Saturday, October 29, 2011

Paver project update

Another week and lots more progress to show.  The edging is going in, getting ready for little neighbors Monday night. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall fungi

I never thought of mushrooms/toadstools as being seasonal until I read that poem about fall I posted a couple of weeks ago.
Save Mushrooms, and the Fungus race,That grow till All-Hallow-Tide takes place
Then I saw these and it just makes me wonder.   Are fungi seasonal?   It will be a bit interesting if they are gone by next week, don't you think? 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Asparagus in fall!  We cut asparagus for a few short weeks in spring, but then must let the foliage grow for the summer to replenish and grow a larger root system for next year.  In fall they die back and must be cut to the ground.  In the process we get this charming look.  The berries sometimes grow new babies, some of which I recently moved into the row with the big guys.  A couple of weeks ago I bought some rather spindly, rather tough asparagus at Farmer Market.  I wondered and wondered how they got a crop in the fall.  Then when I was replanting the babies I noticed new stalks coming up under the browning foliage.  Mine were already too big to use, but it might payoff to know about this next year.  The key to the asparagus not being tough is to make sure the heads are still tight.  So next fall maybe we will have a meal of asparagus. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cardinal climber

Cardinal climber as seen from the hammock

This year, since the arbor fell down last summer, I planted the cardinal climber to grow into the dead cherry tree alongside the grapevine.  We are very pleased with how it looks.  Cardinal climber takes its time growing.  I plant a few seeds (which makes the packet last several years at least) when the weather is warm in May and it does not get big enough to really notice until August.  But then it blooms into frost, making me and the hummingbirds so happy throughout the fall months.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin sadness

Robby told me to cut off all the extraneous branches of the pumpkin vine to give the little white pumpkin shown below the best chance to get big.  So I went out and very very carefully cut off the branch growing the pumpkin!  I am so sad.  Some days little things are the last straw. 

White pumpkin

A little white pumpkin from the plant Candace started and shared.  Let's see how big it grows in the next week.  Maybe this is a Thanksgiving pumpkin.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Paver project update

End of week two, the walk to the porch is complete.  

 Precision in the details = hours of careful work.  This project may not be done before the New Year at this rate! 

Off to a good start on another Saturday.  This is the center patio section.  

This day went well.  Weed cloth went down easily, sand followed and although the leveling was a tough job, since the area was so wide, all in all the work moved faster.  Rosalee came by with In & Out at lunch time, providing a happy break, and then in the later afternoon Robby and Candace dropped by to check on the progress.  Of course Robby got caught up helping carry the pavers for Jerry to place.  That is significant since each paver weighs 3.5 pounds.  So the middle section is ready for edging and the precision work.  Nice!  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Peas, finally

After three failed attempts to plant peas, as well as the other fall veggies, I sowed seed in leftover six packs.  As you can see, I've now got peas!   There are also some spindly beets and chard there, as well as the tiny foxglove next to the peas.  The peas will go out sometime this week to replace the tomatoes I pulled out a few days ago.  I do not grow many peas as a few meals of fresh peas is plenty.  : )

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Impatiens and the changing season

Forced to make the summer annual/winter annual choice, I decided to replce the potted impatiens with pansies.  This year I plucked the impatiens from their pots and plopped them into empty places in the shady garden.  They have cheerfully continued growing and the pansies are off to the good start they need.  I think this was a good solution and hope to remember next year. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Salvias, both annuals and perennials, really earn their keep in the garden.  While not my favorite plants, their consistent color makes them worth growing.  These annuals, 'Lady in Red', and 'Victoria Blue' are some of the smaller salvias, which can grow as large as 6x6 feet.  While salvias tend to be tender plants, 'Victoria Blue' will overwinter as a perennial if the season doesn't get too cold.   Salvias are less picky about water retentive soil than penstemon which does not appreciate our long soggy winters.   Perhaps because they both have spikes of tubular flowers, the two are often compared.  Hummingbirds love the flowers, especially of 'Lady in Red'.

For a long time I had the perennial salvia 'East Friesland'.  It was a lovely deep purple and bloomed most of the year but tended to be floppy.  When it died, I found this 'May Night' for a good price at the Farmer's Market.  This is its first year, so hard to say as it has not bloomed much, but it is supposedly the better plant as it should not flop.  Hopefully that proves to be true. 

Other than the fact that they do not like frost so must be cut back, salvias need little care other than deadheading and seem to be happy in most sunny locations. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Garden lore and garden books

Asters from 2006, also called Michaelmas daisies

I read a piece of garden lore today in Autumn Gardens by Ethne Clarke.  I have read numerous times in British fiction that one ought not pick blackberries after Michaelmas, or St. Michael's Day, September 29th.  Now I know why!  Apparently when St. Michael the archangel tossed Satan from Heaven he landed in some blackberries and, stamping on them in retaliation, cursed them.  Michaelmas was traditionally the end of harvest, fall equinox celebration, so it actually was a convenient time to stop picking the tail end of the berries. 

Clarke includes this poem...

The Michaelmas daisies, among dede weeds,
Blooms for St. Michael's valourous deeds;
And seems the last of the flowers that stode,
Till the feste of St. Simon and St. Jude-
Save Mushrooms, and the Fungus race,
That grow till All-Hallow-Tide takes place.
Soon the evergreen Laurel alone is greene,
When Catherine crownes all learned menne,
The Ivie and Holly Berries are seen,
And Yule Long and Wassaile come round again.  

A few years ago I realized I could get garden books for less than the cost of magazines.  I have a shelf full and as I get better ones I discard others.   I like real books and the orderliness of photos matched with sequential thought.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Paver project update

Saturday.  Discouragement.  Exhaustion. A full week of work and still at it. The rocks were down, but then there was the edging, the weedcloth to minimize the amount of sand needed, and figuring how to level the sand... 

And finally a taste of success...

Back to real work today.  That computer chair is going to feel great!  A week clearly was not enough time for this major project.

Friday, October 14, 2011


I might need to replant lettuce for the 4th time, but look at how well my potatoes are growing!   I start these by sitting sprouting red potatoes (or potato starts when they are available and cheap)  on an inch of potting soil and then barely covering them.  As the grow I add more soil to almost cover the foliage.  They grow so rapidly they need more soil every day or two.  Then in 10-12 weeks, if I am blessed, there will be a pot of potatoes.  Since I almost always use potatoes that would otherwise go to compost, it isn't traumatic if the crop fails.  It works really well though, just do not overwater. 

And look at this!  Last spring I bought a bag of potato starts and, not knowing what else to do with the extras, I stuck them in the ground.  They didn't grow, so oh well.  But now here they are growing away.  I hope they make some potatoes! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Paver project update

The paving project is off to a slow but sure start.  Sure because that is the way hardworking perfectionists do things.  Slow because that is the consequence of being a hardworking perfectionist.  So the prep work took four days, even with Robby helping as he had time.  

 The hard working perfectionist. 

 The inevitable glitch, discovering the pillars are not sitting on their foundations, a construction mis-measure we are guessing, so part of the porch had to be left in place which meant all new leveling. 

 Piles of materials, and the van stuck inside for the duration.

Just imagine how gorgeous it will be. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Nasturtiums are such striking annuals I wish they would grow here all year.  They come in both clumping and climbing (or running since they do not actually climb on their own) types and I grow both.  There are narrow windows here in the spring and the fall when they grow happily and even reseed when they have the chance.  They come in all the warm colors, red, orange, yellow and pink.  My favorites are the clumping Empress of India and the climber Moonlight.  Empress of India has smaller, bluer leaves with reddish flowers, while Moonlight looks as it sounds, the palest of yellows, and can grow quite vigorously, with leaves 4 inches across running 6 feet across the garden.  In rain, they are wonderful as the leaves hold raindrops.  Too bad that both frost and heat kill these back.  Another advantage to these is the ease in maintenance, do nothing beyond poking the seeds in the ground.  The roots come up with a tug for disposal at the end of the season.  I like nasturtiums enough that I sat through the third Lord of the Rings movie solely because a gardening friend said the nasturtiums were not to be missed.  Bother, they were in the final scene in a Hobbit garden and only seen for a minute or two.  Not worth the hours of watching and waiting when I have as good just outside the door. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Seasonal rhythm

I was out this morning in the cool of a gathering storm cleaning up the withering annuals and perennials.  I realized the the condition of the dahlia is due to my lack in cutting back in July.  I have said before that I have learned to cut back most of the garden heavily towards the end of July.  It might look lean during the long hot spell following, but bounces back for a good long spell in fall.  Now, having not cut back this year, I find the cost is cutting back now, all the way to the ground. So there will probably not be any dahlias for the next month or two before frost.  Even though I counted three dozen kinds of flowers blooming for October 1, the dahlias, zinnias, salvias and cosmos are the big color impact in the fall as well as summer.  Hopefully next year I will pay attention and get that job done. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Satisfying Saturday

Yesterday I fall cleaned the guest room and mailed this outfit I made for Eva. So silly it took me so long. It was intended for camping this summer and here it is coming on winter there. The overalls are repurposed from one of Jerry's shirts. I do not like the lining and that is what made it take so long. But I think those accomplishments prepped me for a great day today. 

It has been a while since we had a fun yet productive Saturday. I started the day with errands, farmer market and scoping out the shops for things like towels for Deb and 'Cars' sweats for Nathan, and T-shirts I can use for a new idea for little cardigans for babys. Not much luck, except I saw some fun towels at Target, pink with multicolors stripes with appliqued owls, so cute for Deb's pink bathroom. Of course I would not buy anything that far from solid beige without permission, but they have made me smile all day.

      This plant stand will go in the front yard as an accent. 

Palest yellow pansies.

This afternoon Jerry and I went to the stone yard, the plant nursery, Lowe's, OSH and Starbucks, oh and Radio Shack.  Jerry is trying to fix the coffee maker Jeff gave him for Christmas a couple years ago.  At the plant nursery I got into the pansies, and bought three colors.  I also got some orange snapdragons, just because I love the color.  Luis' always has red pansies, my favorites. This evening I started planting them. 

The big news is after more than a year of waffling about and thinking and planning, and waiting so long Home Depot stopped carrying the pavers we wanted, we finally decided what to do and found a wonderful company in Arizona that sold us pavers we love for price similar to Home Depot. It is great to do business with people who know their product.  So we were out today figuring out what all else we need to get started.  Jerry has a week off, week after this, and hopefully we will make good progress then.  Here is Jerry breaking ground, digging out old bricks and tree roots.  Thanks to Rosalee's generous gift we will soon have our front walkways, patio and tricycle track. 

And finally we had some amazing french toast for dinner.  For some reason this week I have just dreaded having to make dinner and then worried that after nearly 38 years I no longer like to cook.  But when Jerry said that's fine we can eat out, that sounded so gross.  He said maybe I am just not into dinner right now. 

It has been quite the satisfying Saturday, with other chores completed as well.