Sunday, October 29, 2006

Errr . . . excuse me . . . did you know it's fall?

The end of October, and the garden performs as if time was moving backwards towards winter through spring.

How else to explain these exuberant clusters of roses . . .

. . . the joyful labor of these sweet peas . . .

. . . or the stray blooms of sweet william, phlox, and ladybells?

Even next summer’s larkspur has set itself in!

We have not even had a killing frost yet. Sure, there are signs of the season: golf ball-sized dogwood fruits, fallen leaves, and autumnal winds.

I generally believe in letting nature take its course. Plants, like people, should not be hastened to their inevitable ends but rather allowed to find their way at their own pace. Foliage, in time, ripens, turns color, and dies. Those brittle and brilliant yellow fronds of astilbe, amsonia, and hosta deserve to stand undisturbed. (Although, last weekend, my horticulturally cultured sister-in-law did give me a gentle lecture on the need for good garden hygiene--as she cleaned my columbines of leaf miner.)

So although DRS and I did do some clipping and cutting today, I’m waiting until next weekend . . . or maybe the one after . . . to face the season.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The minors

The front yard is a black hole for minor bulbs: again this year, I planted 200 yellow Iris danifordiae, 200 white Iris reticulata "Natascha," and 50 fuschia Allium ostrowskianum. Because of their small size, about eight bulbs slip into each hole. One hour later, it's off to the races!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Homage to Japan?

Botantical intervention continues along the side of the house. DRS removed the privet stumps a few weeks ago. Last weekend, I dug in 4 cubic feet of peat moss and 240 lbs of composted cow manure and, with a late-season prayer, set in some 70 plants of Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis). Thinking of the wild hostas in the alpine meadows on Dewa Sanzan, this weekend I added a few of their very domesticated North American cousins. Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia "September Beauty") will anchor the front.

Could this be my homage to Japanese gardens?

No, that would incorporate undulating lines of Japanese summersweet (Clethra barbinervis), Pieris japonica, and irises reflected among the koi and lotus blossoms of a mirror-like pool. This is just a low maintenance foundation bedding.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Yellow dahlias

These yellow dahlias, mixed in hosta and peppermint foliage, light up the garden.

I am hoping that my generous, kind, thoughtful, charming father-in-law will offer me a couple of rhizomes before I turn the parent plants back to him this fall. (Will that work?)