Category Archives: Container gardening

Beauty in Autumn

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Chrysanthemum “Duchess of Edinburgh”

Under an impossibly blue, brilliant sky, golden leaves rain down on the garden bellow. The cool temperatures suit these fall bloomers. They offer the last gift of color for us and nourishment to pollinators before the leaves start to come down for a last hurrah!

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Aster

Asters are classic fall bloomers.  Don’t you love them? A full 250 cultivars have been classified, covering a wide spectrum of colors, native and perennial.  These are a perennial variety I have enjoyed for decades.  I buy Asters, Chrysanthemums and other fall bloomers to plant in spring, I then almost forget them. Always makes me happy when I see them burst out just when I thought the garden was done!

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Melampodium

Sold as an annual, Melampodium reseeds itself every year. I collect and scatter its seeds were I want them in other parts of the garden. Also a drought resistant plant and best of all, deer have do not go after them! Very tidy and showy mounds full of blooms! at this time of the year it is like a basket of sunshine.

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Tall Sedum and annual Browallia

I grow this tall Sedum sp. in my pots and add a variety of annuals each year in the spring. Deer love them and always eat them in the garden. They do well in pots and awaken every spring even more energized than the year before! Their succulent foliage is very attractive in early spring and drought resistant which makes them a great plant if you don’t want to water all that much! The late blooms at times appear alive as pollinators flock to enjoy their nectar!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Garden Tour!

sedums

sedums

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The Herb garden

The Herb garden

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Frog pond

Frog pond

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Vegetable garden

Vegetable garden

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Hostas

Hostas

Starting my Seeds

 

Sorting out seeds

Sorting out seeds

Unpredictable temperatures did not deter me from sorting out my seeds and getting started the first week of March. I know, that was probably too soon, but for you readers, now will not be a bad time to start. I intend to put this crop out under cover in the middle of April.  Last frost dates for our area are between the 21st and the 31st of April. Besides, not being able to get out and work in the garden was driving me nuts!

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Here they were all tucked in and labeled.

So, I am off and running.  Now, so I remember next year, I only planted my long season vegetables, to me, these are tomatoes, peppers, leeks and eggplant.  If I plant these as direct sow in the ground, they will not have fruit until very late if at all in our climate.  I learned that last year, when at first frost, green peppers , eggplant and tomatoes were not ready to harvest.  It also helps to check the amount of days from germination to maturity provided as all varieties and cultivars are different.

Three weeks later.

Three weeks later.

They are doing quite nicely under the fluorescent light fixture in my basement, I rigged a shelf, -plywood covered with aluminum foil-. I then hung it right from the fixture with twine that I can adjust as they grow.  Pretty rustic but works!

Of course it would be simpler to buy your seedling from a reputable green house.  I grow mostly heirloom vegetables as I do not like my seeds altered.  I wrote about the difference between heirlooms, hybrids and GMO seeds in my post on Shopping for Seeds and I was amazed by what technology and the seed companies are doing to manipulate our seed supply.  Another reason to consider heirloom varieties is that we are loosing so many old classics and our field of options keeps getting smaller as years go by.  This is an important way to preserve the diversity of our food choices. Also, with heirlooms you can harvest the seed and preserve it from year to year which is the reason we have them today.  Some varieties can be traced to ancient times! I intend to keep seeds from my favorites and make sure they survive for years to come.
“Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow — perhaps it all will.”
Albert Einstein

 

Autumn joys and chores

Sitting outside in the balmy weather, I watched as leaves fell like a magical golden shower.  There was a specific sound too,  like hundreds of whisperings being carried past me by the wind.  Truly one of those quiet moments that happen so unexpectedly in the garden.  I had to shake myself to focus on the myriad of chores that come with the season.

Enlarging and widening perennial and shrub beds.  See a super easy way to get started here.  In shrub and perennial beds specially, this allows more room to accommodate for naturally growing shrubs.  It is also a very good thing to make your beds larger and diminish the amount of lawn.  Wildlife benefit from a variety of plants and rely on the food and shelter they provide.  I call large beds like these, ‘wildlife corridors’ as they are the highways that allow species to move thru the garden in the safety of cover from predators.

Houseplants are now ready to come back inside.  Here are some steps to follow before you bring them in.  I will add, it is better to bring them in before the heat is turned on inside.  This will reduce the shock of the change in their environment.

Recycle those leaves!  What a great resource nature provides, free!  If you have a large garden, these bounty can save you on compost, mulch, and plants. With a mulching mower, my husband runs over most of the leaves in the lawn.  I then collect all that is left and place then in my compost pile.  They are a good amendment for the soil, can be used as leaf mulch, or after they are shredded, can be left on the shrub beds for the winter just as nature intended.  By spring add mulch right on top for a more uniform neat look.  I have been doing this for some time as I write about it here

 

“A woodland in full color is awesome as a forest fire, in magnitude at least, but a single tree is like a dancing tongue of flame to warm the heart.”  ~Hal Borland

 

Container Gardening

A garden in an old tree stump.

Driving around town I come across so many ‘commercial landscapes’ – wonderful clean edging, neatly trimmed shrubs,  impeccable lawns, –  It all feels so impersonal somehow.  But add a few container plantings to these landscapes and the entire scene is transformed!  Colorful containers are like a ray of sunshine that attracts the eye and brightens the garden.  The plant combinations are as limitless as the color schemes, even black flowered Petunias and Violas, more on  that here,  which are all the rage.

Petunias, Heliotrope 'Fragrant delight', Sutera 'Gold and pearls' .

Whatever your style, from formal plantings to creative or funky container combinations, now is the time to put them together!  Some of my favorite annuals:  Heliotrope, with its purple fragrant clusters, Calibrachoa in an amazing array of colors, Sutera, a trailing beauty available in pinks, purples and white.  Do you have a favorite annual for containers?

Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.  ~John Ruskin