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November 2007

October 2007

Spiders and Witches, pumpkins and gourds!

High 63 F
Low 30.6F

In honor of Halloween this spider web appeared in the garden.  It was a few days ago but it does look spooky doesn't it?

Today I stopped at The Farmer's Daughter in Kingston, RI  and took some pictures of their seasonal display and characters.  They have gourds and pumpkins in every shape and size!  The topiary containers have been dressed for fall Dsc_0098 as has this urn. Dsc_0104 The characters are all unique and they have been dressed up in thrift store outfits which look pretty good! Some of these outfits look much better than my gardening outfits! Dsc_0095 Here we have the blond Prairie

Woman. Dsc_0096 Next is her companion who seems to be losing the battle with the weeds!  Here we have The Count.Dsc_0105

He is quite fashionable in his aubergine suit complimented by the surrounding pumpkins. Dsc_0120 Last but not least is 'The Widow'.  She has a great hat!  Dsc_0115 The field of pumpkins with all the tractors behind them is an interesting picture and the tractors will surely get the attention of the Equipment Manager and his fellow tractor lovers but sometimes the simplicity of just cornstalks and pumpkins is the most satisfying display! Dsc_0106 Happy Halloween to all of you!


Jack Frost!

High 46.4
Low  25.0 F

Nasturtium leaves
Jack Frost visited and stayed so long that it wasn't just the first heavy frost but a decent freeze!  25 degrees is pretty cool and all the impatiens are mush today!  It is a bit harder to focus the camera with a hot cup of coffee in hand so  I do apologize for some of these shots but as the frost is fleeting, I will have to wait until another to re-take them and some of the frost crystals are so pretty.
Geranium leaves
The back field was very white this morning the the deer were munching in the rye grass near my new shrub border.  They had better mind their manners and the deer spray lest they suffer from lead poisoning.  I am trying to live with them but it is a two way street and they had better have some  respect!
Dsc_0086 I have to say that with the frost comes a bit of relief from the unending list of garden chores to perform...not that I have done any lately, just that at this time of year, other than planting the bulbs, partially done, bringing in the houseplants, done, and  bringing in the garden ornaments,not even started, most chores can and will wait for a nice Indian Summer day or next year.  Dsc_0092 I will miss the outside work and the summer beauty of the gardensDsc_0091 but that stroll in the morning with the coffee and camera is very pleasant in the brisk morning air of this season.  This shot is the fish pond area which needs work. Dsc_0094 I have yet to dig out the Iris pseudacorus which seems to be taking over the edge of the pond.  I do love the buff colors of this time of year.  Tucker just likes to be outside! 


Backyard visitors!

High 56F
Low  38.3 F

Fall marches on!
The leaves are well past peak now and they are blowing everywhere!   It was another busy weekend with little garden activity on my part at least.   Coffee on Saturday morning with a view from the window yielded  this scene. Two_deer   I have complained about deer eating everything in sight but this morning they were browsing on the plethora of acorns under this pin oak.  Thousands of acorns were produced by this tree this year.   Deer love acorns. Deer_in_the_acorns_2 I sprayed the new shrub border just this past week so their attention was definitely on these nuts.  I do love to watch these creatures but my goal is to keep them out of the yard and in the back field where they won't even be tempted by the perennials in the garden.  I need to mix another batch of spray.  I usually rotate the kinds of spray which I use.  This last batch was Liquid Fence which, if you take a deep whiff, can actually produce that gag reflex which is so unwelcome.  Once dried on the foliage it loses its' foetid fragrance.  The next round will be Deer Stopper which has a pleasant clove like smell.   Mom_and_friend_2 I have read that deer have a scent gland between their toes.  They leave a scent of fear or welcome depending on their experience. I would like to have them leave that fear scent which would warn the other deer to stay away.  Job_foreman
Tucker, Job Foreman!
The job foreman is little threat to the deer.  He will chase them to the wall line but he knows that they run too fast and who knows what he would do with one if he got close enough to touch it.   He often doesn't see them from his low vantage point but he will pick up their scent and race around with nose to the ground.  It is a challenge to co-exist with these beautiful but destructive creatures.   If only I enjoyed a good venison roast!   Not my favorite meal so I will just continue to spray the perimeter and hope they find acorns elsewhere.


Houseplant mania!

This past weekend I worked on re-potting, dividing, and potting up some cuttings taken from summer annuals and houseplants.

Dsc_0005Table 1

  Now what do I do?  I have all these houseplants and not enough room in the house! Dsc_0006
Table 2 with the Job Foreman once again looking bored!
I guess it is time to share!  It is no lie that my house is much smaller than my garden.  That is okay with me but the greenhouse space, which should be big enough to house many of these plants, Dsc_0007
Table 3
is the office which makes for a very nice work space but leaves little room for flora.   I am going to try to cram some in the house this weekend.   Many of these are houseplants which have spent the summer outside on the patio.  There are quite a few begonias of various types, some streptocarpus which needed dividing, a couple of scented geraniums which I took cuttings from a month or so ago along with coleus and salvia.  I do enjoy the indoor garden and will probably detail some of these as they start to thrive inside.  If they don't thrive you won't see them again and they will hit the compost pile!  Is anyone else bringing the houseplants in for the winter?   


Seasonal displays!

High 80 F
Low  54 F


We are back with summer like temperatures today.  I hear that you cannot call it Indian Summer until after the first hard frost.  We have had a very light frost but the basil is still edible  and while the annuals are looking shaggy, the grass is still growing!  Last week in my travels I visited Cataldo Garden Center in Littleton, MA.  It is a full service garden center  and gift shop with a great variety of products.  Dsc_0019 I couldn't resist a couple of half price snapdragons and some white anemones.  I did enjoy their October display.The display is pretty organic as you can see from these pictures.  The mums are in full bloom and the pumpkins are aligned in a beckoning manner.  The scarecrow brings a smile to most faces.  Dsc_0021 Who doesn't love a scarecrow...except the crows!  Dsc_0020 In driving today I was struck by the many houses which are decorated extensively with goblins, ghosts, witches and that white cobwebby stuff.  Lots of houses and some even have the huge blowup items which require a fan to keep them inflated.  I wonder who has time for this not to mention the $$$ that could be spent on plants.  Well, we all have our addictions but most of that stuff will just end up in the landfill won't it? Dsc_0022 I like the above decorations the best.  You can either eat them or compost them.  What do all of you do to decorate for the seasons?   


Fall color in the neighborhood!

Low   46.4 F
Rain  2.25 inches

The library

When one lives in the country, the neighborhood consists of twenty or more square miles.  You know, the road you travel to the library, the store, or the local restaurant, which in my case, is Dsc_0066 the public country club.    A month or so ago Pam, from Digging, posted a blog concerning her neighborhood.  I would have loved to participate but I thought it would be way too boring to just view the road.  I have a sparse neighborhood as you can see from these photos.  However, there is the view and the quiet.Dsc_0002
This is the view this past week as I drove out the drive and down the road.  The road is a dirt road which is very dusty in the summer but since I am well off it by 100 yards or so the dust is filtered by the trees and it is quiet here.  This second picture is coming home.Dsc_0017
My driveway is on the right at the top of the little rise in the distance.   As you can see, the foliage is stunning.  We did have much needed rain on Friday night and the accompanying wind did toss a few of the leaves everywhere but now it just looks more like fall. Dsc_0016
The neighbor's view from his front porch! (Note the low water level in the pond.)

The morning walk takes me past this view of the neighbors' pond. The house is on the other side of the road and looks across and down toward the pond and pine copse.  A mile or so away and around the corner is a man made pond.  I stopped to take this photo, trespassing to do so.  Don't tell! It needed to be shared.  Dsc_0008

This weekend was also the weekend of the family golf outing.  There were twenty of us playing and it was a glorious day.  Why do I love golf?  Well, I just started playing two years ago so I am behind a bit as a player but the viewsDsc_0078 are spectacular,  you get to play outside and I found that I needed some time away from the garden.  What better place than this open space with a perfect lawn. Dsc_0084 Maybe not an organic one but a perfect one.  I generally only play nine holes at a time.  Golf does take some time but the long days of summer allow evening play when the course is a bit less crowded. Autumn necessitates earlier games.  It is getting dark so quickly now!   One last shot of one of my partners in the family outing. Dsc_0080 Sister number 3's husband.  We call him 'Master of the Woods'!  As you can see, Dsc_0029 he is well equipped with the latest golf accessories!  This is a bit of a deviation from the garden but I wanted to share the colors and fun of the weekend with you all!


Fall Foliage, seven sons and a spider!

High 75 F
Low  60 F

Fall scene in the back yard!
After one light frost we are back in the warmth.  Today the morning temperature was decidedly balmy!  This is the shot of the foliage in the back yard.  I have one swamp maple, aka red maple, Acer rubrum, which always provides a good deal of color in the back yard. Here are two pictures with different focal points.Dsc_0004   It is interesting to see the camera perspective as it focuses first on the red maple and then on the Acer shiraswanum aureum or Golden Full Moon Maple which has not yet started to turn color. The foliage of the Full moon maple is beautiful all season.Dsc_0005 Forgive the lawn, I currently have a totally organic approach to it.  It can live or it can die and it usually lives with a bit of ajuga in the mix! 

The bracts on the Heptacodium miconioides. Seven Sons Flower,  are coloring up.  This tree, as mentioned in a previous post, has four season interest with beautiful bark,Dsc_0003 lovely white flowers and then this color surprise.  I don't have a great picture of the bark yet although it is starting to exfoliate as it reaches greater maturity.

The next picture may give you the shivers if you do not like spiders!  Be forewarned! Dsc_0007 I found this web last week and today I just happened to walk byDsc_0011 and saw the creator!  I wondered where she was!  The web must have sustained some damage in the past week.  I am sorry that she is a bit blurry (Click to enlarge)  but she was spinning and while I would like you to think she was really fast, hence the blur, that was not it!  You can clearly see the web as it emerges from her rather rotund little bottom.    Here she is again with brilliant markings. Hillary_spider_ii_2 She seemed to notice my camera and she scurried for cover.  Dsc_0013 She is hiding in the crabapple leaf.  It is a time for spiders isn't it!  Do any of you know what kind this one is?  Do the females spin the webs or the males?  I will have to look this up but maybe one of you can enlighten me!


Bulb Planting commences!

High 66 F
Low  38.3 F

May 9, 2007  Tulip 'Orange Princess'

I generally order bulbs every other year.  Why?  Because I always get carried away with the beautiful promise of the pictures and I order so many that it takes great effort to get them all planted.  Every other year I seem to forget how much work it was and only remember the beauty of the blooms.  Last year I did plant a few tulips such as the above 'Orange Princess' but this year I placed my order with the thought of adding a river of bulbs to the new Garden of Five Sisters and One Daughter ( aka GFSD).   A river of bulbs!  Sounds great doesn't it?  Planting bulbs at 'Ledge and Gardens' always requires a pickax.
I dug a trench about fifty feet long and eighteen inches wide although there are a couple of wide spots.The job foreman is hard at work as you can see.   I planted Dsc_0001 100 Narcissus 'Accent' which is ivory white with a pink trumpet or perianth.  I get tired of yellow in the spring and white always is refreshing.  These will bloom in April and I have to say that these were the biggest bulbs I have ever seen!  Fat and healthy, many with offsets.  If you are going to dig a trench in soil which requires a  pickax then you should optimize the use of that trench.  With this in mind, the daffodils and Tulips are interspersed in the same 'river'.

Dsc_0006 Click to enlarge picture.

  I added Tulipa  'Avignon' which is described in the John Scheepers catalog  as 'brilliant spinel-red with fire-red edges, a tomato red interior and a sunny yellow base'.  I'm not sure what 'spinel-red' looks like so check back in May when these beauties will bloom!  I did plant them closer than six inches.  The bulb police have not yet been here.  In addition, in the wider areas I planted Camassia quamash which I have never grown before.  This is blue and  is native to the Northwestern U.S.  It will be about 15" tall.  Camassia will take a moist soil according to  the catalog. I'm not sure this is moist enough but I saved some bulbs for a different area so I can see which group does better. Dsc_0007 In the wider spots I have planted some species tulips.  There are one hundred Tulipa 'Little Beauty' which is cherry red with a blue center and blooms in early May.  Also planted were T. clusiana 'Lady Jane' which is described as 'candy cane' . The picture looks beautiful.  I did spray the bulbs with neem to keep the critters away.  It has a bitter taste which is supposed to make the tulips less delectable and it will also mask the smell of the bone meal which is mixed in the soil at the bottom of the hole. Dsc_0008 The Job Foreman loves the freshly turned soil and is taking a much needed rest. Dsc_0009 A couple of  blisters and a tired back later and all that is left to plant are one hundred assorted alliums,  a few Camassia and some dog tooth violets.  Oh, and the two pounds of garlic bulbs which arrived in the mail while I was out planting!   


Blog Action Day!

High 60 F
Low  34 F

Blog Action Day in the October garden!

Today is Blog Action Day and bloggers are asked to post about the environment.  It  seems to me that garden bloggers post every day about the environment so, I am on board with this one!  Who loves the earth more than a gardener who plunges her hands into it on a regular basis?  Maybe some equal that devotion but I don't believe that anyone can surpass it.  Today,  bloggers will try to increase awareness about environmental issues or, just the environment.  Awareness is the first step toward change isn't it?  If you don't realize you are doing something wrong then change cannot occur.  Scientists have proven that the earth's environment is changing and changing more rapidly than ever before in history. They believe that human activity is the cause. Fingers are being pointed.  Finger pointing is never good.   Your mother taught you that well before you started school.  Positive reinforcement works better.  Dsc_0032

I am just one person and I am trying to promote and share my gardening experiences for pleasure, for information and for personal satisfaction, both yours and mine.   I love plants and I will try new ones as they appear.  I believe in plant diversity!  I try not to treat new plants too well.  They must stand on their own!  Not too much water, fertilizer or pruning.  I limit pesticide use and start with the least environmentally harmful solution to a pest problem.  Build your soil and you will have a healthy garden.    Have you been in your garden today?  If you don't have one, then visit one.  You have an open invitation to visit mine.

The June border
I'm going out into the garden for a few moments of contemplation and to pick some lettuce! Think about planting some vegetables!


Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-October 15, 2007

High 58 F
Low  34.6 F

'Pink Sheffield'
The blooms in October are becoming scarce but I was pleasantly surprised on my walk around the garden trying to find the last bits of color.  I walked toward the back field and as I came around this little shed here were these mums blooming in profusion.  I had checked them last week and no flowers.  Today they are celebrating bloom day with their best outfits!
There was a light frost last night but the impatiens are managing to hang on just a bit longer and I enjoy these white ones by the door.  They shine in  the shade and add a splash of brightness to the foliage of the hostas.

Dsc_0013  Dsc_0014
The begonias and the impatiens 'Jungle Fever' are still blooming as are the nasturtiums.

As for perennials, a few Geranium 'Rozanne'Dsc_0024 are still sporting the lovely lavender tresses and thisDsc_0031 delphinium is sending up a  sky blue spike.  The Eupatorium  rugosum 'Chocolate' Dsc_0026 is also covered in flowers.  The blooms are getting thin on most plants though but I think that seed heads count for something in the fall.  This Miscanthus sinensis 'Purpurescens' Dsc_0022 is glowing in the lower light of fall and the seed heads on the KirengeshomaDsc_0017 look like medieval torture devices just in time for Halloween. 
The Rose 'Ballerina' Dsc_0032 is looking better at this time of year having been stripped of its' foliage by critters this summer and, there are several other annuals still blooming.  The green nicotiana Dsc_0025 and the green zinniasDsc_0027 look positively zesty! The overall effect in the garden is one of timely decline. Dsc_0016 Gardens need to be cleaned out, compost added and bulbs planted.  The weather this weekend was perfect for fall and, as you can see, Tucker is having a bit of a roll in the grass.  We have had clear days with comfortable daytime temperatures in the high 50's which I find perfect for heavy digging and compost hauling. It is also time to stack the wood as there is a chill in the night air.Dsc_0039

What will we all do for bloom days  November through March?  I will find blooms somewhere although they may take place in doors!