Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dedicated Gardener

A Dedicated Gardener (TM) stands at the edge of her newest bed and looks at the areas of freshly turned dirt.  Areas where she hurriedly planted bulbs this morning. 

There aren't enough of them, she thinks. 

She shivers in the cold wind.

Is there time to run up to the nearest bulb store and buy about 100 more daffodil bulbs and get them in before the N'orester arrives?

A drop of cold rain hits her nose.

She signs.  Guess not.

She hopes the weather next weekend is better.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Freaky Friday

It's the last Friday of October.  Late Fall, right?  The leaves are still on most of the trees.

So what is THIS?


I have to admit the pattern of ice on my windshield is nice to look at.  Not so nice to have to scrape off, though.  Time to clean out the garage so I can park inside again.

This better melt in time for me to plant the rest of my bulbs this weekend.  (see, this post does have something to do with gardening!)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Better Hurry!

The local weather is saying we might get the end of the world snow tonight.


I'd better hurry up with my fall end-of-season chores.

Like picking up these grape tomatoes so I don't have thousands of seedlings in the spring.

I cut back the sage by half and have the cuttings drying on a rack in the basement next to the rack of oregano.

[I say rack but I mean those nursery flats with a lot of holes in the bottom to allow for good air circulation.  Once you clean them they are great for drying herbs]

And there are the bulbs.  I picked up these forty tulips at Messelar Bulb Co last Saturday and put them in the ground on Sunday.  Messelar is just up the road from us so it's a quick drive up to their house and into what was probably originally a garage to look through racks and racks of bins.  Support your local business.  

[Of course they ship the bulbs in so maybe I'm supporting the Dutch Bulb Mafia.  I assume there is a Dutch Bulb Mafia but they intimidate all of the news sources so no one reports on them.  I means, really, if you were to admit you knew about them you would never, ever be able to buy bulbs again and they might come by in the middle of winter and dig up your precious plants before spring.  {Or is that squirrels?  Or do the squirrels work for the Dutch Bulb Mafia?  Inquiring minds want to know!}  Anyway I'm not taking a chance!  My official position is that there is NO Dutch Bulb Mafia.  {Please don't dig up my tulips.}]

The rest of my bulbs sit in a box in my office.  Brent and Becky shipped about a week too late so instead of being able to plant during the nice weather last weekend I'll be out in the forty degree weather on Sunday trying to get the bulbs in the ground before the ground freezes for the winter.


Strangely enough I'm already ready for spring...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's The End

It's The End.

No, not of the world.  That was Tuesday.

No, not of the vegetable garden.  That was a week or so ago.

It's the end.

Of the Water Year, that is.

I measure and report rainfall for a national organization called CoCoRaHS (the community collaborative rain, hail and snow network).  This is the where forecasters, weather reporters, climatologists and meteorologist go to find detailed information about small scale rainfall patterns (these can be used for things like drought monitoring, calibrating radar estimates of rainfall and who knows what all else).

This data used to be collected by the National Weather Service before budget cuts.

One of the perks is that at the end of the year I get a report that contains all of the data.

Here's my 2011 rainfall by month graph.  August was a wet month!  Well, we had one day with over three inches of rain and that pushed us out of the normal range.

This is great.  I had been recording rainfall in my garden journal.  And then I got neglectful of that information.  [And then I got neglectful about the everything else in the journal]  But NOW someone else has pulled the data together and I can use it to get an idea of why certain plants did well and others didn't.  Or that's the theory anyway.

The bad part about participating in CoCoRaHS - I also have to measure snowfall all winter.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The End is Nigh

The End is Nigh.

No, not the end of the world.  [that only occurs on Tuesdays [sorry that's a joke only a few people will get]]

Oh, I did post this on Tuesday.  Uh-oh.  So maybe the end of the world is coming.  But that's not what I'm talking about.  [I'm certain that given a cape and a nice tiara that I can save the world {quote from, possibly, Leigh Standly}]

The End is Nigh.

I'm talking about the end of the summer vegetable garden.

Doesn't this look bad?  The tomato plants have lost all their leaves.

The few tomatoes that are left all look diseased.

And they're falling off the vines.

The basil is done for.  Good thing I harvested a lot of this a few weeks back.  I only took half the plants because it is a shared garden.  Looks like I should've taken it all, frozen it and then shared it among the Wednesday Weeds and Wine Women.

No more Wednesday Weeds and Wine.  Darn it.  I guess we'll have to find another excuse to get together for Wine.  Wednesday Whines and Wine?  Saturday Snow and ...  is there a type of wine that begins with an S?  Hmmmmm.....

At least I still have some work to do in the perennial garden. 

The bulbs are coming!  The bulbs are coming!

They're due to ship on Wednesday.

Now I just have to remember where I planned to plant them....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

After missing Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for the past few months I'm back.  Will I be back next month, too?  Will I have anything blooming here in my New England garden?  These are the great mysteries of life.

Not surprisingly my Zinnias are still blooming.  Really love these that I started from seed.  I just need to find my notes about what they're called so I can start more next year.

Gaura is a reliable all season bloomer for me.  The bright pink variety is a little short lived compared to the white but it has a more upright structure and is currently covered in blooms.

This is a plant I thought was an annual when I bought it.  Now I even forget the name...  But it has bloomed all summer and the plant looks similar to a Scabiosa.

My scabiosa are still blooming, too.  Sorry I didn't take pictures of them this month.

There are a few blooms still on my Buddleia.  The late season butterflies are all over these - especially the migrating Monarchs.

Last year I planted a lot of different Rudbeckia.  Most of them failed to come back.  A few seedlings came up like this one (Cappucino).  I wish they had done better.  This is such a cheerful flower.

My Perovskia (Russian sage) is still putting out a few blooms.

My Agastache are starting to fade except for this one (var pinkus toolazytocheckmynotus)

I have a large area on the side of my house that doesn't have first floor windows.  So I went out and picked out a white blooming, pannicula type Hydrangea that gets to be between 8 and 10 foot tall.  Hmmm....  Think it might have been labeled wrong?

And lastly the star of the October garden - Aster October Skies.  Every fall I think I need more of these and the rest of the year I think about how large it gets and how it's only spectacular for a short period of time and...

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Garden for this meme.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Grass and Neighbors

Last summer many of my neighbors had massive die-offs of the grasses in their lawns.  This year many of them refurbished lawns, others just put up with an increasing number of weeds.

[Me?  Who's trying to get rid of the lawn in the front?  My grass looks great - just a few weeds, very healthy.  No sign of whatever problem the others had.  It's interesting that the lawns that were most affected seem to be the ones who were either professionally maintained or heavily managed by the homeowners and those of us who tolerate weeds and don't bother with pesticides or herbicides or synthetic fertilizers didn't have problems.]

Last weekend one of my neighbors rented a sod cutter and pulled up the grass in their front and side yards.

He's talking about wanting a lawn with grass of "one color."

[Hmmmm...  I bet he wouldn't like to know my source for clover seed, huh?]

I hope he doesn't start using more poisons to maintain a perfect monoculture.  Those chemicals might bother the little ecosystem I've created in my yard.  The ecosystem that is full of bugs and snakes and rabbits and birds and weeds and self-seeding perennials and color and movement.  Not to mention the probability that a compound that kills something (ie anything that ends in -cide) is going to have some effect on me and my family.  There are several suggestive studies tying professionally maintained chemlawns with cancer in dogs and overuse of pesticides with several neurological conditions and...  [I do wonder about the correlation between increased use of pesticides and herbicides with the increased rate of Autism - cause and effect or just coincidence?  I'd like to see a publication on this...]

[stepping off the soap box now.  More information?  Try Safelawns or Lawn Reform Coalition]

Let's end with a cheerful picture.

There.  I feel better, don't you?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Running Out of Time

How can it be October already?  I'm not ready!

Lately every time I have free time to work in the garden the weather has been nasty.

I'm behind on my weeding.

I'm behind deadheading plants.

If I don't deadhead this oregano I'll be pulling seedlings out of the garden all next year!

And my neighbors are replacing their grass so I guess I need to move this Caryopteris now instead of waiting till spring.  It kind of grew over the edge of my garden and into their yard.

Speaking [well, typing] of grass I need to remove this grass before next spring.  This is where my Aqueligia [the ones I ordered from England.  The Fragrant ones] will be going.  Gotta have a place to put them.

I thought fall in New England was supposed to be dry and cool.  What's with all the gray overcast and rain?  Bleh.

This guy agrees with me.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fall Showers

Fall is coming along very quickly now.  One of the last things I like to do before fall hits is take my houseplants outside and give them all a nice shower.

Wow.  That doesn't look like very many houseplants.

The plants all get a good hosing to get off the summer's dust.  Then I weed out those that haven't done well over the summer and send the rejects to the compost bin.

That's one of the great things about plants.  If you don't like them you don't have to feel guilty about sending them to the compost bin.  They don't have feelings or nervous systems so there is no suffering involved.

And then you get to buy new plants.

Anyone have a purple Anthurium you want to get rid of?