Some of you may have noticed a recent absence in my posting. I've been recovering from oral surgery and busy with other non-gardening issues (ahh, life) and am just now getting back to my favorite routines. I'm afraid my garden has suffered a bit as well though it's still showing off some late summer color. I still however have been enjoying the variety of birds that have been visiting my garden and today I spotted my first Common red-shafted flicker, a very exciting event for bird watchers. My two jays are still coming to the kitchen window to retrieve the whole peanuts I leave for them each morning. And the new suction cup feeder, containing hulled sunflower seeds and peanut pieces, is proving very popular with a variety of finches and the occasional oaktit.
Gardening wise, this is a good time for clean-up and saying goodbye to the annuals that provided so much color during the spring and summer. Fall is the best time to plant pansies, violas, snapdragons and delphiniums for sunny areas. And there's no lack of choices for shade either. Cyclamen and primroses are excellent choices for a splash of color. Perennial wise, think about adding one or more varieities of plectranthus for those of you in zones 10 or 11. Then there's hardy fuchsia species, hellebores (Lenten rose), Japanese anemones, a variety of ferns, asarums and shade loving campanulas. Fall and winter is the time to plant shrubs, whether sun loving (azaleas, correas, coprosmas, ceanothus etc.) or part shade (rhodies, camellias, hydrangeas, mahonias, sarcococcas). And of course it's time to plant spring blooming bulbs. Don't forget to make note of where you buried these bulbs!
So get out there you lazy bums. Gardening is a year round pleasure (job?) here in the Bay Area and planning ahead yields great rewards. This is also an excellent time to plant perennials and ground covers, getting them established for the spring.