Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Getting the Last Bulbs In the Groud

A final shipment of lily bulbs arrived last week, and I decided to make an area inside the vegetable garden to plant them. Once I sat down to see what bulbs we still needed to plant, I realized I could add some allium and Dutch iris bulbs to the little plot. Although I will definitely cut some blooms, the purpose of planting the lilies in the vegetable garden is to draw pollinators to the plants. 

Hopefully we have better success with this year's lily bulbs than we did last year.

First went the allium bulbs. A mix of 'Gladiator', 'Purple Sensation', and a white allium that I'm not sure of the name of.

The lily bulbs looked very healthy. I planted a tall mix of Oriental lilies including yellow and white Stargazer, a double oriental, as well as some martagon lilies that are not fragrant but that I will want to pick for home.

The lilies mixed in with the allium. Did you know lily bulbs never go dormant? It's important to get them planted as quickly after their arrival as possible so they do not dry out or rot.

I just realized these picture are upside down. Anyhow, I covered the first row of bulbs with a couple of inches of soil and then planted about 40 purple Dutch iris bulbs on top of the allium and lily bulbs. Then I covered the row level with the rest of the garden and gave everything a good drink.

So as of now, the garden has been put to bed. I'm sure I'll see a bag of tulip bulbs on discount and try to shove them into frozen ground in December, but for now I'm done. Now on to cutting back perennials, weeding, and adding leaves to the compost pile.

Monday, November 14, 2016

First Frost

It finally happened about two weeks into November. A freeze hard enough it wiped all of the tender vegetation out. It was time. I picked a ton of green tomatoes, little eggplants, and even the tiniest of tomatillos before the frost came. On Sunday we started cleaning everything up.

The poor zinnias were so gorgeous this year.

There was not a lot of plants left in the garden. But the eggplants, beans, and peppers were finally pulled, as well as the odd borage volunteer that tent to pop up here and there in the garden.

The sage stays pretty green all through the winter.

Pots were emptied. Dirt needs to be dumped and the pots taken in to the garage for the winter.

The Hydrangea Border always looks the worst after the first frost. It reminds me of that horrible spring where we had a late frost and we lost almost every plant.

I love how green the ferns remain.

Another pot that needs dumped and moved inside. I should prune the boxwood before they get wrapped for the winter, as well.

Looking through the redbud leaves at the back path between the Shade Garden and the Vegetable Garden. I really want to rebuild the fence on the Vegetable Garden.

Lastly the glorious red Japanese maple over some evergreen hellebore. And some thistle that needs pulled. Even in the fall, the work is never done.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Some Fall Color to Brighten the Drab Days

A few weeks ago while I was taking apart planters and potting up begonias to bring inside, it occurred to me that there was no reason to let all of the wonderful coleus that were still thriving on my friend's deck fall victim to frost (and it looks like Friday night is our first good chance). So a few snips here and a few snips there and I had enough for two autumnal arrangements.

Coleus will last a long time in a "floral" arrangement, and sometimes will root in the water. I think they look beautiful on their own, mixing the varieties for contrast and texture. Very little arranging is needed, just make sure you strip off any leaves that will be below the water line. These have been in place for almost two weeks now and they look like I just cut them yesterday.

Remember, if you can, to do a quick water change at least every other day. That's true for any floral arrangement.
The chartreuse and rust colors look great in my Kyoto Green bathroom.

A lustreware creamer is the perfect container for a small arrangement on the kitchen island. All of the yellow ware bowls have come out of hiding for the season. This picture reminds me to check my spices as baking season really starts to ramp up.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Planting For Spring

A few weeks ago tulip mania hit, as usual, and I began snapping up whatever tulips I could find. They went on sale. I snatched up even more. Then came the realization that I had no idea where I would plant these since there are so many garden projects happening at once. There are peonies to be moved, some perennials still to be planted, and beds that need to be built up before I plant anything in them again. So basically I'm saying no room for tulips. 

I remembered a blog of Martha's from the spring where she planted a whole garden devoted to nothing but tulips to cut. Then I remembered that after ten years our old Darwin hybrids in the Berry Patch (and former cutting garden) had really petered out this past spring. So combining the two ideas it was decided that all of the tulips, well, almost all, would be planted in the vegetable garden.

Yesterday was the day I got started.

I think I planted just under 400 yesterday afternoon.

It helped that all the beds had been filled with wonderful compost, and cleaned up before that. Planting was really easy.

The beds are 4'x8', so I fit six to eight rows in each bed.

There will be plenty of room between the rows to plant spinach, mesclun, beans, peas, even carrots and beets next year.

In addition to the tulips, I just placed an order for about 40 Oriental lily bulbs. I was going to clump them together where the lemon balm once grew, but I think I might plant them right along the edge of the old raised beds where the newer, 11'x19' bed begins. They will bring pollinators as well as be more cut flowers for me to take inside.

All done for now. These beds are all planted, as well as a long row of mixed colors in the large bed just out of the shot to the left. I want to get more to fill the large bed and really make this a show stopper in the spring. I'm keeping my fingers crossed no chipmunks dig them up.

Speaking of flowers to cut, the little patch of zinnias in the vegetable garden is still thriving. They didn't grow as tall as the ones in the cutting garden, but they still grew better than ever.