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

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Best September ever?

September has been an extremely busy month for us.  We had back to school for both girls, ballet for the Littlest Gardener, junior high cross country started for Sweet Pea, then Sweet Pea decided she also wanted to play soccer again, the Littlest Gardener's birthday, a visit from the in-laws, our anniversary and planning for Sweet Pea's upcoming 13th birthday on October 2nd.  I was beginning to feel some withdrawl from the garden.  We had a lot of wind and rain the last few days which made the garden a huge mess.  Looking at the front yard every time I went in and out of the house and not being able to do much in it was making me anxious to get my hands in the dirt.
Today I got to spend 2 1/2 hours cleaning, raking, planting, digging, sweeping and raking and was it ever great.  I was able to clean out the pond, the back deck and do a bit of cleaning in the front yard.  The sun was out with a light breeze, perfect for gardening. 
This is the first autumn we've gotten to enjoy our new front yard.  It has been so fun watching it change throughout the seasons.  I think even with the crazy busyness of life this month that I'm still enjoying the garden in the front more than I ever have since we moved in 12 1/2 years ago.

I've been starting to add some fall color to the planters.

 I normally wait to pull out the fall decorations until after Sweet Pea's birthday at the beginning of October, but I was too excited to see how it would look.
Dahlias always make me happy this time of year.  They just bloom and bloom.

I finally got the Littlest Gardener to hold still long enough to take her picture by our tallest Sunflower 'Mammoth'.  She was having fun riding her bike as fast as she could in circles in the driveway.

Kale 'Red Russian' growing quickly in the raised bed.

Black-eyed Susans are another September favorite.  The Dragonfly seems to like them too.

I was surprised to find all these flowers on 'Julia Child'.

Aster 'Professor Kippenburg'

Salvia 'Black and Blue' just came up a few weeks ago and is now blooming.  I was quite surprised to see it.

Re-do of a wine barrel planter on the driveway.  There is also a Barberry behind the Carex 'Prairie Fire'.

 For some reason I'm drawn to this angle and keep taking pictures of it.  I'm always surprised by how much is still blooming in September.  This year with all the new garden space there's more than ever.

Other than a few windy and rainy days in the last week, we've had absolutely gorgeous weather.  Hopefully it will hold for awhile longer so that I'll be able to do more work out in the yard soon.
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It

Monday, September 19, 2011

Last days of summer.

Over the weekend we had our first fall "system" move through.  This brought much cooler weather, lots of rain and wind.  The rain was appreciated by the garden, but the first few windy days are not appreciated by me.  They bring down all the dead pine needles from the Ponderosa Pine.  It takes many, many days to get them cleaned.  Just when they are mostly swept and raked up, another wind comes through.  Our roof looks as though we have a thatched roof.  Pine needles are my very least favorite thing about the end of summer.  But, once they are sort of cleaned (until the yard waste bin is packed full of them) and untangled from everything, the garden looks good again.

 Sunflowers tall and short are blooming in the front garden.

 Yes, that's a RED tomato!  I started these 'Tigerella' tomatoes last year and none turned red.  I'm so glad that at least one is turning this year.  In a few days my in-laws will be visiting from California, hopefully we'll be eating tomatoes from the garden while they are here.

 We spent a long time yesterday cleaning out the front raised reds, pulling out lettuce and greens that were done and planting more seedlings.  We've got lots of chard, kale, beets and carrots starting.  I sowed lettuce and radishes yesterday.  I still consider this an experimental year, so we'll see how well things do started now.  I do know for sure we need to organize our plantings much better next year, also that we'll plant way fewer tomatoes since they took up a lot of space and haven't produced much.
Oh, and I found what the strange Sunflower is called.  It's 'Sunspot' and supposed to get 18" - 24" tall according to the packet.

 This has got to be the prettiest lettuce I've ever grown.  'Mottistone' has been doing great, no signs of bolting, and I found that the fairies like it too.

 The other raised bed seems to have more warm season veggies growing.  Pattypan, Buternut and Zucchini are all still growing.

 I showed the start of the changes of the driveway bed in a previous post.  I really like how it's turning out.

 From a different angle you can see the new Nandina 'Gulf Stream' on the left and Osmanthus 'Goshiki' on the right.  These two are both evergreen.

 Love the seed heads on this Clematis.

 The shed garden still looks pretty good for this late in the summer.  I've been noticing how much red/burgundy colored foliage  I've been adding in both the front and backyard.

 Fuchsia magellanica is still doing great by the pond.

 One plant I'm very happy with this year is the Bugbane or Actaea.  I've had it in several places and it seems it finally likes it here.  It's close to 5 feet tall and is covered in the best smelling flowers.  The honeybees were all over it.

We are looking forward to my husband's parents coming for a visit.  It looks as if summer is returning for this week and we should be able to enjoy lots of time outside.  Not too long ago I replanted both Dill and Basil for my father-in-law to use when he hopefully makes us Spanakopita.  In March they were here and saw the very beginnings of the garden, and he also helped my husband build the front arbor.  I'm excited for them to see how it all looks now.
 All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September front garden.

I can't believe we're already almost half way through September.  This has been such a busy month.  Both girls are back to school - there's now an 8th grader and a Pre-K'r in this house.  Now that the routines of school, cross country and ballet are started I finally had a little time to do some work in the yard this morning.
We've had a lot of warm weather lately and today it cooled down quite a bit and was perfect for gardening.  I had planned to do one job, but ended up cleaning up the aphid infested Nasturtiums and mildewy pumpkinless pumpkin vines in the side yard.  After pulling up the vines and cutting back the fig tree some I was happy how much better it all looked.  I know everyone has a spot in their yard that gets neglected and the side yard is mine.

 Finally some Cosmos are blooming.  I've never seen them start this late.

 Cosmos 'Cranberries' (Select Seeds)

 Cosmos 'Picotee', the only one that came up.

 This is the strange Sunflower that I've shown in some recent posts.  I think some birds have already started eating it.

 This shows it's weird proportions, it's growing next to Basil plants.

 Columbine that has been blooming all spring and summer.

 'Iceberg' Rose and Cleome.

 Asters and Coneflowers are doing great.

 Gracie and the neighbor cat hanging out in the flowers.

 Agastache 'Raspberry Summer' from Bluestone Perennials.

 Seedlings that need to get planted, but where to squeeze them in?

 Another bed (the driveway bed) I've been working on.  I ripped out all of the Phlox.  It had just taken over the bed and it had such a short bloom time it didn't look very good.  I just planted the Ninebark 'Little Devil'.  It's supposed to just get 3-4 feet wide and tall.  I plan to get a couple more grasses - Feather Reed Grass 'Karl Foerster'.

 David Austin rose 'Lady Emma Hamilton' has really pretty colored foliage.  It has been very disease free and even handles afternoon shade, it has a great scent too.  This is growing in the driveway bed that I showed above.

We also just celebrated a very special day here yesterday - the Littlest Gardener turned 5!   She celebrated with a few of her best girl friends at Build a Bear.  5 little girls making stuffed animals is about as cute as it gets and they all had lots of fun. 
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Flowers, food and fun!

Forget what I said in my previous post about the feel of fall in the air.  Summer has decided to stick around for a bit longer.  It's been hot!  Daily watering has become a must to keep the vegetable garden going.  Many plants in the backyard that compete with big trees have needed frequent watering too. 
With school starting back up for the kids I hope to have some more time to do some garden work that needs doing.  There are perennials that badly need to be cut back and lots of weeds that seem to popping up everywhere.

 This is the gigantic Sunflower that was only supposed to get to about 18 inches high.  I'm not sure what happened, but the leaves and flower are just huge.  It's probably about 3 feet tall, but I don't think I've ever seen such big leaves or flowers on such a small plant.  The birds will be feasting on it.

 Rose 'Honey Perfume' has started another round of blooms.

 I started all different types of Nicotianas this year, and had terrible luck with most.  Since they have gotten mixed up in my planting I'm guessing that this is Nicotiana sylvestris.  This is the third year I've tried growing it and glad to finally have at least one plant bloom.

 Rose 'Iceberg' hasn't looked as good as usual this summer, but this last flush of blooms has been much better.

 Rose 'Harlow Carr' and Geranium 'Rozanne' look so pretty together.  I keep missing a good time to get more of this flower bed.  There is a hardy fuchsia and Heuchera 'Crimson Curls' blooming with these two and it looks so pretty.

 Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is absolutely covered in Honeybees.

 Look at this forecast!  The last several days have been up in mid to high 80's too.  This has been the weirdest summer weather.  Now it decides to get hot (but I'm not complaining).

 I'm hoping that upcoming heat starts to turn these guys red!

 Hope the heat helps the Butternut Squash grow a bit bigger.  These were started from seed this year.

 Also started from seed were the Pattypan Squash.  We've been eating lots of these and they're really good!

 Found this cute sign over the weekend.  I'm not sure where it'll go, but I thought it was so cute.

 The Littlest Gardener (who is about to turn 5) loves to help water.  She has been enjoying helping me water and look for vegetables to pick in the front yard.

 Some of the fun I've been having has been redoing a couple of beds.  This bed I rarely have shown pictures of because it's sort of been a bit of a mess.  I kept trying to grow full sun plants here, but they just leaned and looked floppy.  So I took almost everything out and started over.  One little spot gets lots of sun, so I planted a Chocolate Eupatorium there.  I also added Heucheras, Astrania and a hardy fuchsia.  I left the Hydrangea 'Pinky Winky' which was new last year, Clematis 'Jackmanni' (which loves it here) and Daphne 'Summer Ice'.  My goal is to keep this bed a bit more orderly than the rest of the yard since I need to get in to water the window boxes and put a ladder in here when we clean the gutters (something that we need to do frequently since there are several large trees that drop leaves, needles and cones year round).

I've also been working some on the driveway bed which isn't quite as much fun since it's in the full hot sun.  I've been starting a few more greens that will hopefully last through the fall and into winter. 
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September, already?

How can it already be September?  This felt like the shortest summer ever.  Since we really didn't have a whole lot of summer weather it doesn't feel as if it's already time for the kids to go back to school.  In the last few days I've begun to feel fall in the air.  It feels like it's time to start lighting the pumpkin spice candles and put a blanket back on the bed (although I don't think it was off for more than a month or so).  Luckily there are still more flowers coming so at least it doesn't look like summer is over.

 Abutilon thompsonii which I just purchased after seeing some Abutilon growing in Ciscoe's garden.  Apparently they are very easy to take cuttings and root - he said just put the cutting in water and wait for it to root.  So, that will be my challenge this year.

 I bought a start of a Morning Glory earlier in the summer has really just started blooming and growing.  I love how they seem to glow in pictures.

Golden Feverfew - I have growing in a container.  I'm not sure whether this will over winter or not, but they are so cheerful to look out at.

 Zinnia 'Persian Jewels' - The Zinnias are so short this year and just starting to bloom, very late for them.

 The Littlest Gardener and I have noticed that Daddy Longlegs (that's what we call these guys) seem to be on every Sunflower plant, blooming or not.  One day we watched one of them along with an ant and a wasp.  They were all on the same leaf and I couldn't figure out if the wasp was going after the ant or the Daddy Longlegs.  Anyway, now I wonder why they like Sunflowers so much?

 Another Sunflower starting to bloom.  The petals remind me of long blonde bangs blowing around someone's face.

 This is the bud of the gigantic leaved Sunflower that was only supposed to get to 18 inches tall.  I can't wait to see how big it is.

 A really pretty Dahlia with dark foliage.

A new rose from this summer is David Austin rose 'Harlow Carr'.  It has such a good smell and the flowers are on the small side, I love it!

Today is the first day of 8th grade for Sweet Pea!  Next week the Littlest Gardener starts Pre-K.  Time goes by quickly and there are days I wish they wouldn't grow so fast.
Is fall in the air where you are?
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It