It’s been an amazing October–nearly every day has had some sun, and when it rains it seems to usually do so at night. It hasn’t been too hot or too cold. Great horseback riding weather. These past few days I’ve been out at the barn every day riding with friends.But this is a garden blog (I can hear Jeanne my sister protesting, “get those horses off the garden blog!”) Here are the two home horses Fly and Casey, yesterday:I still haven’t finished getting all of those tulip bulbs in the ground. And I am waiting for a frost to kill the tops of the dahlias so I can dig the tubers. The dahlias are making the most of the long season, and they are blooming to beat the band. In the vegetable garden David is preparing for frost and also planting out baby onions, various greens, and spinach. Meanwhile, the weather has confused some flowers into blooming again:
Other flowers typically bloom all year, right until frost.
It’s not that I try to take photos of bumble bees–they are everywhere.
Seed pods of all kinds are feeding birds or scattering for next year:
I didn’t write about this when it first happened, and then about when I was ready to a greater disaster befell our community in the loss of a dear friend, so I waited a little more. Now I feel OK about sharing that our little white cat Snowflake was hit in the road and killed about two weeks ago. Here are some pictures of him:
All the animals we live with are precious to us, the tame and the wild. Snowflake never was very tame. You had to be sneaky and quick to pick him up, and he always squirmed to get put down. He’d disappear like magic if any stranger came around. But the cold brought him inside every winter to curl up by the stove, and he was good company in the gardens when we worked outside. We’ll miss him.
I went to my brother’s wedding last weekend, and my Dad brought everyone a gift of gigantic mums he’d seen at a farm stand. They were the usual “ball” shaped carefully tended and pruned mums. I’ve tried growing mums before, but they never make it through the winter. I’ll try again with this one, but first I’ll cut off all of the flowers (yes, all of them) to give it a boost. I’ll mulch it carefully and put it in a protected spot. Maybe with these warmer temperatures lately it will be OK. Also, our bay window has two large new plants: a kind of hibiscus. Our good friends Jim and Robert saw these languishing in a store and took them home, where they flourished, until they got a new kitten. The new kitten, Chip, decided that destroying young trees was the best game in town. So we’ve inherited them until Chip grows up and learns better manners. We’re fostering them, so to speak. They have gorgeous melon yellow flowers.
I still have 75 tulips and some more narcissus to plant. I decided to re-do the back yard garden’s lower edge to make a spot for bulbs and for next year’s dahlias. Here’s the cart and the composted manure pile–I first ripped out a lot of false sunflower, a peony that was too crowded, and a giant sweet cicely plant. Then I added two heaping wheelbarrow loads of the compost. Here’s the end result:By the time that was done I ran out of time to plant the bulbs, but this is the hard part–that should go quickly.
The weather on Sunday was like a dream of summer. Warm, sunny, lazy. Here are some photos I snapped of the cats’ reaction. First Norman, sleeping in a somewhat awkward position on a sunny slope:And Tater found a comfy spot:Mr Fluff was relaxing in the dahlia patch:And then followed me to the front porch:I picked some dahlias and took pictures of some, too:Above is the view from the front porch. Golden leaves are falling fast now. Canada geese honk overhead. Pretty soon winter will be here.
We’re having a dry spell, beautiful warmish days and cool nights. It seems like every weekday is beautiful and every weekend it’s cloudy or rainy.
I was in the vegetable garden the other day in the morning before going to work. I was able to stuff myself with strawberries. Here’s the row, and a close up below.
And I took a bunch of photos of the small rock-lined herb garden. The anise hyssop (agastache) self-seeds generously every year, and I have to weed them out or we’d be overrun. They bloom right up to frost, and the bees are all over them.
David tackled the horse radish, and he has already made a batch of horseradish sauce. Only brave people can eat it–very powerful stuff! I am certain that horseradishes will be flourishing in our garden long after we are gone.
I also took some pictures of the swiss chard, which glows with its big green leaves and bright red stems. And I took a little picture of a few small empty clay pots, their job done for one season. Next Spring they will be full of potting soil and seedlings again.