September at Lilactree Farm

– Posted in: Lilactree Farm, What's up/blooming

The caramel-fragrant leaves of the Katsura tree have already fallen, as have those of three horse chestnut kin, the two Ohio buckeyes (Aesculus glabra) and the Yellow buckeye (A. flava). Both the Yellow and the Ohio buckeyes have similar foliage and pale yellowy-green flowers, and the only way I can distinguish betweeen them is by their fruit which are up to 6cm., dark mustard (Dijon?) and smooth in A. flava, and not more than 5cm., pale mustard (Colman’s?) and prickly in A. glabra.

Aesculus glabra is on the right, A. flava on the left. Photo courtesy Brian Bixley

Both species have attractive yellow-scarlet fall colour, but their leaves fall early.

This is one of our favourite times of year, the canvas colours and languid tones of fall making it the ideal moment for appraising the shape of the garden and not just this season’s floral successes and failures.

maple bed at lilactree farm

It's called the Maple bed, not because there are any maples in it, but because a number of maples were chopped down to make space for the bed. Nice Heptacodium up to the right. Photo courtesy Brian Bixley

The Maple Bed continues its tangled brightness, colchicums multiply in the Jungles (Maureen insists their colours are more intense than usual),
colchicums at lilactree farm

Colchicums growing through hardy geraniums. Photo courtesy Brian Bixley

Cyclamen hederifolium continues to do well in the Anniversary Garden (though elsewhere small corms appear to have fallen victim to chipmunks), Sweet Autumn clematis fills the Driveway with its almond and vanilla fragrances,
clematis rehdereana from lilactree farm

Clematis rehdereana on the front porch. Photo courtesy Brian Bixley

and the yellow-flowered C. rehdereana continues amazingly on the Front Porch.
clematis rehdereana from lilactree farm

Clematis rehdereana flowers. Photo courtesy Brian Bixley

But what will be flowering here on our Open Garden day is uncertain; the year continues its wayward trajectory. “Time,” wrote that neglected poet, Sidney Keyes, “slips between my fingers like a leaf.”
See also Photos of Lilactree Farm, by You Grow Girl

About the Author

Brian Bixley and his wife live in a Victorian farmhouse 70 miles north-west of Toronto, where he has slowly been making a garden in the middle of open farm fields. While he has particular interests in clematis (the species), alpine plants and, more recently, unusual trees, his main concern is making a garden that is satisfying in a number of ways, and which relates to and “borrows” the beautiful countryside that surrounds it. Brian’s book, Essays on Gardening in a Cold Climate, is available for $20 (US or Canadian), plus shipping. His new book, Ten New Snowdrops, is a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the passion for new snowdrop forms. CAN$15.00 Click here to order them.

When dealing with frost it is always best to be paranoid. In the spring never think it is too late for one more frost to come. And in the fall never think it too early.

~Rundy in Frost

Comments on this entry are closed.

Sally Bay October 30, 2010, 10:23 pm

Brian–Was looking at your September at Lilac Tree and would be interested in knowing if clematis rehdereana is a zone 4 and reliable sources. Looking forward to reading your book.


Brian Bixley October 31, 2010, 11:59 am

Hi Sally, I can’t even promise that Cl. rehdereana (or rehderiana as Grey-Wilson spells it in his authoritative book) will be hardy in MY Z4, where its survival for several years and vigour have surprised me. It is planted right against a wall of the house, and I try to remember to mulch it after the first permanent frost. Where is your Z4? If you can’t grow rehderiana, as we had better now call it, you could try Cl. connata, which is more rugged, has similar flowers without the fragrance; it is very vigorous, its drawback the high ratio of foliage to flower. My specimens of both wre grown from seed, but there are remarkable clematis nurseries in the US which you can find on-line. Brian

Ilona October 1, 2010, 10:57 pm

Lilactree farm is a charming name. Hail from the home of the Ohio buckeye 🙂 Ours always look a bit bigger than the picture… during my growing up years my next door neighbor had a large tree with many nuts which I actually tried to eat…once. They shine up very prettily, though. That ‘maple’ bed is really nice – I love the spot of lilac in the fall season. Never grown colchicums… but this blog could change that, the pictures of them are so pretty.