Saturday, October 24, 2009

Now every day is Arbor day :-D

In a previous post I mentioned that I'd spent a good deal of this summer rebuilding the arbor over the deck. It was a long process and turned out to be just another example of me biting off almost more than I could chew.

But chew I did!

Today was dark and dreary, too wet to rake leaves, so instead I sorted through dozens and dozens of digital photos and put together a pic-heavy post for the Garden Project page. You might pop over there and check it out.

After all, what good are lovely gardens and beds if you don't have a nice vantage point from which to enjoy the view!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The fat lady sings....

Woke up to a lovely autumn sunrise this morning. The sky was just ablaze. What a great day!

Then I pulled my gaze down to the gardens and -- and sighed.

It's over. Last night the fat lady sang. Thick frost covered everything and the birdbath was frozen. Sparrows hopped onto the ice looking for a drink, frustrated. Records show that the last Spring freeze had been May 17th. That's only 5 short months ago!! Can that be right? Only 5 months?? (Note to self: contact the 'global warming' folks. Maybe someone's missing a decimal point....!)

The thermometer on the deck registered 28F. I'm just not ready for this. The gardens have been dodging the earlier shots Mom Nature took over the past couple of weeks - light frosts and cold wet winds. But there's no denying she scored a direct hit last night.

Even the fabled castor bean plants are not looking good this morning. This week is supposed to 'warm' up with no freezing nights, but I don't think these giants will survive into Indian Summer.

I'd pulled in most of my tender plants last week (geraniums, fuchsias, coleus) but I did leave about a dozen of the zonal geraniums in the ground. In the past they've shown they could take a little frost, and then they bloomed through until November. I hope that's the case this time and that my gamble hasn't cost me some very pretty plants.

The tall castor bean seed pods have not ripened and turned brown. I wonder if I'll be able to save any seed from them after all their splendid summer display. If not, I (and several others hoping for seed) are sure to be dissapointed. Keep your fingers crossed! X

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October - red, write and blue

Oh good grief! I cannot believe that it has been WEEKS since I've posted. My bad... At one point I was poised to do a nice entry about the Autumnal Equinox and the waning of the growing season. Then it just slipped away as I dove into 'winterizing' the gardens and grounds.

Then I was going to post about finishing reconstructing the deck arbor after 2 months of deconstruction, timber reclamation, wood protecting, arbor redesign and rebuild. But it was hard to get me to come in from outside where I was totally enjoying actually sitting under the arbor. LOL

Then I was going to post about the success of the left-over WS'd plants at my Mom's neighborhood garage sale. The English lavender, Canterbury bells, butterfly bushes, balloon flowers and bellflowers (not WS'd).

Then I absolutely was going to post about what was still blooming at this late date and providing late forage for bees and pollinators. And, by gum, I'm not letting that one get away from me!

First off, the native asters (pic) are just coming into their own blue glory. (OK, bluish-purple glory.)

The green metallic bees are obviously finding them yummy and as recent as 2 days ago cabbage butterflies were visiting them.

The blue lobelia (lobelia siphilitica - pic) is blooming away and I think this particular bumblebee just lives there anymore. LOL

Other WS'd perennials that are still blooming and attracting pollinators are:
Blue Bedder salvia
Feverfew (honestly, not so much traffic all season on this one)
Lavender hyssop
"Apricot Sprite" hyssop
Butterfly bush
Sweet Joe Pye weed
"Tall Boneset" Joe Pye weed
English lavender
Coneflower (echinacia tennesseensis)
Cardinal flower (lobelia cardinalis)
"Dwarf Munstead" lavender (pic)

And, as the pic at the top of this post, the WS'd annuals of Yvonne's salvia and 6-8 varieties of zinnias are still going gangbusters.

And, lordy, let's not forget those scary castor bean plants. In spite of being hit with a couple of early light frosts, those things are putting out NEW flower stalks. What's THAT all about??

One thing I've noticed this season is that bees (all types) seem to prefer blue flowers. Big, small, doesn't seem to matter. Blue blooms get the most traffic. So I'll be adding more blue next year. (NEXT year? Oh man, I'm not done with THIS year yet! Hold my horses, Nellie! LOL)