Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tucked in...

Finally, the leaves have all been rounded up, shredded to a point and layered on the flower beds. *oof* (There IS a downside to living in what realtors described as "a park-like setting" with "mature trees".) LOL

But with the new bee beds all those leaves are going to good use. Previously I would just mulch around the house (foundation beds), keep a small heap to use in the winter compost pile and then PAY someone to haul away the rest.

No more of that!

Now I have enough new beds to use every single leaf. In fact, at one point, I was afraid I would not have ENOUGH leaves to adequately mulch the ring bed. But I squeaked by with just enough left over to use in the winter compost pile.

Here's a pic of 4 tucked-in beds: ring, stump, arbor and maple bed.

The bird bath bed:

The privacy bed (which looks really really naked without those gigantic castor bean plants in front of it).

A poor pic of the veg bed:

And, finally, a stitched-together panoramic shot of the whole ring bed. I have not cut back the tall butterfly bushes so I'll have something to look at over winter. But back there the blue salvia and native asters are still blooming away. Yesterday I showed some friends around and we were amazed at the number of bees on the asters. We could actually hear humming, there were so many. I spied honeybees, green metallic bees (sweat bees) and what looked like mason bees (would they still be active this time of year?). It was quite a show - and very rewarding.

Finally, and officially, I'm done with winter prepping garden beds, leaf management, and (hopefully) lawn mowing. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! (Although if this nice weather keeps up I may be having to mow into December! *ack*).

Oh, I may wander out and cut back the occasional perennial stalk or remove the (now yellow) hosta leaves, etc., but that is just puttering - no brainers. *sigh* That's about all I can handle now. After all, by this end of the growing season, there's just not much brain left. ;-D

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finally... Fall

Even though we had a cold September with early frosts & freezes, November (so far) as been one heck of an Indian summer. Lovely mild days (sometimes near 70!) has encouraged me to go the 'extra mile' when it comes to Fall projects. And I'm not the only one who seem to be over-achieving right now....

Take, for instance, the Robinson crabapple I posted about earlier. Remember how surprised I was to find it blooming in September? Those blooms actually set fruit (see pic). And now, two months later in mid-November, that branch is blooming again! I've never seen the like. I hope it's not an indication of some tree disease or danger to it.

These warm days actually motivated me to address the problem of weeds in the ring bed. I had gotten so caught up with other chores that on nice days I found myself out there pulling weeds just to be outside in the good weather. Good grief!! Most of the perennials have pretty much shut down due to the many freezes we've had, but some are either holding their own and actually excelling at this time of year.

The "Blue Bedder" perennial salvia still sport new flower stalks. These things have bloomed all summer from this season's WS'd seeds. I'll definitely start more of these blue beauties next year.

The native asters have been blooming for 7 weeks now and going like gangbusters. They seem to laugh at nighttime temps that dip into the 20s. I have an 8-foot strip of these along the far side of the ring and show off as a dusty blue mass of petals. I'm going to collect seeds and plant perhaps another 30-40 feet of aster on that far side of the ring. Who wouldn't want a couple of months of color like this late in the year? And the bees? Oh yes, the bees are on those blossoms. (Sorry the pic is blurry, but click on it and you'll see a more focused pic.)

In Fall there is lots of bird activity as flocks of over-winterers or passers-through visit the feeders and birdbaths.

I love crows.

And no one loves a bath more than a robin. Unless it's a bunch of robins. At one point 10-12 birds where splashing in the bath with more waiting around in the Japanese maple nearby.

Of course here at Melissa Majora we cater to the entire food chain. Here our resident (and magnificent) female red-tailed hawk keeps tab on all the lesser critters....

There are still leaves to gather/shred and use as mulch, but, bottom line, I'm pretty much done outside. I still have some deck furniture that needs to be stored in the shed but with weather like this - and the arbor rebuild - you can be sure I'm still using it on a daily basis. ;-D