Two days ago, the garden had a dusting of snow and fall color still showed. This morning, the garden looked like the picture above. I guess we are just skipping the transition of fall. A Nor'easter blew through Saturday evening leaving wet, heavy snow covering everything. I am not sure why we have power. Probably the hurricane in August broke the weakest branches and prevented them from falling on the wires. The small trees have taken a beating. They are bending to the ground. I anticipate most will bounce back to shape but only time will tell. The climbing hydrangea looked so lush and fine in July but today, the scene is a bit lacking in color. Winter has its own beauty as does spring, summer and autumn but this is just out of sync. The tomato cages are stacked but not yet put away. The snow highlights them creating an instant art installation. Rocky the Rooster is also in fine relief after the storm. He guards the tomato patch during the summer. Our first frost is usually around the 1st of October. Our first appreciable snowfall is usually in December. Last year we had a good amount of snow on November 8th. Mother Nature sure knows how to keep us from getting bored. The sun is out and it is melting fast. Now, in the spirit of the tradition of Halloween, here is a scary spider to get you in the mood for trick or treating. Happy halloween everyone. This year, the trick seems to be on us.
This is what the garden looked like this morning. We skipped the first hard frost and went right to snowfall. The zinnias and the Spanish flag are still blooming. Time will tell if they will succumb to this cold spell. It was 29F here this morning and the roads were coated with ice. Rumor has it that sand trucks were out. This must be a record for them although last year we had an appreciable snowfall on November 8th. Mother Nature has forgotten how important it is for a gradual transition of temperatures in order for plants to acquire hardiness. We have had a nice fall with very mild weather and a good amount of moisture. The days are getting quite short as we head to the winter solstice. There are still bulbs left to plant and hoses and pots to be gathered and put away for the winter. Is the weather in your garden normal for this time of year?
Today in the garden the shadows were long. The corn patch is tilled and planted with rye. Yes, it was planted a bit late but it has been warm and no frost has graced the garden yet. The rye has not germinated yet but since we had heavy rain on Thursday and today promises more sun and warmth, I expect to see it by Monday. The native sassafras clump behind the bird house, on the other side of the wall, is one of the few patches of fall color in the garden this year.
Last year it was brilliant but this year, so far, it is just a dull yellow. Fall 2010The leaves of the sassafras, Sassafras albidum, are smooth oval in their youth but they mature to a three lobed form at maturity. I have read that the Sassafras tree is an important food for white tailed deer. I wish the deer would stay on the back side of the wall and leave the garden on the front alone. Deer are just as opportunistic as a Sassafras clump.
Vegetable garden - Last year in October
Confession time. I failed at keeping the vegetable garden in prime condition this summer. It has become a tangled mass of rampant, wild, twisted weeds. This slide into depravity happened gradually and almost imperceptibly and toward the end of the summer. I blame Irene. Irene arrived with a fury at the end of August. She whipped the tomatoes into mush. She tangled the squash vines and saturated the ground. She sapped the energy of the gardener and stole the power for over a week.
Vegetable garden this year in October
For days, the EM, the dogs and I were at the mercy of the length of the days. After the first four days with no power, water or night lights we left for the wilds of Maine where 'off the grid' living is the norm. A generator runs the shower and lights. The outhouse handles the daily essentials. There is a hot shower on demand. The comforts of a porcelain toilet and a hot shower should not be taken for granted. Irene did make me a bit more grateful in some respects. I digress, mostly because of the embarrassment of letting the gardens slide back to nature. In August I did plant a late crop of carrots. I found them this week. I also planted butter lettuce and swiss chard. Unfazed by the weeds, they appeared after the weeding. I had a few fingerling potatoes left in the garden. Bounty! It felt like a prize when I uncovered them while pulling and tugging and neatening up the beds. There is more to do but now, with the fragrance of soil in my nostrils and the clean beds begging for a bit of compost, I am filled with the anticipation of next year's perfection in the vegtable garden. It will be productive and beautiful. Of course it will. Did you manage to keep all gardens neat and tidy this year? I vow to do so next year.
Bloom Day in October is usually after a first frost but not this year. It has been warm here in southern New England. The dahlias are still blooming and the annuals, while showing the effects of lower light, continue to provide spots of color here and there. Here is a collage of October bloomers. Click on picture to enlarge
A big thank you to Carol of May Dreams for hosting this monthly event. It is so much fun to see what is blooming in other gardens around the world.
Three weeks into fall, the weather feels like summer. Clear and warm, the temperatures are no indicators of this season. The aging flowers on the hydrangea and the lengthening shadows do tell the tale as do the ornamental grasses which have their fall plumes. No frost has yet appeared on the pumpkins here and the dahlias are still going strong since they flower better, more profusely and have longer stems for cutting during the shorter days of this season. There does seem to be a crowd gathering around the fish pond. I think these guys are croaking in approval of the weather. Nice weather does make getting those necessary fall chores done a bit more quickly. The gray, cold weather will be here soon and with it comes an energy lull. I am going out into the garden right now. What chores are you doing this week?
My son named this plant 'Cousin It'. Cousin It is from 'The Addam's Family' which was a hit in the 60's. I was just a child then so he must have been watching re-runs to make this connection. It does bear some resemblance. He noticed it from the living room window. It has taken over the bird feeder post with vining, thick tendrils and it has been late to bloom. Frost is imminent here and I was a bit concerned that I would not see any flowers but they are appearing and they are worth the wait. Spanish flag is a common name for this plant and the Latin name, Ipomoea lobata shows its relation to its cousin, the morning glory, Ipomoea tricolor. This reminds me that I did not plant 'Heavenly Blue' this year and now I miss it. Maybe these two would look interesting twining together. I guess late bloom is normal with this family of plants. 'Heavenly Blue' takes its sweet time blooming for me. I will plant this one again. It is a bit unusual and the flowers are quite lovely. Have any of you grown Spanish flag? Did it bloom late for you?