this blackberry lily is so neat that it deserves a special post.

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Nearly spring 2012

Back again after an uneventful winter and a warm late winter over all.  we spent the month of February near Orlando Fla. It was difficult to get enthused over the ‘village’ and the area in Central Fla. Our home away from home  was stellar for a manufactured place.  the community seemed to be not a tight village but had a couple of different factions at odds over monetary problems. Surprise, huh?

So now we are home again and enjoying the warm late winter. it’s easy to explore the garden and cheer on the early bloomers.  however its hard to best the gardeners south of the Mason -Dixon line.  So far I have found a couple of lone crocus’ surviving from when we first began gardening this yard and failed to realize that the squirrels and chippies would feast on the bulbs.

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October wrap up

Just as in September, October has been a waiting game due to lots of rain: 5.5 inches thru today.  So far I’ve managed to clean and stow all of the garden decorations and have cut back about two-thirds of the perennials needing it. I’ve either taken cuttings or repotted the plants in the containers and already know that some will not survive til spring. (Oh well, nothing ventured).

I’ve not pulled the last of the swiss chard because the last stalks and leaves are so darn pretty.  Maybe next year we’ll actually eat some. Meanwhile I’m still fiddling around with the scarlet runner beans. I’ve harvested the last of the mature pods and they are drying out in the 3 season room.

scarlet runners with cooked kidney and black beans

drying scarlet runners

I’m trying to overwinter the Lysimachia I used in one the container pots.  This particular variety is said to be hardy to -15 degrees F. I put it near the furnace water-vaper exhaust.

Lysimachia 'Walkabout Sunset'

The lone holdout in a container is the Brugmansia below.  I can’t remember the variety I got in 2010 and over wintered for this year. They are always late to bloom here in western New York and true to form here’s the finale. I’ll take cuttings again but not ask Ken to lug the entire monster into the basement.

Brugmansia in October

Finally as I emptied the containers I brushed off, scraped and sanded the garden bench/planter box and repainted it.  I’m always freaked by the beauty and boldness of the periwinkle blue garden ‘stuff’ seen in the catalogs; so I got a couple of samples of paint that I thought were pretty close to periwinkle and proceeded to paint.  What do you think?

repainted garden bench

I like it so much that I’m searching around for more to paint.  Ken thinks shutters. I don’t know, it might be overkill.

 

Remains of the garden

Ok, ok, ok, OK already!  It’s been awhile since I posted on this blog. Truthfully I was discouraged by the WEATHER this gardening season.  First the barrage of water.  OMG. I planted peas at just the right moment and then depended on the WEATHER to continue the water so those peas would germinate and bloom and set peas…….. and right.. it didn’t happen.  Not a pea….  Then the rain held off and the summer seeds went in and the rain held offffffff…… and the entire garden suffered even tho I watered religiously thru July and August.    The fact that our TREE started losing its leaves in August did me in.  That and the reality of not being in any kind of shape to tend a garden shaken by heat and lack of water.  Major bummer.  But now its October and there has been a major reprieve for this gardener and my mini, mini estate.

The tomatoes are long gone and notes made as to what plan to proceed with next season.

A major change is the removal of the raised Iris bed.  They have been lovely BUT taking up major real estate.  Next year that bed will be the new tomato home;  then there will be room for more cukes and maybe space for onions. It turned out to be a good idea to put in the 2 smaller raised beds and the 2 bottomless pond circles for tomatoes and herbs.

In retrospect the real challenge was the weed disaster in the pie garden. The weeds within the raised beds weren’t the problem; it was the unending scourge of low matting weeds in between the raised beds. They are still there: sending out their roots, flowering and producing seeds and then seedlings-on and on and on. I need a plan to keep this problem at bay. No matter what goes into the beds all the ‘dead’ space is almost a deal breaker——-wha….wha….wha.But here are high points and saving graces and why I’m plotting and planning for next year.

scarlet runner beans drying

September Meal

The 2nd season for this cutting from the club

Parsley setting seed

Late Thai basil

swiss chard

Dahlias are still going

The front bed in Sept

 

A thankful shout out to Carol at May Dreams Gardens the hostess of garden bloggers bloom day.  Can you believe it’s already the middle of October.

August 15 Garden bloggers bloom day

The gardens here are a mess.  The stress of the heat and drought of July has caused our back garden maple to drop its leaves prematurely. So all the perennials and veggies have crumbly old maple leaves draped over them.

early leaf drop

So even if there are blooms out there they are probably gonna obscured with leaves.  A favorite of mine is the lycoris

or resurrection lilies-well-lily. It’s in the front  so not as likely to be covered in leaves. And this is only the 2nd time in 10 years that it’s bloomed. But it’s worth the wait because it just glows. I planted half a dozen bulbs last fall and even though they had a few leaves early in the spring I don’t see any sign of bloom stalks.

Lycoris

I love this year’s lantana. The color changes from yellow to peach to rose as it matures.

Lantana, Sunrise Rose

Along the back fence, this year I have twice the number canna I had in 2010. However none of that year’s plants bloomed. After the cloud bursts of the past weekend there’s a frond flying high above one the tallest plants. Promising, eh?

Canna frond

Also close to the back fence I planted a couple of different dahlias. They actually are not that different from each other; but pretty none the less.

Dahlia

Of course I have all the usual August bloomers struggling with the deluge of leaves. Let me just say that the scarlet runner beans are a joy to behold. They seem to be slow to produce beans, as are the Kentucky Wonders.  Meanwhile I’ll just enjoy the show.

Scarlet Runner Beans

 

As usual thanks to Carol at May Dream Gardens for hosting this edition of GBBD.

Tomato ID’s

Wow  it is really tough to decide whether some of these heirloom tomatoes are ripe.  I’ve had to make a chart of where each type of tomato is in the garden and make note of what color each will be when ripe. What do you think?

goose creek

These are near ripe, in fact we’ve been eating them a week now.  they are on the small side with average tomato flavor.

San marsano 2

Also ripe with a meaty body.  Good for sauce or paste but lacks the flavor of those grown in Italy.

Prudens Purple

Ripe and very attractive on the vine.  Taste is blah. Too bad.

Humph

Not quite ripe but a taste of an earlier fruit was wonderful. ( It’s green on the inside)

Black cherry

Ripe. This cherry tomato has the sweetest taste of any of the nine. It is well worth the growing and I don’t like to share it with Ernie.

Fantome Du Laos

This is a white  tomato. I picked one with these yellow shouders and a near white bottom and it was pretty tasty. I hope so because it looks to be the most proliphic of the group.

Pork chop

This one I haven’t sampled yet. The description says it’s yellowish gold with orange flecks. Soon—very soon.

Grub's Mystery Green

This is the toughest one to call. Green is green, right? Well if I press the flesh it doesn’t give much so I think they need a few more days.

I have two more varieties. There’s the currant that I thought Ernie might like and a volunteer in the asparagas bed. The currant is kind of a pain.  It spreads like wild fire and the fruits are not only very small but quite tart. This one I’ll not grow again. As for the volunteer; its behind all the others but I’m interested to see what it produces.

Weed rant

So OK while the tomatoes are ripening and the green beans are climbing and the cukes are producing; I am weeding,weeding , weeding. Of course I expect weeds but this year the oxalis has been ridiculous.  The entire iris bed has been drowning in oxalis.

oxalis PLUS crab grass

Meanwhile the open spaces between the raised beds have been harboring multitudes of weeds.

spotted sedge

sassafras

purslane

rose of Sharon treelets

nut sedge

These weeds are the main offenders but there  are  plenty more in lesser amounts that add to the burden of this gardener.