is a chestnut tree and a dogwood in the background, both small and large-leaved rhododendrons, heathers, butterfly bush, and cotoneasters around.

The dogwood has yet to show much leaf colour, being mostly green. Still, it looks lovely beside Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow'

This is a small Stewartia pseudocamellia tree, tucked into an impossibly tiny spot, because I always wanted one.  Maybe one day I'll find a better home for it.

A view towards my house from the road end of the driveway.  I usually don't take this photo because the long wide gravel driveway dominates the scene.  Unable to change the driveway, I have encouraged grass, moss and anything else that is green, to grow on the gravel to minimize the barren expanse of grey. 

To the right of the driveway, under the birch clump is a new flowerbed that should look great next fall.  It has lots of tall grasses and late-blooming perennials such as Joe Pye weed, echinacea, rudbeckia, and some heathers and other shrubs.

This is the driveway side of my rock-garden, the stairs go to the front of the house.  The colourful maple is one that I started 22 years ago from maple keys that I picked up in the Japanese garden in Butchart Gardens.  I had no idea what sort of maple it might grow up to be and didn't care as all the maples in that area were lovely.  I'm very happy with it, though it might eventually grow too large for its spot.
Lacey surveys her domain from the front porch.  The front walk is getting covered (again!!) by heathers, hebes, boxwood, Hakone grass, lithodora, creeping phlox, and even weeds.  At the back, the big red maple is still mostly green, the smaller unknown Japanese maple is on the right.  
A male Anna's hummingbird sits on the red maple guarding the hummingbird feeder.  He does not like to share.  The Rufous hummingbirds have left to fly south, so he no longer has to be as vigilant.    

View Comments


  1. perenniallycrazy 10/24/2014

    Golly Gosh May! Your fall garden is entirely luscious. I think I shall visit you first before I head out to Butchart Gardens when I go to Vancouver Island. Sorry for inviting myself but your garden photos are so inviting, it's very difficult not to want to see it in person. To sweeten the pot, I'll bring you a surprise perennial from the Lower Mainland...

    1. GrannyMay 10/25/2014

      Cherry, I wasn't expecting this to be posted till Monday - thank you for letting me know. I've already said you are always welcome here..... please don't be disappointed when you see the real thing! I love it, but love it warts and all! If I won a lottery, things would be done quite a bit differently. I accept all garden gifts.

  2. user-1020932 10/24/2014

    May, i always get excited when i see it's your garden being featured and i am never ever disappointed. your garden is such a delight for the eyes and i'm sure in person it's even better if that's possible. i love everything about every photo

    1. GrannyMay 10/25/2014

      I was in the middle of a very long-winded reply to you Jeff, when I was cut off!!!! So now it will be shorter, 'cause I don't remember what I was saying.

      Though the results may not be apparent in these particular photos, I thank you and the other GPODers for inspiring me and for taking me out of my normal comfort zone in my choices for the garden. And for the chance to share our passion. My wallet does NOT thank you for all the money spent on succulents, especially the tender ones.

      1. user-1020932 10/25/2014

        my wallet also feels your pain, May, but those tender succulents i just can't resist! with the Agave all inside my house now it's a total danger zone in my office

  3. Nurserynotnordstroms 10/25/2014

    May your gardens look so good,but yes here in Seattle we are slow to color up as well. The big leaf maples are just beginning to turn yellow and my biggest Japanese maple hasn't even begun. Looks like you and I will all be cleaning our fall gardens late this year. I love the long shot from your front porch,with the red coleus in front and looking out to the maple in the far corner. It's composed beautifully. The birch you selected had the most interesting bark,we are currently looking at birches trying to make up our minds on which ones will be the best. It looks like you still have plenty of room for more beds and plants.......sigh.....we are running out of room,so we have begun landscaping the ravine in natives plants. Steep hard work. Thank you for the peek at your beautiful fall gardens!!
    Don't you hate it when you get kicked off in the middle of what you have written?and a tour of your gardens I'm sure would be a real treat.

    1. GrannyMay 10/26/2014

      Hi Seattle neighbour! Thanks for the
      compliments! Yes, it is a green fall for us all here. My normally brilliant
      favourites are still waiting too. I had even purchased a small Liquidambar tree
      and planted it in a container so I'd be able to enjoy its guaranteed reds.
      Ha! I think when we do our garden clean-ups we'll be raking green stuff and it
      won't be money.

      The birch clump is Weeping European Birch.
      I think the bark is so deeply furrowed because it has suffered from drought
      during most summers and then when it tries to expand, the bark cracks. Anyway,
      that is my theory. I've always loved the small leaves and weeping branches. It
      is very attractive to the Red-breasted Sapsucker, which does more damage to
      the bark. Poor tree.

      Well, we are now over the drought and
      getting plenty of rain. I hope that the big storm that is forecast for us
      Monday night only brings down leaves.

      1. Nurserynotnordstroms 10/26/2014

        I love the Sapsuckers(thanks for the photo),I try to plant for birds so that birch may be a good one to attract them. We had a bad bad storm last night 60 mile an hour winds,a lot of people lost power but we were lucky on our street. It looks like a war zone though limbs,leaves,pinecones and a lot of maple spinners(I think you called them keys?)fortunately we lost no trees in this one. We do have a couple of trees leaning in the ravine. I hope you don't get the same storm it was a bad one ,but our new roof seems to have done just fine it was a real test for leaks etc. I have spent more time looking at all of your other photos from the other blog posts and your gardens are really really nice and I enjoyed touring it on each post. I want to learn more about photography for my garden pictures(on my bucket list) what kind of camera do you recommend?well May I will keep my fingers crossed that the storm passes you by. And thanks for your reply!

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/27/2014

    Hi, May, I got such a smile when I saw how suavely color coordinated the Mister Anna's hummingbird was with the surrounding leaves...ha, it was like he was auditioning for Project Runway with his snazzy iridescent pinkish mauve hoodie! I'm as enthralled as Lacey with that splendid walkway to gaze upon. I love it when plants tiptoe out onto the hard surfaces and help create such natural undulations. Everything looks wonderful and I will so enjoy seeing theses pictures all over again with my morning coffee.

    1. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

      Thanks Michaele! I always look forward to reading your comments on GPOD. You find beautifully imaginative ways to describe what you see. You are an artist with words.

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/27/2014

    What a treat this morning, May. I feel like I am there because you've really captured your wonderful garden so well. I'm in love with your fuchsias and wish they were hardier!

    1. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

      Hi Tim. I'm glad you're not getting bored
      with seeing my garden yet again. Yes, the fuchsias always prove their worth at
      this time of year. I did add a few new varieties last year, but our weather
      last winter was hard on all the fuchsias and none of the new ones survived. The
      old established ones were killed back to ground level yet came back

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/27/2014

        Hi May! Definitely not bored! Gardens change so much; I think that is what makes them such great works of art. It's good to know that your fuchsias came back after dying to the ground. I have one, purported to be hardy to my zone 6, and the roots did survive this past, disastrous winter, but it came up really late and is barely six inches tall; just in time for our first frost coming at the end of this week. Maybe it will slowly establish itself enough for me to see some blooms in a few years! cheers!

        1. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

          Tim the F. magellanica is supposed to be hardy to zone 5. If I had known about them, I would have tried them when I lived in Ontario. I hope yours does survive and thrive.

  6. NCYarden 10/27/2014

    Good morning, May---ooo weee - love some Fall and it appears you're just slipping into the season there. Heck, you still have hummingbirds. Even here in NC my hummers are gone, certainly the regulars. Had a straggler (probably just passing through) last week who stopped by to sample and refuel on the late chaste tree blooms. A pleasant visit nonetheless, even if for just a moment. I really enjoy that view from your porch - I envy Lacey at the moment. The plants spilling into the walkway have created such cool soft curves - I love curves in the garden. And that large shallow leaf bowl for the frog sentinel is just great - it just fits in so well. Your fuchsias are amazing - sizes I don't think I will ever see in my garden. I did pick up a new one (at least new to me) this past week, Santa Claus fuchsia, for a new bed we built in the backyard. I have high hopes for this, well actually at this point just hope it survives the winter and demonstrates it really is going to be perennial. But nothing can compare to those huge ones you have, just beautiful... and loaded. Looking forward to more Fall updates as you breeze through the color variations.
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. sonjafeatherstone 10/27/2014

      What I love about your garden is it's so welcoming. I love your planning process, then to see the pleasure of the results. I'd love to ' swing by' to see the full on fall colours.

      1. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

        Hi Sonja, you're always welcome to 'swing by'. It is thanks to you that I have a lot of my favourites here. You deserve to see them out of their pots and growing!

    2. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

      Hello NC Yarden, thank you! It is lovely to
      be able to share photos and tips. I especially enjoyed pictorially
      visiting your garden last month.

      We are so lucky to have the Anna's
      hummingbird stay all winter. I hope that never changes. I keep the feeders
      from freezing by putting a floodlight underneath each one, several feet
      away. Just enough heat rises from those to keep the sugar water liquid - don't
      want the birds to burn their tongues! I wonder if the ricartonii fuchsias
      might work in your area if you give them a good thick winter mulch. They have
      survived our harshest conditions, once established. I lost a young F. Santa
      Claus last winter.

      1. NCYarden 10/27/2014

        The warming floodlight is a clever and practical idea. Genius, May.

        1. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

          Thanks. I put them out when I do the Christmas lights. that is where I got the idea from.

  7. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

    Thank you Diane! It is so nice to be able to share some parts of your garden while they are looking the way you hoped they would.

  8. greengenes 10/27/2014

    Hi May! Its great to see your gardens today! All the pictures are so inviting! I so enjoyed seeing the driveway and what you are trying to do. It looks great and it is a wonderful idea! The view from the front porch is so wonderful and iam sure Lacey is having a wonderful life there! Isnt it something how summer has dragged on and on. At our place all the maples seem to be less of color this year. Iam sure your place is wonderful at every season. From the barks of trees and evergreen rhodies there is year round interest! Thanks so much for sending these in! Iam going to look up the stewartia. I think trees are my favorite of the garden! Is that a huge rhodie in your front yard? Gorgeous!

    1. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

      Good morning Jeanne. Warning - once you see a
      Stewartia pseudocamellia, you'll be hooked. One of the things I like most
      about living in the Pacific North West is the chance to enjoy the garden all
      year round and the abundance of broadleaf evergreens. I think I went a little
      overboard with those when I moved here from southern Ontario. I now have lots
      of mature Rhododendrons and Pieris, one huge Camellia and other smaller
      broadleaf evergreens. Love the green, blossoms are a bonus!

      1. greengenes 10/27/2014

        Hi GrannyMay! So are you saying that the stewartia is an evergreen? It has camellia in the name so maybe? I so love rhodederons because of the evergreen and they seem so happy all the time. Something I have been thinking about is just how short our time is and if I want to see a tree at our house in its prime I will be dead. I know that sounds weird but I have been realizing that a lot of the "old gardeners" wernt looking for the immediate satisfaction of trees but they had a vision of the future for others! I sometimes feel so selfish... so I am know setting my vision in part, so others can enjoy the future. But I think my children wouldn't appreciate the plantings as much as I. Iam going to be 60 so maybe iam being a little weird about it all. All I know is iam enjoying seeing yours and others gardens, being inspired and looking to do something new. I really appreciate you photos and the quality of the pictures. Oh, and I must say that your euonymus is going to be gorgeous! You know..i have had them for 7 years and mine have never turned color! So this last spring I gave them away! They were large and beautifully shaped but I wanted the color in the fall time. Weird, huh! Well back to outside before it rains! Thanks again for sharing! Its all so beautiful!

        1. greengenes 10/27/2014

          Oh, and are you going to the garden show in seattle this year? If so what days? I sure would like to meet up with you and others that might be there. Would there be a day that we could all meet and visit? I know that Nurserynotnordstrom wont be able to be there on Saturday. But iam so flexable to whatever works for others...

          1. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

            I would love to go to the Seattle garden show again. I'm not sure at this point whether that will be possible. It would be great to have a meeting of GPODers. We have a few months yet to get organized.

        2. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

          A couple of quick answers - no, the Stewartia is not evergreen. Just gorgeous in all seasons. I too regret not planting more trees right away. If you're only going to be 60, you should be able to see trees put on some really nice growth before your time should be up!

        3. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

          Were your's Euonymus alatus, known as the Burning Bush? If they were, maybe they didn't get the right conditions. The shaded side of mine is the last to get colour, so maybe too shady a spot?

  9. GrannyCC 10/27/2014

    Hi May thank you for the breathe of Fall colour and beautiful plants on this dull and rainy morning. I always enjoy your photos but best of all I enjoy visiting and seeing it all first hand.

    1. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

      Hi Catherine, I enjoy walking around my garden or yours and seeing what is happening. Waiting to see you post some photos of yours too!

  10. thevioletfern 10/27/2014

    Unbelievably beautiful garden! I love that you hate your driveway - I hate mine, too, because it is way too large for the space. I love that you can let things grow in yours. Mine is blacktop but I have ajuga growing in the cracks and lo gro sumac growing over it. Of course, mint grows right through it - sort of a miscalculation on my part. Oh, I miss the hummingbirds already - it is so great that you have them this time of year. Do they stay year round there? You have such fabulous combinations of shrubs and trees - dogwoods are one of my favorites!

    1. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

      Thank you Kathy! Sometime we just have to
      accept what its there, don't we. I wonder if you could put some really large
      permanent or semi-permanent planters on your driveway to reduce it's
      impact? Or even cluster groups of smaller containers in season. I don't know
      where you live but mint can be a real problem in a lot of areas, so I wouldn't
      let that take over. I recently saw a mobile garden planted into a truck bed and
      old wheelbarrows are often featured as somewhat mobile planters as well. Yes,
      amazingly the Anna's Hummingbirds stay all year round. I don't know how they
      manage when we have heavy snow and cold, though I do keep 2 feeders filled for
      them to help a bit.

      1. greengenes 10/27/2014

        GrannyMay there is a really cool book to read this winter when our days are dark and dreary.. Its about this lady on the east coast who lived on this island and she had a few humming birds who were at her gardens. It is such an inspiring book about gardening. She was guite a lady! Dabbling in a lot of art stuff and Poetry!!! The name of the book is ..."An Island Garden" By Celia Thaxter. The person who illustrated it is Childe Hassam. It is something that pulls you back in time. I love it so.. Hopefully you would enjoy it, too!

        1. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

          That does sound like a great book to enjoy during our rainy days. One that I enjoyed when it first came out and still reread for fun, is "Tottering in My Garden" by Midge Ellis Keeble. She writes with a great sense of humour and though it is a memoir, it provides good, helpful gardening information as well. Back in 1989, before the internet could answer all your questions instantly, books like this were treasures.

          1. greengenes 10/27/2014

            Wow...I will get the book! It sounds great...if u want 2 communicate more you can email me at [email protected].......thanks M@y!

  11. DarliBarli 10/27/2014

    May's garden is so very lovely..and so is her dog! Tahnks for sharing these images with us, May!!

    Darlene White

    1. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

      Lacey and I thank you, Darlene!

  12. christianesterges 10/27/2014

    Touring your garden is like being on holiday .... you just enjoy and forget everything else ....

    1. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

      I'm so glad you enjoy it. Thank you!

  13. jeannetrimble 10/27/2014

    Beautiful garden May!! I adore the shot of the humming bird. The colors are lovely and so is Lacey! Great job!

    1. GrannyMay 10/27/2014

      Thank you Jeanne! It was most accommodating of the hummingbird to choose the perfect spot.

  14. Luvfall 10/27/2014

    Lovely. Everything has grown together in perfect harmony. It looks like you have a large leaf rhododendron trimmed into a tree shape. That may be a solution for one I have that is getting too big for its space. Any tips on pruning?

    1. GrannyMay 10/28/2014

      Hi Luvfall, the nice thing about staying in
      one place for 22 years is that you get to see your garden mature.
      Unfortunately, there are some shrubs and trees that have grown too large for
      their spots during that time. Most plant tags give you a 10 year size. I now
      know that a lot of plants continue to grow both taller and wider than that 10
      year description. The rhododendron you refer to is R. "Unique". I thought I
      had picked the right rhododendron for that space, one that I would never have to
      prune. Wrong!! Fortunately rhododendrons can be pruned in many ways, depending
      on your preference and particular location. You can keep cutting off new growth
      (after flowering is a good time), making a shorter bushy plant. You can "renew"
      an old overgrown plant by cutting it way back, though you'll have to wait,
      probably a year, for new growth to mature to get blooms again. And, you can let
      it grow as tall as it wants and just remove lower and side branches to make
      it skinnier. Rhododendrons can also be moved relatively easily unless they have
      become huge. Hope this helps with yours.

  15. terieLR 10/27/2014

    May's October gardens are divine! As beautiful as your remaining flowers are, there is nothing like Autumn's foliage. The variety in your gardens make my eyes dance. May, you really know how to capture the settings and your dog is superb.

    1. GrannyMay 10/28/2014

      Thank you Terie!

  16. janeeliz 10/28/2014

    May, your fall garden is luscious! So many beautiful textures, colors, depth. And to think it isn't even at its peak yet! It's been warm here in Maine too...too warm to put my garden to bed. Seeing your garden in all its glory makes me determined to wait longer and enjoy every moment of fall's beauty. That hummingbird is so sweet!

    1. GrannyMay 10/28/2014

      Thank you Jane! I so agree that we might as well enjoy the warmth this fall and delay putting things away until Mother Nature tells us we should.

  17. Meelianthus 10/28/2014

    Hello May ~ I'm a bit late here but wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the stroll thru your Fall gardens - beautiful, beautiful. Your groupings of trees, bushes, perennials, and annuals
    are really breathtaking. I love the walkway off your front porch - and your dog ^_^ You are right about staying on one property for a long time. The rewards are just that - rewarding.
    Thanks for taking all to your gardens once again, I always enjoy.

    1. GrannyMay 10/28/2014

      Meelianthus, when I see the photos of your gardens they always gladden my heart and inspire me. Thank you! Though it is good to have rain again in this area, I hope the coming stormy months will be gentle with us.

  18. sheila_schultz 10/28/2014

    May, your gardens in the fall are a textural dreamland... and the subtle oranges and reds make everything pop. Wow! I'm also not sure I can wait until next year for your new flowerbed with the birch clump, just so you know ;)

    1. GrannyMay 10/28/2014

      Hi Sheila, I'm so glad you approve of the look right now. We'll just have to imagine right now and see next year how close the reality comes to the dream. Anticipation is a major part of the fun!

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