Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rage! Rage! Against the dying of the light! Celebrating endless autumn....

Fireworks goldenrod in the O'Fallon Perennial border a few weeks ago: what a great plant! And what an amazing autumn: on and on and on it goes...ordinarily we would have had at least one, maybe two dustings of snow by now and hoar frost at least. They predicted hard frost tonight and tomorrow night, and now maybe not. Gotta love Colorado! You NEVER know what to expect!

Found this self sown sporeling of Pellaea atropurpurea growing on solid Limestone in the Rock Alpine Garden a few days ago. I wonder if one out of 100 visitors notices (despite the fact it is at eye level)....maybe one out of 1000? Would you?

Many is the year this Hosta tardiflora would have been fried by now. Come to think of it, Bergenia ciliata right next to it shows a bit of damage, so the Rock Alpine Garden (which is a frost pocket and gets the first frost anywhere in Denver) has been kissed by the Frost goddess...but not enough to fry this yet.

I blogged about this elsewhere, but can't resist yet another shot of this stunning grass introduced by Scott and Lauren Ogden from central Texas: it is obviously a huge winner: Muhlenbergia reverchonii. I regret to say it is not a plant for dry gardens (it grows in my unwatered border but will not bloom much): not that this matters much. 99.9% of Colorado gardens are horribly overwatered...Sheesh! What will it take to wake people up?

I end with a closeup of Aconitum carmichaelii...or is it A. henryi? Or A. cammarum? I have seen a dozen names attached to this giant, late autumn blooming gem from East Asia. Whatever the name, few plants are more majestic or gratifying in the dying ember of the growing season...

I, for one, rejoice in this sempiternal fall. I feel about winter as Dylan Thomas does about "that Good night" in one of the greatest poems of the English Language:


Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rage at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


  1. A new season, a new flower.

    "The increasing scarlet and yellow tints around the meadows and river remind me of the opening of a vast flower bud. They are the petals of its corolla, which are of the width of the valley. It is the flower of autumn, whose expanding bud just begins to flush."
    - H. D. Thoreau

  2. Good old Henry David: he was a poet as well as a philosopher and a damn good naturalist! Something we can all aspire to!

  3. That Goldenrod is fabulous, indeed! Love that Muhlenbergia...I have M. capillaris, which blooms really well, but definitely likes a bit of extra water to do so well.

  4. Aha! So you can grow M. reverchonii as well? M. capillaris doesn't seem to do for us in our cooler night, shorter season climate. Although it ranges up to Maine, apparently, in nature! We need those northern forms, but will settle for reverchonii until then!


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