Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fall Planting Continues, and Frost Is On The Way!

Last week we really had a scare as temperatures were forecast to dip down to 30 degrees. It was rainy and cold after work, and the trusty stack of old sheets were grabbed, potted plants massed together, and more of the tropical plants hurried inside. No matter how much time I think I have, or how organized, that first frost always causes a bit of chaos. Wet, windblown, and chilled, everyone was covered. Even the dahlias were tucked in that night since I just couldn't believe it was already time for their blooming to end.

That night it only got down to 34 degrees.

Now that I, once again, have a bit of time, I really need to get things done. There are still about 20 plants, from ferns to lilies to clematis that need planted. Oh, and the bulbs. I don't even want to talk about the number of bulbs we have to plant. Today was damp and a bit drizzly, but I managed to get some things in the ground.

It might frost again tonight.
Last week I found a few sad looking Japanese maples shivering on a clearance table for about $8 each. Now that I am Hell bent on adding some trees to the Shade Garden, I thought these slow growers would be great. That is, if they survive the winter without being eaten.

This one is Acer palmatum 'Wolff', also called Emperor I. It is hardier in colder climates since it breaks bud later in the Spring, avoiding late frosts. It can grow up to 15' tall.
The second little maple is called Red Dragon (Acer palmatum dissectum 'Red Dragon') and will grow 5-8 feet tall, and about 5 feet wide. Since his size is a bit smaller I planted him closer to the house, just behind the curve of little boxwood. Japanese Maples are slow to moderate growers, and he will take about 15 years to reach his mature height.
Several hydrangea in the Hydrangea Border, despite their autumn foliage, are still happily blooming.

Another look at the new boxwood "curves" into the Shade Garden. I really am loving the way these look, and how healthy they seem to be. It will mean more burlapping this winter, but even if the investment was small (these were the super cheap boxwood plants I bought a month or more ago) I still want to protect them. 
They do seem happy. Many have bounced back from my rather hard pruning.

I've never seen a hellebore I didn't like. Indeed, somehow I ended up with far more than I thought, buying them whenever I saw them on sale. I planted one...

...two (notice all of the little columbines popping up from seed)...


...and four. I think there are still two more.
Five more little boxwood have been planted in a curve from the older, large boxwood at the corner of the patio. I also divided and replanted the edging of muscari.

Out in the garden I am testing one of the inexpensive grow tunnels I found for $5. I've planted a late crop of mesclun and some carrots. The mesclun should do fine, the carrots I will probably end up heavily mulching with leaves and harvest them in the spring. I have another of these tunnels that I think I might use for turnips and beets. Just a bit of an experiment as we go into winter.

The tomatoes are fading fast, but the nasturtiums I underplanted in their pots are looking gorgeous.

A vibrant yarrow is sending up some late blooms in one of the perennial beds.

There is a rather large crop of late red and gold raspberries in the Berry Patch. There is so much work to do out here with the raspberries and gooseberries and weeds and pruning the currants. It might need to wait until Spring.
The cutting bed is still giving a bounty of fresh flowers. The cosmos are out of control.

The zinnias are fading fast, but still putting forth a brave effort to give a few more bright blooms.

So lovely. It's easy to forget that Fall is here and frost is on the way when looking a cosmos flower in the face.