Sunday, October 31, 2010


I really like Halloween.  It's one of my favorite holidays.  Candy, tacky decoration, candy, dressing up in silly costumes, candy...  

 You should see this at night with all the orange lights.  People drive by just to see this house.

And living on The Edge we're right next door to Salem Massachusetts, home of Halloween!  

But we must remember the True Spirit of Halloween - celebrating the poorly understood creatures that people used to fear.

Things like this Garter Snake.  A great garden resident.  People used to be irrationally afraid of snakes but now we recognize that they are important in pest control and fascinating in their own right.

And creatures like the bat.  [Sorry I don't have any bat photos, this necklace I picked up in Salem will have to do.]   There used to be a belief that bats will dive bomb you and get caught in your hair.  As if!  What would be their motivation?  Are they frustrated reincarnated hairdressers?  Now we know that bats eat a lot of nocturnal insects like mosquitoes.

How about black cats?  Bad luck?  Well, this is our diabetic cat so she's been bad luck for our budget but she is daddy's girl and is very sweet and affectionate to him.  Me?  She tolerates me.  [Maybe I should rethink this black cat thing...]

Spiders frighten people even today.  Again, I'm not sure why.  Most spiders don't have big enough fangs to do damage to a person and even if they did they wouldn't bite someone unless they were picked up.  Hopefully soon we will be able to put this fear behind us as a society.

And, we can't forget, witches.  Salem has a high concentration of witches as defined by either those who practice the Wicca religion or those who dress in silly hats for Halloween.  Neither of which are fear worthy.

So what is the spirit of Halloween?  Reminding us of things that we don't really need to be afraid of.   [Please don't spoil my optimism by pointing out that some people are still afraid of certain types of animals.  We don't need to be afraid of them.  We need to be afraid of Politicians.  They're Real Evil!]

And the annual pumpkin carving contest.  See entries below.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Fall is the season when Compost falls from the sky.



But look down and many of the shrubs and perennials also have wonderful fall color.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

270 down, 80 to go

I'm talking about bulbs.  This morning, after a weekend of sneezing and snuffling, the weather is warm and at least partly sunny so I dragged myself out of the house and sat on the ground and planted bulbs.  Two hundred and eighty of them to be exact [I hope I have enough energy left to go to work this afternoon but let's be honest, which is more important, a job or getting bulbs planted?].

My main focus this morning was the Hell Strip.  I planted 100 dwarf iris and 110 crocus all along this stretch.  That made for easy planting.  Take the trowel, dig a hole, dump in some bulbs, fill the hole and scootch down the sidewalk to the next spot.  Like the obsessed bulb gardener who has so many bulbs to plant I didn't mark where I put anything.  It will all be a surprise in the spring!

Then I moved to the Death Zone.  This is a small area where everything I plant does poorly or dies.  I think it's the street tree roots that are causing such a problem.  So I planted "annual" bulbs - 60 tulips.  I have three different types so I dumped them all in a bucket and just grabbed them at random.  Should make for a nice mixed planting.  I think they all bloom at the same time and the colors work together.  Should be pretty.

Still to go eighty more, mostly daffodils and some species tulips.  They're for the Mad Garden.  I want to get daffodils intersperses with the perennials before the perennials get so big that planting bulbs would seriously disturb their roots.

After that - bulbs for forcing!  Woo-hoo!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekend Plans

It's late October and up here in New England there are only a few garden chores left to do.  This weekend is one of the big ones.

Bulb planting!

Last night my box from Brent and Becky's arrived.  The dogs got excited [ok, so they were excited because the UPS guy is one of their mortal enemies and they had to bark loudly to defend the house], I got excited and The Husband [henceforth known as The Wet Blanket] asked "do you know where these are all going?"  Seriously.  That was the FIRST thing out of his mouth.  Not "oooh, what did you get this year" or "wow, the garden is going to look great in the spring."  He just doesn't get Gardening.

I ordered about 260 bulbs from Brent and Becky's (tulips, crocus, dwarf iris) but about two weeks ago a neighbor and I went up the road to Messelaar bulbs and raided their bins.  This is where I picked up the daffodils for the Mad Garden (that I put in this year) and some hyacinths and freesia for forcing.  [The neighbor and I are splitting the big bag of daffodils.]  

The Husband sees a lot of work.  I see hope for a beautiful Spring.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I give up...

I can't deny it anymore.  Summer is gone.  Over with.  The garden is progressing into the quiet of the winter garden.  The season when I focus on houseplants (indoor gardening) and planning and plotting (where can I expand my gardens next spring?).

I did not manage to get all my basil harvested before it got cold damaged.  

These tomatoes will never ripen on the vine.

My Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) will not bloom this year.  Actually I left it outside so late I'm not sure it will survive.  I brought it in today and soon it will drop all its leaves and go into dormancy until Spring.  Good thing that I like the shape of this plant since I didn't get any blooms off it this summer.

But gardening season is not over.  My bulbs from Brent and Becky's are on the delivery truck to be delivered today!  I'll add those to the bag in the garage and I have a busy gardening weekend coming up.

And there are still a few blooms to enjoy before it's time to hibernate.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Today really feels like the end of gardening season.  Sure, I still have bulbs to plant.  Sure, I still have a few plants in full bloom.  Sure, it's not time to steal leaves from the neighbors for the compost bin.  But we've got a strong Nor'easter coming through.  It's windy, rainy and the temperature is supposed to drop into the 40s this afternoon.  Brrr!

This poor bee certainly feels the weather.  Solitary bees spend cold weather wherever they happen to be when the temperature drops.  This one landed on the window screen.

Let me in!  It's cold out here!

There's still food for the bees, though.  Especially on my Aster (Symphotricium) October Skies.

The Solidago (Goldenrod) is a bit past it's peak. 

But the Pineapple Sage is going strong!  And it attracted that late season hummingbird.

My Rudbeckia (several types) and Marigolds are still looking pretty good.  The seeds will be eaten by the local birds (especially the Goldfinches) so I'll leave the spent flower heads.  Hopefully the birds will eat a lot of the seeds and they won't reseed too prolifically.

The Rosemary has offered up a few blooms.  Soon it will be time to bring this plant indoors for the winter.  Fresh rosemary on the Thanksgiving turkey anyone?

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams for this Meme.  Next month?  Probably flowering houseplants. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Miscellaneous Monday

One of my best friends is coming to town next weekend.  It will be her first visit to The Edge and I'm both excited and apprehensive.  Excited because I haven't seen her in two years (she lives in California), apprehensive because my garden does not look it's best at this time of the year.

Sure my Aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) October Skies is in full bloom [note to self - buy more of these next year!].

I've got a beautiful pot of ornamental peppers waiting by the door.

And my hollies are full of berries already.

But my Solidago (goldenrod) is past it's prime and likely to go down hill this week.

And I'm not a big fan of fall cleanup in the garden.  I like to leave certain plants to reseed like this Asclepias tuberosa.

Hopefully this Zinnia will reseed (who needs to buy annuals yearly?)

Other plants I leave the seed heads for the birds, like on this Rudbeckia Cappuccino.

Still others I leave the seed heads because they look interesting.  Have you ever seen anything like this Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum)?

But the California Girl is coming to see me.  And the fall foliage.
Like this Fothergillia.

She's never lived anywhere with a True Fall so we'll be driving around a lot, looking at trees.  Should be near peak fall color here.  It's not a great foliage year due to the dry summer but I'm sure we'll find something worth looking at.

In other news I finally got around to harvesting my carrots.  

I've only grown carrots once before and that was a dismal failure (in thick Carolina Clay soil) so I was very surprised to find these under ground.  I'll save some for you, California Girl!

I'm still procrastinating on the Basil harvest.  We haven't had a frost yet (knock wood) but we're over due so I'm really pushing it.  I need to harvest it, grind it up in some olive oil to make a pesto base and freeze it.  Better get to that soon or it will be too late!

So I have a lot to do both in the garden and in the house to get ready for company.  Besides mowing the lawn, dead heading what I'm willing to dead head, planting fall annuals like mums and pansies (if I can find any), and re-asphalting the driveway and sidewalk I also want to get the guest bedroom painted, the office painted, the houseplants trimmed up and a couple of them repotted, clean the house, train the dogs to be better behaved, renovate both bathrooms, lose twenty pounds...

Do you think I'll have time for all of that?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Late Hummingbird

My gardens have been blessed by a late hummingbird.  It's past the season when hummingbirds are easily found here in New England.  Many of these late season hummingbirds turn out to be unusual species.  I think this one is a "common" Ruby-throated hummingbird.  One great plant to attract these late hummingbird is Pineapple Sage.  The other plants she's been feeding on include several Agastache species, Salvia nemerosa and possibly Russian Sage.  Only the Pineapple Sage is in peak bloom but she doesn't seem to mind that the other plants are past their peak.

The pictures were taken through the window so they're a big hazy.

When photographing birds I always worry about Bird Flew.