Fall Finale

October 28, 2012

Some people are getting their Halloween costumes ready.  Here is how the garden is dressing up.

A lot of the nasturtiums died earlier in the frost, but those that survived have come back beautifully.  The variety of Nasturtium flower colors always amazes me.

Chrysanthemum ‘fantasy.’  This plant only produced a few flowers this year.  I love the colors and detail, though.

A bee rests on an aster.  I don’t know if the bee was resting because night was coming or because winter is coming and it was cold.

Garden cleanup exposed this community of mushrooms.  I think that means that something is rotting underground.  Maybe it is the roots of the silver maple that used to be in this area.

Winter Rye.  Last week I mentioned that I planted winter rye as a cover crop.  We had perfect weather for germination and after eight days here is what the shoots looked like.  However, after reading some blogs on this I hope the rye won’t be a nuisance in the spring, since I tend to plant early.

I have been trying to get a picture of the newest visitor to the garden.  This cat seems to enjoy spending quite a bit of time sleeping behind some of the shrubs and I had trouble getting a good shot.  The wildlife in my garden will need to beware with this new predator stalking.  The fothergilla bush on the right always is beautiful in the fall, though was hard to capture well this year.

Other activities this weekend included planting a few daffodil bulbs and mulching up a lot of leaves for our compost pile!

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Fall Foliage Close Ups

October 14, 2012

Here are a few of the colors in the garden now.

Virginia creeper turns red.  I just planted this plant this summer, but enjoy seeing the color across the yard.  I hope it will spread out more on the fence next year.

Here is the little American Hornbeam tree we planted in September.  In several years it will have a beautiful fall display.  In the background you can see the still green lilac and the yellow vernal witch hazel shrub.

Looking the other way is the vernal witch hazel with the red American Hornbeam in the background.  Farther back you can see the spice bush starting to turn yellow.

Another picture of ‘top hat’ blueberry and ‘wonder of staffa’ asters.

We have two burning bush shrubs in the yard that are turning red now.

Even the compost pile gets colorful – purple rhubarb leaf.

I planted a native grass, ‘little bluestem,’ last summer.  I did not think it had survived this year until I saw the red stalks that identified it in my little meadow this fall.

The ‘Chicago Lustre’ viburnum shrubs are still green and some of the last to change color.  I believe we planted these in the fall of 2007 and they were about three feet tall then.  Five years later they are between six and seven feet tall and could grow quite a bit more.

Planting, Harvesting, Savoring

September 30, 2012

We are gradually building up the shrub border around the house.  Two weeks ago we planted a few bushes from Possibility Place and need to keep watering them so they get settled in before winter.

First we had to move two arborvitae from their current spots to this corner of the garden to make a threesome of trees.  We were able to leave the small hydrangea here and hope it grows more next year in the shade.

Then we planted this vernal witch hazel, hamamelis vernalis, between the two lilacs.

Carpinus Caroliniana – American Hornbeam – Blue Beach.  These are all names for this bush, which will eventually be a small tree.  We planted two of these on the west fence and hope it will block the view of the neighbor’s garage.  It’s pretty small now, though!

Top Hat Blueberry.  We planted this in the container this spring, so we have not had any blueberries yet.  Hopefully this will make it through the winter.  I will need to do some research to ensure that.  Asters in the background.

Another aster that is blooming is purple dome, with fireworks goldenrod in the background.

Chrysanthemum ‘Overture.’  I planted them this spring and they are the first mums to bloom in my garden this fall.  They are red with a yellow center, though not a true red.

We pulled up the first sweet potato vine last weekend and found one decent sized sweet potato and a few small ones.  The flavor was good, though a small portion.

Today we baked an apple, oatmeal, raisin dessert and earlier in the day we made up some spicy watermelon gazpacho.  We keep experimenting with vegetarian recipes.  Yesterday Dan made bean, corn, and avocado enchiladas, which were great!

September Sedum

September 18, 2012

The sedum really attract the pollinators.  Bees, flies, butterflies and moths, and other assorted bugs and spiders camp out on the sedum.

Several Mourning Cloak butterflies spent many hours sipping nectar on the sedum on Sunday afternoon.  This is the first time I have identified them.

The skipper butterflies also love the sedum.

The goldenrod soldier beetles move from plant to plant and now mate on the sedum.  They are not so visible on the black-eyed susans, but stand out here, and there are so many of them.  I did see a large praying mantis on the fence on Sunday, so maybe they are mating now, too.

There were several grasshoppers on the curly kale.  They watched me while I took pictures.

The white boltonia is is full bloom.

Asters with german thyme and silver thyme.  This aster is “Wonder of Staffa.”

Red berries on hicksii yew.  If these stay on all winter they will be very pretty.

Morning in the Garden

August 11, 2012

On Friday evening after work I like to clean up the garden and fill the bird baths.  I deadhead the flowers and harvest the vegetables.  Then when I get up on Saturday morning I am ready to take pictures.  It is best before full sun.

Phlox is blooming all over the garden.  It seeds itself more each year and last year the pink phlox appeared for the first time.  In the background you can see the Blue Hill Salvia.  I cut it back in June and now it is starting to bloom again.

Coreposis ‘Early Sunrise’

The purple veronica spike speedwell is also coming back after being cut back in June.  The white alyssum carpet of snow is an annual that seeds itself around the yard.  It fills in nicely when other flowers die down over the summer.

Next to the veronica is the Little Bunny Pennisetum, which is a dwarf fountain grass.  Generally it has not done well in the garden, but is looking cute this year.

Wonder of Staffa Aster

The asters squeeze in behind the gaillardia and in front of the big canna plant.  I am enjoying the two different thyme plants on the front of this garden.  Also, you can see the sweet potato vine coming on the ground behind the canna.  It was growing up the middle of one of the yew shrubs and I put it on the ground.  I am hoping for sweet potatotes eventually!

The butterfly weed seed pods have opened and the seeds fly away on these silky tufts of fluff.  Always box elder bugs on this plant.