Garden Photo of the Day

The Beauty Continues in PA

By Kim Charles

Shifting seasons in John & Rhonda's PA garden

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"As you can see, the Ilex winterberry is coming on as the acer 'dissectum ' is on the wane. The roses are still blooming as the Christmas lights are in place on the arbor. The beech tree has been beautiful against the blue October sky.  Tyler Weiss' koi are going for their last swim of the season. The black berries on the crocosmia are a late treat. We have some new garden art from the Biltmore garden shop. You can see the euonymus through the rose trellis next to the back door. The nandina are coming along nicely. The orange of the witch hazel is always welcome, and our new coral bark maple is settling in for winter. I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful season!"



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  1. frankgreenhalgh 11/22/2016

    Hello there Rhonda and John - Great to see your post today. What an impressive water feature/course, and that beech is a ripper specimen! Your 'floramania' shines through guys. Also love the bird art feature, and what we call a post and rail fence.

    OK Rhonda, I'm going to show my ignorance now - What are Tyler Weiss koi? My guess is something to do with visual effects/virtual fish - anything to do with those reddish objects on the water in pic. 4????

    Yesterday the temperature was 100 degrees F here, but today only 60F, and the strong wind change with rainfall (wetting the large amount of pollen in the air) last evening created a serious outbreak of thunderstorm asthma in Melbourne (pharmacies actually sold out of Ventolin and hospitals were overwhelmed). The extremes in weather make it challenging for the community and test the resilience of our gardens. Best wishes from Oz my friend (hope that is not too presumptuous of me, Rhonda).

    1. user-4691082 11/22/2016

      Good morning, my friend! Tyler Weiss is an artist from Maine, who has a website called "fish in the garden". I'll encourage you to check him out, and then you can see the koi in detail! I'm so sorry to hear about your bad weather and subsequent asthma attacks. People don't realize that asthma can be deadly. Hope everyone recovers! Thanks for your kind words!

      1. frankgreenhalgh 11/22/2016

        I will do my homework, Rhonda. Unfortunately, there were 2 fatalities as a result of the thunderstorm asthma. Many of the people affected had never suffered from the condition previously.

        1. Chris_N 11/22/2016

          Looked up Tyler Weiss and all I got was a hockey player! Discovered it's Tyson Weiss. Website Fun stuff. Not so fun is this crazy weather we seem to be having worldwide.

          1. frankgreenhalgh 11/22/2016

            Thanks a lot Chris for the website. Unfortunately, it may well be that extremes in weather will be the norm as a result of climate change. In Australia, it is expected to be generally warmer and drier in the future, but with extreme weather events. Creates all sorts of problems for us humans and for agriculture and of course gardening. Cheers, Frank

          2. Chris_N 11/23/2016

            Our President elect has stated that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese to negatively affect US growth. A BBC report I heard recently said many Chinese also think climate change is a hoax but one perpetuated by the US and western European countries and aimed at China. Clearly, it ain't no hoax but all sorts of things are being negatively affected.

          3. frankgreenhalgh 11/23/2016

            Hi Chris - Yes I'm fully aware of the position of your President elect on climate change. I won't comment on your political situation at the moment since I went too far immediately after your election and upset some GPODers - for which I apologise profusely. Greatly appreciate your comment though. Cheers mate

          4. frankgreenhalgh 11/22/2016

            They are really cool Chris.

        2. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/22/2016

          That is quite terrible, Frank. I'm sorry to hear about this. I guess there are things all over the world of which I've never heard, but still find myself shocked. I always think of rain clearing the air-although resulting mold and mildew can cause much-less-life-threatening allergic reactions here (and probably everywhere).

          1. frankgreenhalgh 11/22/2016

            Thanks for your kind comments Tim. The weather is crazy here. It is now cold and raining heavily. I have just lit the wood fire for warmth. Cheers, Frank

    2. sheila_schultz 11/22/2016

      I've never heard of thunderstorm asthma, it sounds incredibly dreadful. No more complaining about spring pollen issues in our neck of the woods! Geez...

      1. frankgreenhalgh 11/22/2016

        Hi Sheila - Thanks for your concern. Fortunately, thunderstorm asthma is not common, but evidently Melbourne is more prone to this phenomenon than other locations in Australia. When we have hot days In late spring the northerly winds bring the warmth from inland areas of the country and they pick up grass pollen grains (especially from rye grass) from pastures etc. closer to Melbourne. Grass pollen is too large to enter the lower airways of people. However, thunderstorms under these conditions wet the grass pollen and it ruptures releasing starch granules which contain a major allergen, and this is able to enter the lower airways inducing serious asthmatic reactions.

        The amazing thing was that people who have never had an asthma attack were affected as well as those who had a history of asthma. You can imagine how folks reacted to their first asthma attack.

        Cheers, Frank

        1. sheila_schultz 11/22/2016

          I'm saying this delicatly... Holy Crap!

          1. frankgreenhalgh 11/23/2016

            we are talking the same language now, Sheila. Unfortunately, another person has now died due to the thunderstorm asthma attack.

        2. User avater
          LindaonWhidbey 11/23/2016

          Wow, Frank, that's serious. I hope you're staying indoors. Thanks for the well wishes for Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. It's all about family and food. Does OZ have a similar holiday?

          1. frankgreenhalgh 11/23/2016

            Hello Linda - we don't have a special holiday for family and food, but enjoy both all year round. We have a holiday for the Melbourne cup horse race instead - strange lot aren't we! The high hazard period for thunderstorm asthma passed quickly. We were away from our Melb. home and down at Metung when the storm struck. However, our grandson was slightly affected by the outbreak and couldn't stop coughing. Been removing a lovely gum tree (Eucalyptus sideroxylon) between our place and the neighbour because of the risk of a limb or the whole tree falling on her bedroom - she couldn't sleep during windy nights. So unfortunately the lovely tree had to go. Cheers, Frank

            PS - GPODers are fantastic communicators and have great empathy for others. Love this group.

          2. User avater
            meander_michaele 11/23/2016

            Always so sad to see a mature tree have to come down first! Looks like a job that could work up a big appetite.

          3. frankgreenhalgh 11/23/2016

            Hi Michaele - I certainly didn't like removing the tree, but gums can drop their large branches (e.g. due to termites moving right up the centre of the tree) and can actually be blown out of the soil when it is very wet and there are strong winds. A couple of healthy large gum trees near us have been blown over recently, and have ended up as fire wood for me (see pic). The simple fact is that we didn't want to push our luck any further. I'll certainly be working up more than an appetite. Cheers, Frank

            PS. Just heard that a 4th person has died due to the thunderstorm asthma - terrible news.

          4. User avater
            meander_michaele 11/23/2016

            Now that's a firewood pile! Hope you had a crew and splitting equipment to produce that impressive haul. Do you do a lot of wood burning? I guess not for this time of year for you. Just did a little reading about Eucalyptus certainly produces dainty looking flowers. They remind me of mimosa flowers but the mimosa tree does not get large or substantial like your gum tree
            That is such a shame about the deaths from thunderstorm asthma.

    3. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 11/22/2016

      Good morning, Frank. As Sheila said, I also have never heard of this. Is it caused from pollen or dust and pollen combined? I know that in some of our larger cities, they report on air quality and tell people with breathing issues to stay indoors when it's bad but I think that entails other pollutants in the air. Take care and best for improved conditions.

      1. frankgreenhalgh 11/22/2016

        Hi Linda - Thank you for your concern. Fortunately, thunderstorm asthma is not common, but gave a large number of people and medical professionals in Melbourne a bad experience the other evening. See comments I forwarded to Sheila concerning the unique circumstances causing the outbreak. Best wishes for your Thanksgiving celebrations

  2. user-3565112 11/22/2016

    All of your photos are terrific & your beech tree alone is cover worthy. I bet any arborist would be proud to have that photo as a logo.
    I hope you & everyone else has on GPOD a great thanksgiving.
    Good luck, Joe

    1. user-4691082 11/22/2016

      Thank you, Joe. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  3. thevioletfern 11/22/2016

    Beautiful, wonderful! Our splendid autumn show came to a very abrupt end two days ago. My winterberries are long gone to the birds but that's okay with me. I love your new garden art! The Beech is superb and I wish I had room to plant one!

    1. user-4691082 11/22/2016

      The beech was given to us as a housewarming gift 25 years ago. I had to plant it where it did not interfere with the septic system. We have had terrible wind for the last 72 hrs. It finally seems to be slowing down. Thank you for your kind words!

  4. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/22/2016

    I absolutely love beech. Sadly, I have none in my yard but down the back road there is a place of several hundred acres of mixed forest. Beeches dominate and when we think they have all turned we go down there and ride through just taking them all in. Love all you have done.
    BTW, I went back and looked at your spring plantings. Everything is beautiful. How much land do you garden on?

    1. user-4691082 11/22/2016

      There is a huge squirrel's nest in the top of the beech that is only visible when the leaves blow off! The leaves sometimes hang on till almost spring. Thank you for your kind words!

    2. user-4691082 11/22/2016

      We have an acre of land. Sorry, didn't see that question! Thank you for your kind words!

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/22/2016

    Hi, Rhonda...looks like we are soul sisters in the garden ornamentation department as I have a bird just like yours (confession...I also have a dark silver-ish one with blue glass accents). Yours looks particularly fetching in front of the burgundy leaves of the Japanese maple. Your beech is glorious, gorgeous and grand...such a treasure! Don't you just love when the red berry clusters form on the nandinas?They are so showy!

    1. user-4691082 11/22/2016

      Good morning Michaele, did you get your garden art at the Biltmore garden shop too? This one has green "gems" that glow at night because of the solar light on top. I never expected so many comments about the beech. Who knew!

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 11/22/2016

        I'm so glad that in your response to Kathy you shared the additional info that your beech was a gift for when you first moved into your home. have seen it grow to such majesty is definitely special. I hope it continues to thrive in its maturity.
        I got my birds at a nursery that does a great job of having fun objects for garden ornamentation. I got the silver-ish one first and it did so great staying outdoors all year round that when they got in the copper-ish colored one, I couldn't resist. Yours sounds even more interesting with the solar glow at night feature. Mine don't have that.

  6. wGardens 11/22/2016

    Wow, that is some traffic-stopping tree! Love your new :bird art:. Looks great against that lovely Japanese Maple! Thanks for sharing!

    1. user-4691082 11/22/2016

      Thank you Margaret! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  7. User avater
    HelloFromMD 11/22/2016

    So great to still have so much color and those last few precious flowers. Like your sculpture and its setting. Also intrigued by your water feature. Did you build up the ground to get a waterfall since it looks like the area is flat not a hill? Your feature looks great, very natural. I have thought about it adding a water feature but my yard is flat.

    1. user-4691082 11/22/2016

      Yes, it was built up to make the waterfall. It's so soothing to sit out there on a summer evening and hear it. It was done by a landscaper -we're not that talented!

  8. Cenepk10 11/22/2016

    Beautiful!!!! Thanks for the pic of crocosmia. Looks a lot different when it gets rain. ( no rain here since April) Really beautiful garden. Would be dreamy to mosey through....

    1. user-4691082 11/22/2016

      I must've moved things around, and plunked it in my vegetable garden last year. I'll be moving it in the spring to a better location. Thanks for noticing it!

    2. user-4691082 11/22/2016

      I thought I posted a reply but I guess not! Thanks for noticing the crocosmia. I must've moved it to the vegetable garden and forgot about it. It will be moved to a better location next spring!!!!

  9. Chris_N 11/22/2016

    Wonderful to see your garden again, Rhonda. The beech is wonderful. I assumed your witch hazel was a Fothergilla until I re-read your notes. What kind is it? Your Tyler Weiss koi add such color and, I assume, are much easier to care for than real ones.

    The weather seems crazy all over. It had been having unseasonably warm here this fall with temperatures in the 50's, 60's and even hitting 70. Then the winds came through on Friday night and highs are now in the 30's with lows down to the teens. I still have bulbs to plant!

  10. VikkiVA 11/22/2016

    Stunning fall garden Rhonda. I love your jewel studded bird and I'll be adding that to my Christmas wish list. Could the plant with the black berries, that you said was Crocosmia, actually be Black Berry Lily? It sure looks like the Black Berry Lily I grow. The cover photo with your Ilex Winterberry is beautiful. Have a great Thanksgiving. Vikki in VA.

  11. sheila_schultz 11/22/2016

    Thanks for your fall garden photos, Rhonda, you are definitely surrounded by beauty. I'm going to be dreaming of your magnificent beech for months to come!

  12. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 11/22/2016

    Rhonda and John ( I'm sure he helps a bit:), Your fall garden is just as pretty as I remember it being in the spring. That beech tree is spectacular and it must have been great to watch it grow. Your waterfall pond must be so soothing to sit by. Do you put it to bed for the winter? Thanks for sharing and hope you have an enjoyable Thanksgiving.

  13. schatzi 11/22/2016

    Magnificent! Love the waterfall and ponds, and the jeweled bird. I'm usually not one for garden art, but that I like. I have never seen anything like it. Frank, good luck with the weather extremes. Sorry to hear it can be that bad. The weather is doing strange things all over. We live in interesting times. Happy Thanksgiving to all authorized personnel!

    1. frankgreenhalgh 11/22/2016

      Thanks Shirley for your kind comments concerning the thunderstorm asthma event down under. Have a look at the comments I made to Sheila in relation to the circumstances resulting in this outbreak. Cheers, Frank

  14. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/22/2016

    Late to GPOD today, Rhonda. So great for another visit. (I don't think I am mis-remembering). Your water feature is looking great and you've so much wonderful autumn color. Your Iris domestica (blackberry lilies, Belamcanda domestica) are really living up to their name with the shiny 'blackberries'. Love what I think is a Fothergilla in the last photo!

    1. Chris_N 11/23/2016

      It's a witch hazel. Fooled me too, although I've noticed in the past the leaves look very similar.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/28/2016

        Boy am I late to this comment, Chris. Thanks so much for the ID. I just purchased my first witch hazel this year and now I see the nascent flower buds in the photo on this post. I hope mine develops fall color in the leaves once it settles in to its site: it burned a little bit and the leaves just turned brown this year, but I think that is just from settling in.

  15. user-7007498 11/22/2016

    Rhonda: Sorry to be late to the blog. Crazy day at work. I just got home. (I took off the rest of the week, so there was much to do). Great to see your garden again. I love the new garden art from the Biltmore. Way cool. The beech tree is so impressive. I didn't remember how big it was when I saw your garden "live".

    I see you did work hard removing the creeping jenny. You will not regret it. Did you add a conifer near the back of the hill (going up to the waterfall)? It is to the left of the water between the light and the arbor. The berries on the nandina look great, and the Hamamelis has such great color.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and John.

  16. perenniallycrazy 11/23/2016

    That beech tree and fothergilla are to die for! I never get tired of Tyson Weiss' Fish in the garden either. Wishing you all a meaningful and peaceful Thanksgiving!

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