Monday, November 17, 2014

Before The Snow Fell

The snow was falling before I even made it out into the garden yesterday. With temperatures about to plummet for the next few days I am hanging all of my hopes on the far off forecast that Thanksgiving week, while I'm on vacation, the temperatures make it back into the 40s and I will be able to finish up everything.

Last week, despite rain and wind, I managed to get quite a bit done before the snow flew. I'm happy to say all of the actual plants that were in pots have been planted, and as of today 544 bulbs have gone into the ground. Spring should be quite a lovely show.

Here's an update on the seemingly endless Fall planting.
A large, healthy bulb of a fritillaria persica. The roots really couldn't wait to get growing!

A few weeks ago I was edging the new curved beds with brick and planting some mixed muscari bulbs. I bought more muscari bulbs since then, and needed to dig carefully to see where I had left off. Luckily the bulbs I had already planted have all sent up healthy shoots toward the surface, so very little digging revealed their location. Grape hyacinths are wonderful in that they send up leaves in the fall as if to say "Here we are! Plant around us!" I wish all bulbs did likewise.
A section of the extended part of the Long Border along the south end of the garden. The bright foliage of the snowball viburnum and then two of the newly planted privet along the fence. The goal is a tall hedge to create a backdrop for the garden, as well as privacy. These are the things I wish I would have thought of years ago, because now we have a lot of plants to move away from the fence. However, we will also be able to divide many mature clumps of plants, such as the large daisy in the foreground.

I love to plant tulips in large clumps. We purchased quite a few packages of solid colors, and I have been planting them in masses of two colors. Here are three 'Gladiator' alliums as well. I never managed to move all of the allium from the Berry Patch (leftovers from when the Berry Patch was out Cutting Garden) but I did buy some new bulbs to add to the expanded beds.

More muscari. The clump of green leaves were moved from the edge of a grass path that is now part of the expanded beds, and the bulbs are a part of the 150 or so new ones purchased this fall.

I still need many more bricks, but the edging is really coming together. These Lamb's Ears were sickly little sale plants when I bought them over the summer. One remained rather sickly, but these two grew three times their size in just a few months. The daylily is a transplant, and planted a bit too close. So many things still need to be moved, but will need to wait until the spring.

The kitchen Garden truly needs to be put to bed. There are still some carrots and turnips that I might just mulch and dig all winter, but all of the tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, beans, and tomatillos need to be removed and the beds raked.
In my mad dash to get everything in the ground, eight little hollyhock plants were planted along the back fence in the Kitchen Garden. There are several "specialty" tulips that will also be going in out here for bouquets in the spring. I hate planting anything other than Darwin Hybrid or other reliably "perennial" tulips bulbs in the decorative garden beds, but will plant them in the Kitchen Garden and have a few years of flowers from them.

I love the colors of the Berry Patch in the fall. The gooseberries are the brightest red!

Eventually (I have dreams that they are secretly being made for me for Christmas, but doubt that that is true) there will be a trellis over the center of the East and West paths on either side of the new "circle" of lawn created by the new beds. This clematis will climb one of them. However, if those don't appear for a while it can get a start on this plain little one.

Here you can see a little more of what I'm talking about. The original perennial beds were the "Long Border" along the fence and four 4'x8' beds at each end of the space. Now you can see how the Long Border is now connected to two of these beds, creating a semi-circular lawn. A plain metal trellis will be over the two grass paths on an axis across the lawn.

There are plans to build a structure for seating against the fence in the back center, and narrowest point, of the circle lawn. Something like a pergola surrounded in lattice and covered with Sweet Autumn clematis. You can see I have a lot more brick to place.

Out front planting continues as well. There is a bed at the two front corners of the property. And once this hydrangea catches up with the enormous limelight in the other corner, they will be very similar. The bed with the limelight hydrangea has a large clump of yucca, so I planted this variegated yucca in the same spot in the opposite bed. the small clumps of Stella D'Oro, a rather common daylilly, are from a large clump I needed to move in order to finally get the Julia Child rose in the ground.

My friend Sarah gave me this Opuntia cactus. At least I'm pretty sure that is what it is. Opuntia Humifusa are a type of Prickly Pear cactus native to Eastern North America, growing from Montana to the Great Lakes and from the Florida Keys up to Connecticut and Long Island. I really hope he survives the winter!

The bed on the South side of the house, our current "Cutting Garden" has all been ripped out until next year. The ground here gets rather wet in the spring, and the 40+ tulips I planted probably rotted, as only about 5 ever grew. I'm not making that mistake again and will happily leave this as a place to direct sow in the spring.
The Julia Child rose is a floribunda, and has found a new home right by the front door. Almost all of the roses have been planted for 30 years on the front (east) side of the house. Hopefully she will grow even better here than she did in her pot all summer.

One last look into the "new" garden. There is still so much to be done, mud piles to attack, and plants to move (and new ones to buy). For now I will be happy to simply finish planting the bulbs and wait patiently for the rewards we will reap in the spring.

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