Tuesday, November 22, 2022

OCTOBER IN THE SWEET GARDEN


October

 - 1874-1963

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
To-morrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
To-morrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know;
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away;
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes' sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes' sake along the wall.



A few of my October favorites, left to right :  Autumn Sage, 'Bolero '  mum, Japanese roof iris,   and Euphorbia 'ascot ' .  'Autumn Joy ' Sedum is peeking out from the boulder on the left corner.
I planted dwarf Fall blooming anemones  to add to next year's blooms.  This year the asters were a disappointment.  I suspect they were affected by an early Spring fungus that also attacked my daylilies.   To remedy that in the Spring I'm going to spray with a fungicide.


The star of the late Fall garden is the latest blooming aster 'raydon's favorite'.  It spreads nicely and I've divided and planted it throughout my roadside garden, a deer resistant pollinator garden that fronts the entrance to my home.
While it takes the poets to write about the glories of Autumn it takes us gardeners to rake them so it's onward to composting a half acre of fallen  leaves and pine needles, some of which I'll leave for mulch but I have to be careful because I've seen signs of voles getting ready to nest for the winter.   




Tuesday, October 4, 2022

SEPTEMBER IN THE SWEET GARDEN



"By all these lovely tokens
September days are here
With summer's best of weather
And autumn's best of cheer."
- Author Unknown

Summer lingers and the ample rainfall we had in August has disappeared.   The mornings are cool and I use them to do my garden chores.  
The local garden center has started stocking its Fall plants and I found a few that I couldn't resist.  I purchased two dwarf anemones -'pretty lady susan ' and 'pretty lady diana . ' 


Spotted an unusual blue cardinal flower - ' starship blue ' for a partly shady corner of the garden.


I have a lot of yellow, orange and pink among the flowering plants so a touch of blue will help balance the color scheme.
I have fallen in love with coneflowers and have been planting them in every color.  I like the way they bloom continuously without much fuss.
August blessed us with a lot of rain but September was unusually dry so I had to do a lot of supplemental watering for newly planted perennials.
I have started to divide some spreading perennials such as the Japanese roof iris and 'ice dance' carex,
 and giving away excess to neighbors.  The lantana has also spread so I'm going to divide it as well.
Much cooler weather is on the way, as is Hurricane Ian which is supposed to impact us here in North Carolina as well.  Praying for everyone in its path.

Friday, September 2, 2022

AUGUST GARDEN SUPERSTARS

 "When summer opens, I see how fast it matures, and fear it will be short; but after the heats of July and August, I am reconciled, like one who has had his swing, to the cool of autumn."

-  Ralph Waldo Emerson 





As expected August was filled with endless days of temperatures in the 90's but lucky us here in central North Carolina we had ample rainfall.  I shudder to think what it would be like to have the 67 days of  no rainfall and temperatures in the triple digits that Texas gardeners and farmers have had to endure this year.  To make matters worse they were then flooded.  How do you garden in such extreme conditions ?

Despite the heat the Coneflowers continued to brighten the August garden.  Coreopsis is another stalwart as is the ever-blooming Lantana and Autumn Sage.   I love Blackeyed Susans but forgot to give them a haircut in July and they tended to flop over.  

I believe that I have THE tallest banana palm in town -it's at least 15 ' tall and it has a large flower bulb that should turn into bananas.



One of my friends gave me a small clipping of 'purple heart ' a few years ago and as it spread I transplanted it through-out my flower border.  I love it's color and the bees love its flower.


Last year the Asters bloomed very early and were spectacular but this early warm Spring we had caused a fungus that seem to stunt their growth.  It also affected my daylilies with ugly yellow streaks on their blades.  Going to be diligent in spraying with fungicide this Fall/winter to hopefully avoid fungus this Spring.

Waiting for the cooler days of Autumn to start my Spring flowering bulb garden.  I've ordered 500 bulbs of species  ( wild ) tulips and while that sounds like a lot, it's not nearly enough ! Since I have a boulder garden the species tulips look much more natural and will colonize quicker than the larger ones.   I do love the late lily flowering taller tulip and may use some of them as well.   The species tulip will look good with the existing creeping  phlox and early blooming Japanese roof iris.  

September can still be warm and sometimes dry.  I'll spend it going about the garden and seeing what should be divided and transplanted.  

Thursday, August 4, 2022

A COLD DAY IN JULY



                                                              July 10, 2022

                                          Carrboro, N.C.

                                                                 73 degrees high


 Sometimes the unexpected happens, thus the Southern saying " That'll be a cold day in July ' when it does.  I published a blog post a few years ago on this subject and got over 6,000 hits !

I'm still amazed that July here in central N.C. is the rainiest month of the year.   After days on end of temps in the 90's the thirsty garden certainly welcomes the rain.

We had a very wet, warm Spring that caused a lot of fungus, aka, Southern blight and it's mostly affected my Ajuga groundcover.   It's the first time that my daylilies were affected by the fungus and I had to spray them with Neem oil. 



Started my succulent garden next to the garden path near the back entrance with drought-tolerant plants.  

I'm loving coneflowers and have one in every color except white.  I am slowly filling my flower beds with more of them because they seem to love the hot weather and they bloom a long time.  My boulder garden, below, in late August, is filled with early blooming Mums, Autumn Sage, Purple Heart, Autumn Joy Sedum and Dianthus.  


Another drought-tolerant perennial that I love is coreopsis, aka, tickweed.  Below is 'moonbeam ' which has been in bloom since late Spring.  I gave it a little hair cut last month and it's re-blooming again.



By July we gardeners can tell which perennials are heat and drought-tolerant.  Another one that I like is Nepeta, or Catmint.  It tends to get leggy by late June so a trimming back helps it revive.  It is a very long blooming plant that the bees love.

Onward and upward in the garden -August won't give us much relief from this heatwave we're suffering this year but at least it's one more month 'til September !




Sunday, July 3, 2022

JUNE MARKS THE BEGINNING OF SUMMER



"And since all this loveliness cannot be Heaven,  I know in my heart it is June."

– Abba Woolson

     
        My backyard boulder garden has lots of textures that make it interesting even when not in bloom - the mark of a true garden, IMO.

The unusually hot weather of May continued into June and with very little rainfall I spent a lot of time weeding and watering.  The daylilies suffered from the warm, humid weather in Spring and had an ugly fungus that turned its blades yellow.  I have decided to move them to another location and replace them with coneflowers which bloom for a much longer season and don't have problems with fungus.

June begins with the arrival of the dreaded devastating Japanese beetle.  I put out 6 traps and they easily fill up.  I also pick them off in the early morning and evening and feed them to my chickens.


My 'moonbeam' coreopsis did very well this year and I want to add more of them due to their long bloom season.  My favorite color palette is orange/yellow/red and blue/purple . Sometimes pinks and whites sneak in.


I still find it amazing that I have asters blooming in June !  Also discovered my banana palm has a bunch of small fruits on it.  Most unusual.


Amazingly, and at only 3-4 ' high, this banana palm has fruit.

Alas  June is at an end and the hottest and wettest month, July is just around the corner.  





Friday, June 3, 2022

ALL THINGS SEEM POSSIBLE IN MAY



"The world's favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May."
- Edwin Way Teale


May in the Sweet Garden is very colorful with Japanese roof iris, phlox , daffodils, euphorbia, catmint and dianthus blooms.  

The weather has been very pleasant with plenty of rain.  A short heatwave was surprising and rare this time of the year.   The hard freeze we had earlier in the Spring damaged the 'ice dance ' sedge, the 'sunshine ' privet and the 'Lady Banks ' rose.  The good news, however, is that they will recover.


The Hellebores loved the cool wet Spring and have hung on forever.  I finally had to trim off the spent blossoms and dead foliage.  The snapdragons among them survived the winter.

May is a major month of celebration as the first day is my birthday, followed by Mother's Day and a son and daughter born this month.


The early blooms of Autumn Sage  ( left ) attract many hummingbirds that I enjoy watching from my back porch.  I have many bluebird houses throughout my yard and I love watching them fill up.



Early blooms of the most outstanding clematis -'bee's jubilee ' which re-blooms throughout the summer.



Meanwhile in my front woodland garden the Ajuga and viburnums are putting on their Spring blooms.  



Friday, May 6, 2022

APRIL SHOWERS



"The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day."- Robert Frost



This April was rather warm and didn't shower us with a lot of rain as expected.  Nevertheless the Spring flowers put forth their cheerful blooms -early blooming phlox, Japanese roof iris, dianthus and a shrub rose  ( above ) are some of the earliest to appear.


In my front yard forest the 'Prague' and ' Mariesii ' viburnums are blooming and in the foreground the cobalt-blue ajuga.  This area is a rain garden since all the run-off collects there.  The sedges soak up a lot of the excess.



The boulder garden is coming alive with the tiny yellow 'lady banks ' rose and Chinese snowball viburnum.


Above, my new moss garden is thriving in this shady nook.




Despite the lack of April showers the boulder garden is coming along nicely.  Now for some May rain !


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