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So, on the way to a shopping outing with my mom yesterday, My car just veered into the nursery! How did that happen??? Well, they had all their mums on sale. I love that mums are perennial, but are sold as annuals. Several years ago, I made a habit of buying discounted mums and had such a nice show of color with them every year. Those have since gone and I decided this year - it is time to start that again. So, I picked up 3 small yellow ones for only $1 a piece and 1 HUGE white one for $2.50. It will be fun to see if they come back next year.
I think I may have to check the other nursery tomorrow to see what else is on sale!
Fall has finally hit! We are wearing our sweaters and visiting the pumpkin patch. I just love this time of year! Every weekend with weed-eater in hand, I tidy up a bit more of the garden in the countdown for the winter slumber. Last weekend, I had a bit more fun with my weed-eater:
I was considering doing this in the front yard - but my hubby may just crawl in the hole of crazy wife embarrassment :)
I just love it! The air is cooling off - no longer highs near 100, the highs are closer to 90 now. The leaves are beginning just to turn and some are falling. The cooler nights and days have lead to slower growth of grass and weeds, so the routine maintenance has slowed down a bit. I have started doing some fall clean-up projects. I pulled out the summer veggie plants - that, I might add really were a total disappointment. Perhaps I will have better luck with my fall garden. i will put seeds out for that in the next couple of weeks. I am also starting to clean up spent perennials and foliage, as well as keeping up with the watering. In the next week or so, I plan to go purchase some ammendments to begin top-dressing the beds. Here are some pictures of fall, etc...around my garden:
Before we know it, we will all be picking pumpkins and planting mums!
It has been extremely hot here, just like everywhere over the past month. We did have a nice rain last night that cooled things off a bit today. So, I decided to get out in the garden and take some photos of the early signs of fall in the mid-August garden.
We begin our tour with a view of the front as you come up the walk:
As you walk around you will see to your left, the bed with some nice fall color:
Then to your right you will find the Red Bud with all of its seedpods:
st people find these to be a nuisance - and they really can be when they sprout all their babies, but they do provide a nice contrast of colors for the early fall garden:
we walk around to the back to see some more early fall showers:
n we head back to the veggie garden where we are finally starting to get some ripe heirlooms!
Also some nice color in the veggie beds with the purple basil and the new marigolds:
he creek greets us behind the veggie beds, where we can see lots of weeds, but some very happy elephant ears:
Then we curve back around to make our way back inside and spot some petasites that doesn't seem to mind the heat:
As well as some nice fall color with the japanese blood grass:
I make my way back to the house to find all three dogs wondering if it is time to go back inside where there is no humidity!
head back in for a little blogging break - now, back out there to mow the lawn :)
Happy gardening weekend everyone!
Hydrangeas: I have been adding to, transplanting and babying my collection of hydrangeas over the past couple of years and this year I really started to see their potential and envision what they will be given a few more years.
Cast Iron Plants: Same as above, except I tried something a
bit different and watered the tar out of them this season so that I hopefully
wouldn’t have to watch their tips brown like they always do – it worked! They
are still lush and green and make me smile. All the extra water prompted a
mystery canna to spring up out of the ground near one of these – so weird…I will
move him to a sunny spot in the fall.
Caladiums: Tried growing these from discounted bulbs and they have worked beautifully – I suppose I will go to the trouble of digging them this winter and try putting them back out next spring…
Here is a shot, from a distance, of the bed where the above mentioned plants are:
Mountain Oats Grass, Salvia, Sedums and new Butterfly Bush are all filling in nicely and making my sun bed lush:
The lawn in the front: Only my check book can take credit for this one, but I am so happy to have a nice fluffy lawn – the brown spot is where we are still waiting for the Bermuda to fill in. The guy that comes and fertilizes it does a great job!
Ichiban Eggplants: They are a proven winner for us. We love them and they are always reliable. May try to grow the striped variety from seed next year – they are just so pretty.
White Eggplant: LOVE these, wish I had planted more than one plant.
Yellow Crook-neck Squash: Finally grew squash successfully and we have really enjoyed it!
Cucumbers: My first year growing them – hubby hates them. BUT, guess what – he likes them now!
Bush Beans: So easy and fun.
Edamame: Even easier than bush beans – want more of these next year.
Marigolds: Put in a new double variety from seed this year
and they are so pretty – they almost look like carnations. I am wondering if
they will self seed like my single variety…
Blue Cypress: The two that went on either side of the drive totally bit the dust – It was a rapid death at that! I think for 2 reasons – that area gets full sun ALL day long, with no shadows and I planted them about one week later than I really should have – but hey – they were on sale!
Weeping Pussy Willow: We moved him a bit late in the season and the prognosis is not good – but I will wait until spring to officially declare his death.
Fern Spray Cypress: Suffered quite a bit of brown out and I
finally couldn’t’ stand to look at it any more, so I pulled it out. Plus, I got
him for free, so not too big of a deal – I will try again next season.
Tomatoes: Well, between the Chihuahua, the squirrels and the fact that I only planted heirlooms – we have yet to have a ripe tomato! ARG! I suppose I can’t say for sure that they are failures and I am sure I will be jumping for joy when I am eating garden fresh tomatoes on Thanksgiving! BUT, I want some now :( So, next year I will be planting some hybrids as well.
Jalapeno Peppers: I think I just didn’t give them enough room this year and they got crowded out by one of the aforementioned tomatoes….
Artichokes: Maybe b/c we had such a hard winter, they never came back this year – I will try again.
Yet to be determined:
My late plantings of white patty pan squash, zinnias and purple pole beans. They are all looking good, but I have yet to see if they will produce anything in time.
Other things I have learned this season:
And my aspirations for fall:
Speaking of fall veggies, maybe I should pull out some of those “failures” and replace with something new and more hopeful! Stay cool everyone!
Time for my end of summer update! I am ready for fall and have been thinking back on yet another growing season - successes and failures.
g July and August, we enjoyed many harvests from our garden and spent the rest of the time inside and out of the heat. The girls are growing up fast and keeping us super busy! They are both getting into helping mommy in the garden and we have discoverd that the little one LOVES getting dirty! Her favorite place this summer has been smack in the middle of the tomato bed, picking them right off the plant and smooshing them all over her face!
We planted 9 varieties of tomatoes, 10 basil plants and 4 eggplants.
Here is a nice shot of some of the results:
It was great fun to try so many different varietes! Our favorites were the heirloom tomatoes, of course; and the japanese eggplants. We have had so much, that we have also been doing some different methods of preservation for use through the winter. I have dehydrated tomatoes, eggplants and figs. I am excited to use the dehydrated eggplants to make pasta sauces and babagunish (sp?) I also pureed tomatoes in the blender and put them in ice cube trays to freeze for making sauces later. I also did a pesto with 5 varieties of basil that I froze in ice cube trays too - now all of our ice tastes like basil!- HAH!
Funny thing about the veggies; I always plant more than I should of every seed and it is just survival of the fittest. Well, this year, I put in a few different kinds of bean seeds and then forgot which kinds i put in - until a few months later, noticed that what had won out was the "yard bean":
So bizarre! and actually not that tastey...but fun and the kids thought they made great necklaces!
Next year, I will give more thought to the beans...we did miss having them this year.
SO..here is the list:
Heirloom tomatoes, will plant more varieties next year, perhaps will order some plants online for even more variety.
Cherry tomoates, love them...will only plant one plant next year....we had way more than we knew what do do with.
Artichokes, they germinated successfully and I am looking forward to them producing in seasons to come.
Asparagus, continues to do very well and next year, we should be able to harvest continually throughout the season.
Sunflowers, the "king kong" did great and next year, I may devote 1 entire bed to just sunflowers...I would like some for cutting.
Nastursums, did great. I just love them and they are so pretty!
Green Eggplant, it did well, but is quite prickly and tough...not all that tasty.
Beans, need to give them more thought...missed having big harvests of them this year.
Wished I had planted:
Cucumbers: hubby hates them, but they are so easy and I love em'
Carrots: the kids would have had fun with them,and they are super easy too!
Squash: I always have trouble with them, but I am always trying some weird variety, so next year I will plant to standby summer squash and hope for the best. These will be great to pre-cook and freeze too!
For the Fall Garden:
Poppies: I put out some in the spring, but still dont have any signs...will try again (i don't know why I can't seem to get these going to save my live-they are suuposed to be easy!)
Cabbage: I have never tried growing this, but I think it will be fun.
Garlic - have always wanted to try this
The rest of the garden has been just truckin along. It is nice that we are somewhat out of major project mode (other than the deck) and the garden is down to just routine work. I am enjoying watching the beds in the back fill in. I noticed today that the purple beautyberry that was just a few inches tall when I planted it - is now doing its thing:
I am really liking the textures that are happening in this bed. Here is a nice shot with the deck in the background:
Close up of solidago and miscanthus:
d...bumble bee having some fun on the autumn joy sedum:
We really had a bad time of spider mites early this spring. They really set up camp in a big oak in the back yard and they migrated their way over quite a few of my plants. The fruit tress suffered a great deal and I am not sure that they will bounce back - but hey, if they don't then I have a chance to buy more plants! A failure in the garden always presents another opportunity, doesn't it???
I finally killed all the grass around the veggie beds and fruit trees and have been slowly spreading wood chips there. I want to make that area more path-like and tuck plants in nooks and crannies.
I also plan to put in some encore azaleas in the front porch bed this fall. I would like another shot of color in there and some evergreen interests when the autumn ferns aren't looking their best during the winter.
All in all, we have had a great growing season and I am ready for fall and all the cool temps to come!
We have been busy over the past month with all sorts of things! I have managed to carve out some time here and there to do the usual garden clean up that needs to be done this time of year. Our final moments of fall have passed:
And we are well into winter. We saw a couple of dear the other morning out by the creek which was so magical and my little girl was so excited to get to meet Rudolph :)
See them back there?
Most of the garden clean up is done now except for a few odds and ends and we have moved on to decorating for Christmas:
I always do a bit of a garden theme with my christmas decorating: using a lot of greens from the garden along with fresh herbs and grapevine. Here is a nice closeup of an area of the tree with a small grape vine wreath. I have these spaced all over the tree this year:
I love the look of the rustic grapevine against the shimmer of the lights and the ornaments :)
I did a bit more clean out in the garden this afternoon. Shook some dead leaves off the hardy clematis, cut back some mint blooms, and cut down some spent cannas. Once the holidays are over, I will set out to get pinestraw over all the beds and start all my spring planning. Unfortunatley I didn't get the compost in the veggie beds soon enough to get out a fall crop :( so, I will have to enjoy planning for the spring.
Time for some holiday baking...
Well, its been over a month since my last post, but I have been busy enjoying my favorite time of year! I just love fall...for many reasons, but mostly all the gardening. There is something so refreshing about cleaning up the garden and getting it put to bed in anticipation of another growing season!
My camelia bush has been in full bloom for the past few weeks and is just beautiful!
I think this is the best it has ever looked.
I have also been enjoying the White Muhly grass that I ordered online last year and wasn't sure what they were going to do...
I suppose next year it will get fluffier and start to look more "cloud like"
The first frost has come and gone in late Oct, so I also have had some fun with the pruners and cut the laurapedalums and junipers way back in the front. unfortunately, the junipers have a lot of dead wood in the middle (as I know junipers are prone to do) so, I am hoping that the pruning will help.
It felt good to get things opened up a bit.
We also limbed up the redbud a bit and I had some wonderful help from my hubby
look like much now, but I understand these have a decent growth rate. The chicken wire is to protect it from our 3 puppy dogs until it gets well established. I have great visions of what it will look like one day :)
I also picked up a threaded cypress that i have been wanting for a while. I would like to add more, but only got one for now:
It went in in the front of the deador cedar and is surrounded by autumn joy sedums and some grasses. It also crossed my mind to replace the junipers in the front with these if the junipers don't bounce back nicely from the pruning. we'll see...
And I also picked up a cripii (?) cypress that said it took shade and gets 8 or so feet tall, so I put it at our property corner back by the creek and I think it will anchor that nicely.
You can't even really see it in the picture yet...its so small :)
Here are some shots of the creek area as of late:
And, finally...my latest edition of garden art:
The mirrors on either side of the tree trunk...a rescue from the dumpster at hubby's job. My hope is that the ivy will grow up the chain link fence and surround the edges of the mirrors and they will look all nestled in like they have always been there.
In the veggie beds, the spinach, brussel sprouts, sugar snaps peas and onions are germinating. We finally dug up the sweet potatoes and i made a big batch of them in the oven and didn't even need to add sugar, they were so sweet! I don't know if i will grow them again as the harvest yield was quite small for what i paid for the starts. but, it was fun none the less :)
I still have kale, bok choy, romaine lettuce and parsely to sow once hubby goes to get more dirt.
This weekend will consist of more cleaning, pruning and straitening :)
Enough rambling for now...have a great gardening weekend everyone!
I just love this time of year! The air is crisp, the heat is leaving and its time to tidy up the garden and dream of another spring to come. With the hot weather cooling down, I have been enjoying some time in the garden and have managed to carve a few minutes out here and there to do some things and take some pictures.
The northern oats grass is looking lovely:
And the autumn joy sedums are bursting with color and look especially nice next to the black and blue salvia!
The trumpet trees are in all their glory and have such wonderful fragrance in the morning and evening! A great treat with the cool air:
The cannas have finished blooming and have the most beautiful seed pods on them:
I amv ery please with how the sweet potato vine has provided weed control in this bed:
This winter I plan to get a nice blue conifer to put in the back of this bed.
We had some great rain at the end of the summer that the purple hyacinth bean and moon vine flower really loved and they just scurried up the arbor:
It will be time to dig up the sweet potatoes soon also :) Tomorrow on his way home from work, hubby is goingt to pick up a truckload of compost that I will top dress the empty veggie beds with so that I can put in fall crops of spinach, greens and brussel sprouts. Can't wait!
And, I am reminded a lot lately that the garden in faithful and continues to go on with or without me...and i am able to enjoy it all the same :)
Now is the time of year where the weeds have won...
The perennials have done their thing, everything looks tired and thirsty, and the promises of spring have long since past. This is the time of year that I start to get excited about putting the garden to bed, tidying things up, mulching, pruning and preparing for another growing season.
It has been a good growing season here at soapHOUSE, I have learned a lot and have more ideas for the future. I also have a couple of projects planned for fall:
-Add compost to the veggie beds and plant fall crops: spinach, mesculin mix, sweet peas, and brussel sprouts. I also plan to inter-plant with pansies.
-Find a nice blue conifer that can go where we took out the tree in the back last winter
-Add some round stepping stones to the bed by the driveway so its easier to get in and out of the car without stepping on plants.
-And the usual mulching and such to get ready for next spring.
Here are some pictures of the garden as of late:
The view of my front yard as seen from my front porch:
I have been very happy with those elephant ears this year. I put them in last year and they have far exceeded my expectations. They were a gift from my late grandfather in law, so its wonderful to think of him when I come up the front walk.
Here is a shot of the front porch perennial bed. It has done well this year and the ground covers are really filling in and doing their thing:
Here is a good overview shot of the backyard:
sweet potato vine has done its job of providing ground cover in the berm. great weed control!
Here is a little corner that is doing quite well right now:
You wouldn't even know there was a chain link fence behind that!
And finally, a nice shot as you come through crepe myrtle alley:
Pretty soon it will be time to set out the fall decorations :)
I had another great weekend in the garden. Got LOTS done as I am taking advantage of the warm daytime temps we have been having lately. I spent so much time on the front yard this past growing season, that now I am excited to get more work done in the back. I have been doing things such as defining the beds and putting in paths. I ordered another load of the free woodchips from the city and got busy spreading it:
I laid down a path in between the beds leading to the back. The bed to the left contains hydrangeas and hostas. I just transplanted all the hydrangeas to a better layout and added 2 variegated hydrangeas on either side of the sweet gum tree - I am looking forward to seeing how it looks come spring.
Here is the same path, from the back view:
My husband cut down the remainder of the trunk of the tree we took out last weekend. He was excited, because this meant he got to buy an electric chain saw. He always loves getting new toys...as you can see it definately did the trick:
I also transplanted the nandinas that were in the front of this tree over to another space so that now I have room to put in a nice conifer garden :) I also finished spreading all the pine straw (this helped to define the beds and create some new planting areas in the back yard. Here is a good shot of the back yard as of today:
The creek area even got some attention this weekend. Once I finish dragging the brush to the curb, it will be all cleared and ready to plant up with ground covers and ferns. I also plan to put an arbor at the gate with a nice vine on it and an outdoor hammock so that the area can be fully enjoyed!
I am interested to see what survived out of my bargain fern purchases that I planted back here in late summer. Once the drought hit, they began to suffer...so we will see. The creeping euonymous is doing well, however :)
On the list for this week: finish spreading wood chip pile and dragging creek brush to curb!
Its been a while since I have spent a good chunk of productive time in the garden. And, yesterday...I did just that. In the morning, my girl and I made Christmas cookies and when she went down for her nap, I headed out to the garden. I did some clean up; such as raking and pruning. I also had some fun with my new camera. The weather here has been very wacky! The highs for the last week have been around 80, so we are having a false spring....things are blooming and buds are appearing. Its quite strange, because there are still many signs of fall in the garden. The Laurapedelum is in full bloom:
And yet, the grasses are showing all their fall color:
After a couple hours of clean up (It didn't need as much work as I thought, I guess all the hard work in the summer really payed off) This is what the yard looks like:
Side view of front yard:
Back Yard Views:
Well, we picked yesterday what I am pretty sure is the last of the harvest. We picked all the green tomatoes on the vine, since the temperatures have cooled off so that they won't ripen. Hopefully they will ripen on the window sill:
We continue to get lots of figs and enjoy eating them right off the tree! We also picked the rest of the peppers.
I had planted a bunch of fall seeds, but since I can't water....they will not grow :( So, I look at my pitiful patch of dirt in despair :(
But, the situation here is so dire, I understand.
I will focus next on mulching since thats really about all that can be done.
Over the past couple of days, I have gotten a great deal done on my fall project list! I spent most of this afternoon dividing and conquering (so to speak). I transplanted and divided some autumn ferns for my front porch bed. I went from 5 to 11 total in this bed and I think they will fill in nicely:
I also divided some daylilies and the green eyed susans and put some in the big front bed by the street. Not much to see now, but hopefully will add some great color in the spring!
This is what the front yard looks like from the street as of today:
I'll be so sad when the first frost gets all that sweet potato vine...it will look so naked!
I also did a lot of clean up and filled up a few landscape trash bags as well as overflow in my wheelbarrow:
I am so enjoying this time of year! There is not as much to be done in the garden it seems and what is to be done is very enjoyable. Also, the trumpet tree is just FABULOUS!!!!!!!!
Also looking forward to my camelia sasanqua blooming this winter. It has SO many buds:
My next task at hand will be to pull out whats left of the tomato and pepper plants and plant the 2nd veggie bed for fall. :)
Started cleaning up my other raised veggie bed this morning. I was planning on pulling out everything but the peppers, but on closer inspection, I noticed that the tomatoes are still producing, so I picked some and trimmed the plants back. I pulled out the rest of the eggplants and the tomatillos.
I realize it doesn't look a whole lot different, but you should see how much i pulled out of there!
I suppose in the next couple of weeks, I will get the rest of it cleared and ammended to add in more fall crops.
The peppers are still going strong though:
so fun that they are turning red!
I think tonight, i will make hamburgers and top them with roasted red peppers and white eggplant:
The colors of fall are abundant in my garden and I am loving every minute of it!
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