"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A walk through the back garden.

Has it ever been windy and rainy here!  The winds have finally calmed down but the rain keeps on falling.  These first few windstorms are always good for helping the evergreens to drop most of their dead needles.  Most of the deciduous trees still have their leaves here, although many have started turning shades of red and yellow.  It will be at least mid November before most of those trees are bare.  We've had so much rain here this year that people are saying now they would just rather have snow because at least it's something different to look at.  I'm feeling the same way, although I'm sure we'll be thinking differently later in the winter.  I just hope I can get the bulbs planted before too long.  I might just have to tough it out and plant them in the rain.

 The shed garden is looking pretty good.  The color of the Japanese maple is so pretty now.  The Hellebores, Heuchera, Bergenia and the variegated Rhododendron will give it a little life over winter.

 Facing out from the shed the garden really filled out this summer despite the lack of warm weather.  It probably was a good year to get these plants established since I barely needed to water them with all the rain.

 Still lots of color around the pond.

 Last year at this time it was bare and brown down the path.  I'm surprised at how green it still is and that some plants have bloomed again.  The big Japanese Maple has just begun to turn yellow.

 About half way down the path.

 This little corner of the path is popular with the birds.  They're always hoping around the ground here under the shrubs.  A pair of Wrens had started a nest in the birdhouse early in spring but moved on.  Maybe some will stay next year.

The side yard with the raised beds is littered with Cedar needles.  It's tricky raking them up from the pea gravel.  I wouldn't use pea gravel again in this type of area, crushed gravel is much easier to deal with and is what we've used as a path around the pond.  The Blueberry bushes have such pretty fall color now.  I had wanted to paint the pavers, but just didn't have time.  I still like the idea of painting them bright colors to add some fun to this area where the kids like to play.

I've still got plants sitting on the back deck waiting to be planted, they make me feel guilty every time I look out there especially since some keep getting blown over with the wind.  As much as I love gardening I don't really love doing it in the rain, especially when it's windy as well.  I hope I'm not the only one that's still got plants sitting around needing to be planted.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hothouse Flower - A book review

I was asked by TLC book tours to do a book review for the novel "Hothouse Flower" by Margot Berwin.  Since reading when you have kids is often hard to find time for, I was happy to have a good excuse to make time for myself to read a book.  Plus, we've had lots of rain making it the perfect weather to read.

Hothouse Flower is about a thirty-two year old advertising copywriter who lives in New York City named Lila Nova.  Recently divorced she seems to want to avoid anything that needs her such as pets, plants or people.  Lila doesn't get much enjoyment from her career in advertising either other than her friendship with a co worker.  Her life starts to change though when she is convinced to buy a tropical plant by a plant seller at a local green market.  As her plant collection grows so does her interest in the man selling them, she seems to return to the market more out of interest in him than the plants.  At the same time she meets another intriguing man who owns a laundromat.  This is not a regular laundromat though, the floors are carpeted in moss and people come to see the unusual collection of plants hanging throughout it.  Inside there is a secret room which holds the 9 plants of desire.  Armand, the owner, tests Lila with things like having her try to root a finicky fire fern to see if she can handle seeing the rest of the plants.  The story says that if you are in a room with the 9 plants of desire you can have anything you want.  The book then follows her adventures in the Yucatan in finding the 9 plants of desire after they are stolen from the laundromat.
The main character Lila is likable enough, she seems to be searching for something to fulfill her empty life even though she claims to not want any responsibility.  I think a lot of people could probably relate to someone like her.  Another main character, Armand, is full of unusual stories and the meanings behind many of the plants he shows Lila.  I didn't really like the way it felt that most of the male characters used Lila and her emptiness to get what they wanted.
Since my reading time is often broken up into short time periods any book that is easy to get back into after not having read it for a couple of days is a plus.  This novel was definitely that type of book.  There was lots of interesting information about the 9 plants of desire, as well as other tropical plants.  But, I have to admit that because so much of what happens in the book is improbable I'm not sure if how much of the information on the plants is fact or if it's just there for part of the story.  
It's hard for me to fairly review a book that is just not the genre I would normally read.  I enjoy more realistic stories where I feel I'm learning something about a period of time or a place.  This book is more far fetched in it's storyline.  I'm sure this book would be appealing to many other people, in fact I read that it is being made into a movie, it just wasn't quite my style. 
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Fertilizer Friday - October 22

We had another beautiful day here yesterday, but things changed overnight.  Rainy days after a string of very sunny ones are not so bad this time of year.  They are a good excuse to get something done inside, like send seeds to people I promised them to.  This year I'm glad to have my garden shed to work in and have somewhere to keep the seeds and bulbs that have usually by now started piling up all over the desk.  I've got a basket of bulbs needing to be planted, it was fun finding some new varieties to try.  At the nursery the other day I found Snowdrops, Chionodoxa 'Pink Giant', Fritillaria uva-vulpis and Tulip 'Green Spring'.  Once I find somewhere to squeeze them in along with new Allium, Tulips and Daffodils I may go back for more.
Now for some flowers that I don't have to wait to see until spring:

Hydrangea 'Ayesha' had one fresh bloom as do a couple other Hydrangeas.

Scabiosa 'Beaujolais Bonnets' was new this summer and I kept forgetting to take pictures.  It suddenly has put out a lot of new growth and flower buds.

Rose 'Lady Emma Hamilton' is still looking gorgeous and full of flowers.

Now the Cosmos have decided to bloom like crazy.

Calendula has lots of new flowers too.

The Abelias are loaded with flowers.  They are mostly evergreen here and bloom for a very long time.

New Violas waiting to be planted.  I'm going to plant them in the front flower bed and mix in lots of spring bulbs with them.

Pansies and Pennisetum in a container.  The grasses won't make it through a frost, but I love how they look together.

As I walked through the yard I noticed how wet my feet were feeling.  Guess this combination of socks and flip flops wasn't very effective, it's time to pull out the rubber boots now.  And no, I would never wear this combo anywhere other than my yard.

Now I hope you'll visit Tootsie at Tootsie Time to see what she's up to and what other gardeners have blooming this Fertilizer Friday.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The front yard in October.

We've been having some beautiful fall weather here.  Bright blue skies and sun, very cool in the mornings but warming into the low 60's during the day.  Yesterday I thought I'd better get the grass cut since it's growing so quickly right now and is always wet with a heavy dew, it's not going to dry out until next spring and will only get longer.  It seems like the lawn (weeds and moss) always grows the most in the fall.  This year we didn't get to the projects we'd hoped to accomplish in the front, but are hoping next year to remove a good amount of grass and reconfigure the front border bed some.  I'm sure I'll be asking for some ideas then.  We'll need to make a path through the bed somewhere and that's what I'm trying to decide when I look at it from the street side.

I don't usually include the front grass when taking pictures of the front of the house, but it looks so green and lush right now.  The Dogwood leaves are turning red now, and it won't be long before we're raking them up.

From the other end of the yard.  The tall back lit plant are Verbena bonariensis which are covered in flowers.  I will leave lots up for the birds to snack on this winter.

I haven't really shown this bed to the left much this year.  It used to be all Hellebores.  It would look great for the time they bloomed, but once they were done they would be covered in aphids and not the most attractive thing to see as you came to our front door.  I've left some Hellebores in, but have also added a variety of other shade plants which are all pretty tiny still.  Hopefully in spring it'll fill in more.  As you can see on the right the Japanese Maple looks as though it did die, and if it doesn't leaf out in spring we'll take it out.  I found some great ideas in a new garden magazine which involves a fountain rather than another tree.  I've accepted that trees just don't like this spot.

Black-eyed Susans still looking pretty.

I love how this Zinnia looks in front of the Black-eyed Susans.  This was about the only Zinnia to bloom this year.

This looks like a flower bud on the Magnolia 'Vulcan'.  Since it's never bloomed in the year it's been here I'm just guessing it's a bud.  It should bloom in spring.

The Coneflowers have gone to seed and are ready for the birds to enjoy.  They've already been eating the seeds from the ones in the back yard.

This morning is very foggy, but is supposed to clear up for another nice day.  I'm hoping to get to a nursery sometime this week.  I haven't been in so long I feel like I'm going through withdrawal, especially after seeing what finds others have been making at nurseries near them.  Hope you are having some nice fall days where you are, although I know that some gardeners have already seen their first snow of the year.
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Friday, October 15, 2010

October bloom day on a Fertilizer Friday.

I haven't joined in with Bloom Day or Fertilizer Friday for awhile and thought this would be the perfect time to join in since they both land on the same day.  I always forget just how much is still going on in my garden in October.  If I think about the October garden in May I'm pretty sure I've forgotten by then that there are actually plants still flowering.  It's nice to be reminded that even though it's slowed down, it hasn't quit yet.  Several plants are blooming again, a few have been blooming for months.  I'm really trying to enjoy each flower this fall since all we keep hearing about is how bad a winter we are supposed to have this year.

 No surprise to see Sedum 'Autumn Joy' blooming now.  I've got several different Sedums blooming, I love watching how intense the red becomes as the flower ages.

 Chocolate Eupatorium/Joe Pye Weed has finally bloomed.

 The Impatiens will bloom until the first frost.  This is the time of year I really appreciate them.  They almost seem at their peak right now, the plants are big and full of flowers.

 Heuchera 'Caramel' as well as many other Heucheras are blooming again.  Hardy fuchsias are blooming behind them.

 Linaria was cut back and is now reblooming.

 Mexican Orange (Choysia ternata) is blooming for a second time.  It's first bloom is in late spring.

 Now this was a surprise, a Primula blooming.  Looks like the slugs found it already.

 Rose 'Abraham Darby' had a couple of blooms left although smaller than they would be in the summer.  'Lady Emma Hamilton' is full of flowers, and 'Tamora', 'Julia Child' and 'Iceberg' all have flowers.  'Honey Perfume' has quite a few buds too.

 Nicotiana grown from seed from Lona is still blooming as is the Nicotiana 'Limelight'.  I saw that a hummingbird had discovered these ones today.

If anyone remembers this little Meyer Lemon tree was overwintered inside last winter.  It bloomed and was hand pollinated by the Littlest Gardener back in December of 2009.  It looks just about ready to pick.  I saw that there are about 4 little baby lemons starting on it too.

To see what is blooming around the rest of the world visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and Tootsie at Tootsie Time for Fertilizer Friday.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The October pond.

Do you ever have one of those days where it feels as if a load has been lifted from you?  Today has been one of those days for me.  I'm not sure if it's that we got a big (and kinda boring) house project done (by someone else for once) or that the sun was out.  The Littlest Gardener and I were mostly stuck inside today while the workers were here but we decided to walk around the pond and see how it was looking.  The sun was shining and it even felt warm out, a perfect fall day.  I noticed more flowers reblooming that I hadn't seen the last time I was outside.  Maybe not getting everything cut back awhile ago paid off. 

 For late afternoon the lighting on the pond was so pretty.  The fish were very active today compared to the last few times I've been out.  I saw that both the Water Hawthorn and a Water Lily have buds.

 Geranium 'Rozanne' is still blooming.  It sure has lived up to it's reputation this year.  I added one more to the front yard I was so impressed.  More will definitely be planted next year.

 Japanese Anemones surprised me again this year, mostly because I keep yanking them all out.  A few sneak past me every year.  I do love these flowers, but boy do they take over an area - spreading through everything in it's path.  I don't know if I'd plant these again.

 American Beautyberry 'Profusion' has purple berries!  I planted this just about a year ago and hoped that where it was planted it would get enough sun to produce berries.  Looks like it does.

And one more shot from the other side of the pond.  I love how the Heuchera 'Marmalade' and the Japanese Blood Grass look by each other.

The forecast for the weekend looks pretty good and I'm so hoping I'll get to spend some quality time with my garden.  
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Garden medicine.

I started this post almost 2 weeks ago, and then it sat while life got busy.  I've had a minor medical procedure to deal with since then, luckily nothing serious, but a major inconvenience anyway.  I'll spare the details, but it involves kidney stones and pain.  Glad both seem to be resolved now.   I'm thankful to have such a great husband, parents, sister and friends that helped out tremendously.
Just looking out at the garden (and ignoring the work that needs to be done) has made me feel better, funny how the garden can be so therapeutic in so many different ways.  A few of the days that I was feeling pretty bad I would take a walk around the yard to see what was happening.  But, I was also impressed just how well the garden was doing without me.  In fact the garden did a whole lot without me the past several months.  I guess whether I'm out there or not, the trees will remember to change colors, flowers will bloom and the birds will find plenty to eat other than from the empty feeders.
These pictures are the ones I was going to post and really not much has changed other than the weeds taking advantage of me not being outside.  I'm anxious to have a day to get out and do some fall cleanup.

Black-eyed Susans and Abelias are blooming nicely still.  The birds have been eating the fruits from the Dogwood tree.  I've noticed the Junco's hopping around in this bed too looking for something to eat.

The pears probably need to be picked by now.  We enjoyed about 5 from the Orcas pear tree already, this tree is a later variety (Comice).  This is only their second year in the garden.

Pretty Mums that my parents gave us for our 13th anniversary.  They look perfect on the front porch that the Littlest Gardener and I have been decorating.  She insisted we hang the fake spider webs even though the spiders have plenty of their own all over the yard.

The Nikko Blue Hydrangea always looks the best for the longest.

Hardy fuchsia 'Queen Esther' and the other hardy fucshias all look great right now.  They'll bloom until the first frost.  Hard to believe the first frost probably isn't all that far away.  It usually seems to be in the first week or two of November.

I wish these Sunflowers were mine, but they are from the visit to the pumpkin patch I took with the Littlest Gardener's preschool.  It seems like Sunflowers are blooming beautifully around here now, just wish I would've had some this nice in my garden.

Signs of fall are everywhere now with a big increase in bird visitors being one of the most noticeable.  There has been such a variety of types of them as well in both the front and backyard.  It's not until they start returning that I realize who hasn't been around lately like Nuthatches and Juncos and Flickers.  The birds are one of my favorite things to watch right now.  I love seeing who's at the pond or eating berries from the trees.    Hopefully I'll have a nice clear morning sometime soon to take some pictures of them, they seem to come early in the morning while it's still foggy.
I look forward to trying to catch up with all of you and seeing how your gardens have been changing. 
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