Okay, there is not a bee in sight in my garden here in the northwest corner of Rhode Island but that doesn't mean I am not thinking of them along with the birds and the butterflies and the flowers they love. The butterflies are also long gone but the birds are flitting about the cotoneaster and the bird feeders. I do have many bird houses about the garden and I have mason bees. They like to drill holes in the eaves of the house and the shed to lay their eggs. I really would rather they pick somewhere else to get this task accomplished. As a gardener and a nature lover I do sometimes receive gifts for birthdays and holidays which are meant to reflect my love of both. They are always appreciated. Any of these shelters from Gardener's Supply would be welcome in my garden. They are attractive as well as havens for some of the wildlife here. I was recently asked by Gardener's Supply to participate in one of their product giveaways.They sent me three wonderful, organic looking bamboo items. A bird house, a butterfly shelter and a mason bee house. All are offered on the Gardener's Supply website and they can be purchased together or separately there. Do you have mason bees? They are workhorses in the pollination department and many of the species are native to the United States. You can learn more about them here or here. I don't mind them when they are buzzing about the small, round openings they have created in my rafters. They are solitary creatures. I would prefer them to make their homes elsewhere. I have seen them burrow into the east facing wood and the west facing wood and some holes are under an overhang while others are just slightly recessed in a fascia board. With the help of Gardener's Supply, I am giving away some of the mason bee houses right here, right now. To enter, leave a comment below about the bees in your garden. Winners will receive one of these bamboo mason bee houses shipped directly from Gardener's Supply. You have almost a whole week to leave a comment but you must live in the USA and you must be over 18. Winners will be chosen at random on December 23rd. Make sure you leave your email address when you share a comment so that I may contact you.
Note: Gardener's Supply sent me the three bamboo shelters at no cost to me and they will provide the winning prizes. Many thanks to them. I would also like to note that I have purchased directly from them on many occasions and they deliver with great customer support.
The grass is still green here...when it is visible. We have had two rather small snow events and right now there is no snow left on the garden. The witch hazel is 'last man standing' so to speak. This native, Hamamelis virginiana, has a very long bloom span. It takes little notice of the cold and continues to add a bit of brightness to the dulling landscape. I have been puttering a bit outside. Last week I planted garlic and raked the final drops from the oak trees. I also pulled all but two containers inside. Most of them I empty, sort and stack. There are a few I drag into the barn and put them under lights where they remain all winter. Two large cordylines are in there and a few more pots, two with dormant Eucomis in them. These plants would be expensive to replace and they do survive, if not thrive with this treatment. Since last week was Thanksgiving I hunted for material for an arrangement for the table and one for the wall in the bathroom.
I managed to pull together assorted greenery and purple beautyberries but there was no real focal point so I purchased white alstroemeria. These flowers may come from a far away field but they do last quite a long time in an arrangement. I cheated with them just a bit. I am working at 'Slow Flowers'. I promise to write about that subject in the near future. For now, enjoy the small treasures you find in the garden. They might be overlooked in the summer when color is abundant.
All I can say is that it is way too early for snow. As you can see, there are still leaves on this Parrotia persica. The snow will melt fast and it is pretty but it is too soon. I was also gifted with this rabbit this morning. There were two actually and since there are no dogs here now (a very sad state of affairs) they are becoming quite a regular sight. As for the snow, it is the poor man's fertilizer. I will enjoy its short stay. The rabbits may wear out their welcome though.
There are few things glowing in the garden in late October. The Japanese maples are the last of the trees to share their radiant colors and they are just in time for Halloween. This small red maple is planted along the drive under the canopy of a white pine grove. Its name has long been forgotten. The name of this yellow Acer palmatum "Omurayama' is one I happen to remember for some unknown reason. These maples sit in relative anonymity during the summer months although they both have remarkable textural interest for those who pay attention to such things. In the fall, they complement one another as you can see. Behind the fishpond bench shiny tulip bulbs have been planted for spring entertainment. This is a parrot tulip called 'Rococo'. It is described as 'cardinal red with purple and green feathering'. Very appropriate for a parrot tulip. Just in front of the bench, between the flat field stones of the patio, there is a quiet cover of moss which is as inviting as a Persian carpet. It is a bit too chilly to walk barefoot on that moss now that cool weather has descended but sitting on the bench, contemplating the scene, is quite meditative. The grasses by the pond are shining in the lower angle of sunlight creating a sharp vertical element next to the velvet carpet. A short distance away, the purple beautyberry stands out among the shrubs in the back border. This one is Callicarpa japonica. Thereare several species and cultivars available and this shrub can now be found in many gardens. That purple, well, it is quite royal I think. The berries of this shrub do not persist throughout the winter but they do add needed drama at the end of the season. Here in Rhode Island the days are getting shorter and the angle of the sun is much lower in the sky. The chipmunks are very busy running to and fro to their stone wall which frames the garden. There are just a few acorns this year and they are busy claiming them for their stash. There are still chores to be done but I feel like hibernating already. The next big drama could very well be the first snowfall. I hope there is something in between purple berries and white snow. The garden always makes me wait and see for myself.
Frost signals a seasonal finale. The exuberance of the garden is gone and the gardener is left with subtleties. The small blooms and berries of fall would be overlooked in the abundance of the summer garden but late in the season, after the frost, their significance increases. Who would even notice the tiny purple flowers which develop on the mint plant if they were to appear among the peonies, roses and delphiniums? Color has shifted from outrageous orange to warm bronze and copper. The bright foliage of the maples is now underfoot. Scuffling through this debris brings the scent of childhood and the memories of raking the bounty into a plan view of a child's home. Doors, windows, kitchen and living room all made flat on the ground with neat rows of raked leaves. How powerful is the scent of fall? It is transporting. Mom and I walked through the leaves in her yard yesterday and reminisced on those long ago days of childhood. She has seen 91 autumns, a feat many of us will never achieve but one to which we can aspire if only to gain a bit more knowledge of the garden and the seasonal cycles. This season has been one of bounty. The last of the tomatoes are in the trug and the vegetable garden is holding some late season treasures. Fall tomatoes are not perfect but their tang is as appreciated as that of the very first tomato. Swiss chard, kale, brussel sprouts all shrug off the first frosts of the season.The last flower and the last fruit of this season's garden is close at hand and all are treasured along with the knowledge gained from the passing of yet another season.
The summer really is gone and there is the sweet smell of decay in the air. There has been no frost here yet which is a bit unusual although blackened foliage in the valley a mile away tells a different tale. The star of the fall garden in New England really is foliage but I do have some late blooming annuals and perennials which just hate to give up and they do add some late drama to the landscape. There are few of us who don't have the 'Pink Sheffield' chrysanthemum starting to bloom. Its apricot flowers blend well with the bronze, copper and reds of fall. The hydrangea flowers and foliage are quite an attraction for the local white tail deer but there are a few which have escaped their attention. This Hydrangea 'Vanilla Strawberry' started to bloom in late June and has not been without a bloom since. It can be a bit irregular in growth but a quick snip with the pruners shapes it nicely. Tiger Eye Sumac often turns a quick, drab brown but this year it has some nice color. This Perennial Trumpet Spurflower, Rabdosia longituba, has arching stems and airy panicles of pendant flowers. It does not photograph well but in the landscape it is almost black light blue and glowing. It grows in dry shade in my garden and is worth seeking out in mail order catalogs. Yesterday it was quite warm here and the butterflies were active. It has been a while since I have seen monarchs here but there were several in the garden. This one is gathering nectar from the Verbena bonariensis. Fall is upon us and the sleeping lady is ready with her garland of sedum flowers. I look forward to seeing your bloom post. Leave me a link via comments and I will visit your garden this Bloom Day. Many thanks to Carol of May Dreams for hosting yet another Bloom Day.
I take them for granted, these ferns. They seem to be impervious to deer, drought and drenches. They form large colonies and they are a problem if they invade the perennial border. I pull some out each spring but I leave those along the driveway and also those that crop up in crevices which would be seem to defy any robust plant growth. Robust they are though. This fern is Dennstaedtia punctilobula or the hayscented fern. It is deciduous and it is at the end of its growth cycle. It turns yellow and then brown and then it disappears under a heavy snow. I do take them for granted but now, they remind me of their presence with the golden light they share brightening the woodland on a drismal day. I think the fall color is a bit early this year. Usually it peaks around the second week of October but already the bright bits and pieces are appearing along with large swarths of color. It seems to happen overnight. This Virginia Creeper is also a native and it loves to climb the white pines. Along with the coloring of the foliage, there are a few bits of color left in the garden. The monkshood is blooming as are the toadlilies and the bright pink of persicaria. This one has bloomed steadily since early July. It is Persicaria amplexicaulus 'Golden Arrow'. Behind it is a Hosta 'Stained Glass' which is one of the few the deer have not nibbled to stalks. There won't be much left to see here in just a month. Well, perhaps the ryegrass which is up in the former corn patch. It is quite green. I cannot complain. I did pick another basket of tomatoes today. October 1st and tomatoes are still ripening. The vines are pretty tattered and most have blackened but the fruit is ripening. It was a good harvest this year.
I am not sure how it happened. Summer is gone and today is the first full day of fall. I thought it the perfect summer. Many would disagree. It was clear and not overly hot. The tomatoes loved it. Lots of bright sunshine brought a huge harvest. The flowers loved it. This gardener loved it. Still, the weeds crept into the borders in late July. It happens every year despite my resolve to keep at it. No matter. There is much to keep one busy in summer. You can see the coloration beginning. The poison ivy which receives the morning light is one of the first plants to color up. The colchicums bloom, the spiders are busy spinning away and the lower light causes deep shadows and nice back-lighting. This morning the temperatures dipped for the first time into the 30's. High 30's, no frost yet. I cannot say that I am ready for a frost but there is the smell of damp decay in the air and the days are shorter. Night is coming a bit more swiftly. It is time to set the mouse traps. They will be trying to share the warmth inside. I will attempt to thwart their efforts. The border has a few flowers left. The deer have started cutting back the hostas. It is so kind of them. I never see them but they leave their mark. They are foraging for the long, cold months and I cannot say I blame them but there is a field out back just for them. If only they would stay there. Fall in New England is usually lovely. I will have to wait and see what it has to offer this year. I hope it is long and warm. Hoping is the gardener's trademark after all.
Bloom Day has arrived clear and cool. The end of summer has been quite dry and the gardens are showing a bit of wear and tear. Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' is blooming at seven feet tall. It will grow taller but I pinched it in late June to keep it from falling over. The bees do love it.While I was sleeping the colchicums appeared in the garden. They are a sweet surprise. Lilac is usually a spring color but it is a welcome addition to the late summer garden.Aster 'Alma Potschke' is wearing her bright magenta sweater. She needs it as it is a bit chilly this morning. Unlike mid-summer when there are large drifts of color in the garden, the late summer garden has bright spots and lots of texture. This annual verbena has reseeded throughout the garden and it shines this time of year. Each flower is small, just an inch or two across but they wave in the breeze and add a very whimsical look to the borders and vegetable garden.Flowers are wonderful, they feed the spirit but this Berkeley Tie Die tomato is beautiful and also makes a great BLT. I find the flavor full with bright acidity and a hint of the earth. It is one of my new favorites. I hope that this Bloom Day finds your garden full and lush. Many thanks to Carol of May Dreams for another day of flowers.