Garden Photo of the Day

The Last Gasp of Fall in May’s Garden, Day 1 of 3

As October ends, the Japanese maple and the red maple in front of my house are looking beautiful, though not quite in full color.    

Today’s photos are from May Kald (GrannyMay) on Vancouver Island. Last time we visited May (refresh your memory HERE), she was waiting for more color to arrive. Today she says, “I thought I’d better send in my final photos for autumn 2014 while it is still officially fall. Now that the seasonal rains, windstorms, and the cold have come, I don’t expect much more colour change, just falling leaves and the last flush of berries. I’ll start with the brilliant oranges and reds of my larger maple trees that took their time this year, but finally did themselves proud.  The smaller Japanese maples never did colour up, nor did the purple smoke bush, the birch, oak, or willow trees. Our temperatures were too warm to trigger their fall displays. Still, there was colour enough to satisfy anyone except the very picky! As well, the roses kept blooming, the birds were happy, and there are plenty of berries!” May, your garden is such a joy in any season. ***We’ll be back tomorrow and Wednesday with more photos from May!***

SEND ME PICS OF YOUR GARDEN, OR A GARDEN YOU’VE VISITED! Email me at [email protected]. Thanks! –Michelle

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On October 27, looking down my driveway from the garage, the large Japanese maple is on the left. On the right are the last red leaves on the dogwood, the yellow leaves on a chestnut tree, and the bright red of the burning bush. The yellowing leaves in the right foreground are on Ficus ‘Desert King’.
A few yellow leaves from the birch tree decorate the Sempervivum arachnoideum nestled in the rocks below.
This stone cat water bowl is brightened by red maple leaves.
On October 31, the view from my kitchen window is gorgeous as the red maple forgoes it’s normal fall reds to compete with the chestnut tree in the mid-background for bright yellows and the Japanese maple on the right is orangey/red.

A large spider hangs from the Japanese maple and greets my Halloween visitors.  Meanwhile, the hardy fuchsias underneath just keep blooming.
This Knockout rose just keeps blooming, in company with a lot of the other shrub roses. In the background, the cotoneaster berries are big and bright, ready to feed the birds when the cold weather arrives.
This is one of the Stellar’s Jays that arrive in the fall.  They are the western relatives of the blue jay found elsewhere.  He is just as cheeky, loud, intelligent, and voracious as all the other jays.    
An excellent ground cover with edible berries that are used just like cranberries is Vaccinium vitis-idaea (Lingonberry), growing beside common sage and a white winter heather. 

View Comments


  1. Nurserynotnordstroms 11/21/2014

    Amazing colors ,and the view from your kitchen window is so strikingly beautiful. I always enjoy photos from your gardens because you have a great sense of color and balance. I can't wait to see more.

  2. Chris_N 11/22/2014

    The Stellar's jay certainly adds some true blue to the garden. Adds contrast for your reds and yellows and oranges. Your photos are a good mix of close-ups and one that show the whole scene. Love the stone cat water bowl and the lingonberry/sage/heather. Your driveway displays an amazing artistry with the different plant heights, colors and textures. I'm looking forward to the next batch Michelle promised us.

  3. user-1020932 11/22/2014

    always love when you are featured. never disappointed, glad i checked today!

  4. GrannyMay 11/22/2014

    Thanks for liking what I do - makes it worthwhile to share. I never go anywhere without my camera, even when gardening, so it is easy to capture the moment when something pleasing catches my eye.

    1. User avater
      meander_michaele 11/24/2014

      Maybe you've shared this info before, May, but what kind of camera do you use that you feel comfortable having with you so constantly? I'm always a wimp when it comes to having anything camera related other than my phone with me as a companion when I garden.

      1. GrannyMay 11/24/2014

        Most of the time I carry a Canon PowerShot SX280 in my jeans back pocket. Love it! It has so far survived a lot of conditions that it was never built for. When it gets really wet and nasty out, I substitute the tough little Canon D20 which is good but doesn't have as powerful a zoom. There are new practically indestructible cameras that you can use anywhere.

      2. sheila_schultz 11/24/2014

        Dear Santa,
        I want a camera just like May's, then I want May to take the photos for me. I'll try to be really good! Thank you.

        1. GrannyMay 11/24/2014

          That is so sweet! Thanks Sheila! I have neither the patience (nor the strength) to carry along massive cameras, lenses and tripods. I admire those who do, as the quality of their photos is outstanding. I just snap away whenever something catches my eye, on the theory that if you take enough shots of the same thing, at least one might be usable.

  5. annek 11/22/2014

    GrannyMay, you rock! What incredible colors and patterns. The view outside your kitchen window is a glorious bundle of autumn shades that must thrill family and friends who have the opportunity to view it. Your photographs are quite professional and I fear I've lingered far too long on each of them. Thanks for the joyful peek into your garden

  6. perenniallycrazy 11/23/2014

    Wondrous autumn colors and wildlife in your garden these days Granny May. The view from your kitchen is quite electric. Can't wait to see what's in store on Tuesday and Wednesday. Excited!

  7. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/24/2014

    Oh, my, May, what a fabulous photo capture you snared of your Stellar's Jay visitor...he is not only electric in color but electric in atitude. I sure as heck wouldn't want to pick a fight with him. I certainly agree with Annek that the view from your kitchen window is like a beautifully framed painting...such a rich pallet of colors. Do you ever harvest any of your lingonberries and use them for baking? It certainly is a very attractive groundcover.

    1. GrannyMay 11/24/2014

      Good morning Michaele. Yes, Jays let you know when they are not happy with you. I was enchanted with them when I first moved here and fed them peanuts. Lingonberry sauce is just as delicious as cranberry sauce so I had plans to make my own. Now that the plants are taking over sections of my rockgarden, I probably have enough berries to try it, but confess that clambering through the rockgarden to pick them is not my idea of fun.

      1. sheila_schultz 11/24/2014

        I completely understand the difficulty of tip-toeing through a rock garden... any acrobats for hire?
        The chirping in the neighborhood that wakes everyone up must be all the birds asking their buddies if they have checked out May's place yet!

      2. digginWA 11/24/2014

        I love love love the jays and fed them peanuts, too, until my recent move to a new garden. They would look in the windows and wait until I opened the door to throw some out. The question remains: who trained whom?

        1. GrannyMay 11/24/2014

          I would say you both gained from the interaction and that motivated both of you to continue. I stopped feeding them after a few years when I realized that they were intimidating the smaller birds. My particular visitors would also look in the windows and call out when they saw me. I have no idea how long they live, or whether the behaviour was passed to their next generations, but when they first arrive in the fall they still do that for a bit.

  8. wGardens 11/24/2014

    Wonderful photos!! Always a delight to see your garden through your camera. Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. NCYarden 11/24/2014

    Yay, it's still Fall somewhere. Looks so lovely. The colors are a treat. Good to be invited back into your garden, May. Thank you.

  10. katieerb 11/24/2014

    What beautiful pictures, I love getting the e-mails from Fine Gardening, it is a wonderful way to have a cup of coffee and meander through gardens around the country. Thanks for sharing.

  11. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/24/2014

    May! Michelle is right; your garden is a joy. Such great views. Like Michaele, I was wondering if you used the lingonberries for anything. I've had lingonberry jam and loved it: such a nice sweet-tart like a cranberry. It looks beautiful to boot. Does the fig stay out year round, or do you move it inside? (I think it is in a container?). Thanks and looking forward to the next two days in your garden.

    1. GrannyMay 11/24/2014

      Thank you Tim. The lingonberry may prove to be somewhat more enthusiastic than I had hoped. I haven't tried to curb it yet because I love the look of it, but probably face a battle in the future. The fig stays where it is, year round. It is planted into a large plastic container around which I built a cedar box. I'm sure the roots have gone through the drainage holes into the ground. I put it there to create early afternoon shade for the shed and didn't want it to grow too large. All its first flush of figs get eaten by some little creatures (squirrels, mice or rats?) before they ripen. The second flush don't ripen before the cold comes, though this year a few of them almost made it.

  12. VikkiVA 11/24/2014

    Stunning, stunning, stunning! I love the beauty in your garden.

  13. GrannyCC 11/24/2014

    As always May it is a joy to wander through your garden whether on GPOD or in person.

  14. greengenes 11/24/2014

    What a delight to see your gardens again, GrannyMay! The colors finally appeared to us here in the northwest area! But with all the wind we have had lately ...well it seems it didn't last as long as hoped for. Anyway your beds are beautiful and the photography too! Thanks for showing us!

  15. schatzi 11/24/2014

    I can't say it any better, so I'll just agree with everyone else - LOVE your garden! The stone cat bowl is beautiful, the J. maple is gorgeous, can I come visit?

    1. GrannyMay 11/24/2014

      Absolutely you can come and visit. Bring a shovel or a rake and you can stay for tea!

  16. sheila_schultz 11/24/2014

    May oh May oh May... we are so lucky to have the opportunity to view your gardens through the lens of your camera. Every detail shows such thoughtfulness and artistry, you have created a magic in your gardens most of us only dream of. Can't wait for the next couple of days.

  17. peteeye 11/24/2014

    I love the stone cat water bowl. Do you remember where you got it?

    1. NCYarden 11/24/2014
      I plan to order one too.
      Might need to add your own mottled spray paint for the effect.

      1. GrannyMay 11/24/2014

        Wow, I had never seen any more like mine. I'm almost 100% sure mine is stone, not concrete. I'll have to look at it more closely.

        1. NCYarden 11/24/2014

          Oh yours definitely looks like stone. Probably the one used for the mold. That's why I suggested possibly having to use a concrete spray to get the stone effect (and maybe seal it). I loved it as soon as I saw it your photos. If it must be concrete, I can live with it. Thanks for sharing.

          1. GrannyMay 11/24/2014

            How exciting to get the name of the artist. I googled George Carruth and found his studio here

          2. NCYarden 11/24/2014

            Yeah, he definitely creates some unique pieces. We received a piece a few years ago from a friend, and I am now finally getting around to painting it to give it some more character. Fun sculptures for sure.

          3. GrannyMay 11/25/2014

            I'll try to add a few more photos of Cat. The first one was taken 10 years ago when I had a pyracantha at the end of the landing instead of a railing. The second was taken last year during a frosty period. The third in the spring.

    2. GrannyMay 11/24/2014

      Bonnie, I got my stone cat more than 23 years ago, in a store in Markham, Ontario. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. It is very heavy and I had to carry it a long distance at that time, then it made the journey with me when I moved out to British Columbia.

  18. Meelianthus 11/24/2014

    Goodmorning GrannyMay ~ I always look forward to the visual stroll thru your gardens. Always so beautiful whatever the season. You have so many stunning views and what a delight for you to look out your kitchen window. Isn't it magnificent when Fall color does arrive ! Do you do all of your own gardening, looks like you have so many different wonderful areas?

    1. GrannyMay 11/24/2014

      Thank you! I did do most of everything myself, even learned how to build fences, retaining walls and other structures that I wanted to have, but now the body is rebelling and I need help with the heavier tasks. Mowing is not something I ever enjoyed, so I happily gave that chore away. As for the rest - if I can't participate, most of the joy is gone too. I now have a wonderful helper, Marnie, who comes twice a month and keeps me going.

      1. Meelianthus 11/25/2014

        I do know what you mean May, the joy of gardening is working in the garden. I too find my working is somewhat limited. I do really enjoy mowing, but then I have small lawn areas so it is just enough to give me some good exercise. I know that someday I will have to relinquish the
        mower ! Building fences and retaining walls is AMAZING, I am impressed, good for you. Happy Fall while it is still here.

  19. christianesterges 11/24/2014

    pure autumn magic !!

  20. schatzi 11/25/2014

    Thank you May. I'll let you know the next time I head north, and I'll bring rake, shovel and pruners! My forte is weeding, but I'm also good at pruning. Not that there are any weeds that would dare invade your property! Thank you for the name of the artist, and David, thank you for the name of the store. That cat is so fascinating. May, I can identify with needing help in the garden. Sure would like to feel 25 years younger! Not be 25 yrs younger, just feel it. Ah, but our gardens keep us going. My earliest Hellebore is starting to bloom and I have 8 amaryllis bulbs in the living room, to bloom between now and whenever. And African violets, Sinningias, Streptocarpus, Phalaenopsis and Cymbidiums to feed my habit over the winter.
    I look forward to the next 2 days in your garden, May.

    1. GrannyMay 11/25/2014

      Shirley I have weeds enough to share with everyone, anytime. I just don't take photos of them. And yes, if the body would only perform as if it were 25 years younger, that would be perfect! Otherwise, I like the age I am.

  21. jeannetrimble 11/25/2014

    Absolutely breathtaking! A real joy to see!

  22. foxglove12 11/26/2014

    Gorgeous color. Love the Jay photo and want the cat water bowl :)

  23. user-7007140 11/30/2014

    My week has been rather busy so have only just managed to look at your garden. It was worth waiting for- you are clearly masterful at long term planning to achieve such a beautiful palette of colour. I wish I lived closer so that my begged invitation to wander around may possibly be granted.
    What a joy to look at this beauty. Your photography is stunning.
    Thank you so much.

  24. carolineyoungwilliams 10/20/2020

    Stunning! Thank you for sharing. Be Blessed

  25. katherine_8 10/20/2020

    Fellow Canadian here - Hi :)
    Your garden, the absolute sublime woodsy wonder that you have created, leaves me gulping for the perfect words to use. It's just so lovely and inviting I want to be there RIGHT NOW. Kudos to you and Mother Nature.

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