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Gold in the Gardens

Fall colors are starting to fill the gardens, and gold is the color of the season. You’ll find it abundantly in Oakland’s flowers, fruits, and foliage right now. The many shades of yellow are catching everyone’s attention, and some are creating quite a stir.

The first golden-hued plant that comes to mind is the hardy orange, Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon,’ that covers the arch behind the Bell Tower. It gets attention year-round but especially now as the foliage turns yellow and the fruits become golden. Don’t let its beauty fool you. Its daunting thorns create an impenetrable hedge that has been used since Colonial days to fence in livestock. The US military also even used it as security fencing! The fruits are extremely bitter and unsuitable for eating, but they can be made into marmalade.

Hardy orange

Our garden mums are also coming into bloom. Our first plants were some of those Ryan Gainey saw as he traveled the South. ‘Ryan’s Yellow’, ‘Ryan’s Pink’ and ‘Ryan’s White’ proved themselves as worthy garden plants and their popularity caused nursery owners to reintroduce many of the heirloom plants. We have many different shades of these tough perennials at Oakland, but one of my favorites remains ‘Ryan’s Yellow’ (see featured image above). These plants will be covered by flowers in a few weeks, and the flowers attract butterflies by the hundreds. The show usually lasts through late October or early November. It should be quite a show and worthy of a visit on a warm October afternoon.

The tea olives are also blooming, and you’ll know one is nearby when you smell its noteworthy fragrance on the air. If you want to see a tea olive up close, look around for a large evergreen shrub that looks much like a holly when you smell its sweet, floral perfume. Attractive but nondescript when not in bloom, the tea olive makes a welcome addition to a garden any time of the year. It is also an excellent source of evergreen cutting to use in arrangements and holiday decorations.

Tea olive

Mark your calendars: our Holiday Wreath Sale opens on November 1. We will offer assorted cut greenery bundles and magnolia stems along with wreaths of various sizes. The cut greenery is harvested from plants growing at Oakland. Your support of this sale helps us maintain and expand our gardens for everyone’s enjoyment.

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