Sunday, October 03, 2010

In the Garden

I don't really want it to be fall, yet I can't help but appreciate the cooler weather and the fact that it's time to get some serious gardening in without melting!

After months and months of work, I might actually be done (for the season) with the sidewalk garden bed. Fortunately, I finally remembered to take a before and after shot! Here it is in early June, covered with weeds and irises and weedy irises:

Here it is after all of the ripping, shredding, weeding, re-planting and mulching, today:

It doesn't look like much right now, does it? A little less weedy. A lot more mulchy.

I only kept the Beautyberry, Prairie Smoke, Phlox subulata, spiderwort and Basket of Gold alyssum. I brought around a whole bunch of plants that have been languishing in the shade in the back yard: agastache 'Apache Sunset', Chinese grasses, pink asters, peonies, 'Blue Hills' sage, tall garden phlox, Siberian catmint and columbines. I moved a few plants over from the xeric bed as well: a long suffering heather, a pair of Rocky Mountain penstemon that were growing among some rocks and a few winecups. The only new plants are those 3 little grasses I added on one end. I'll give that a whirl and see how it looks next year!

My xeric garden looked a lot nicer in June than it does in October.

So, of course, I'll have to start weeding, moving plants and adding new ones. I've already started here:

where the Shrub of Doom used to live. The yarrow seems to be trying to take over, so it's time it met up with The Pitchfork. I've put out signs offering all that I'm ripping out for free to the neighborhood, but anything that is left over in a day or so will be compost! Oh and while I was ripping away I found a shed snake skin. No snake came to visit, but I know it's out there some where! Maybe after I've finished messing around with all of the plants I'll see it again. I wonder if it eats voles?

The cherry tree garden looks a little bare after I weeded it and discovered vole holes:

And that they had gnawed off the bottom 6-8" of the cherry bark where it meets the soil. (Evil bastards! They will pay for this!) Also, next year, I'll be keeping a sharp look out for voles and other critters that want to take up residence in my garden beds. Hopefully I won't have the same wasp issue next year as I did this year. The columbines and bleeding hearts should fill in nicely next year, too.

The new stone steps now have two kinds of thyme happily growing in the cracks, attempting to keep the soil from washing away after every rainstorm. I can't help but like how finished they make the steps look and this is only after a couple of months! By next year I wonder if I'll have to start giving the thyme a trim? I sure hope not.

I even added some sempervivums just to see how they'd do. We'll find out next year how well they'll over winter! I hope to get more cobweb varieties in there, since they're so cute.

My containers are looking pretty good and the succulent plants were a big success this year. I totally got to forget about watering these pots for days or weeks at a time and they didn't die! That's a damned good container planting!

I couldn't help but notice that the Autumn Joy sedum is trying to take over the entire pot, so I'll probably move the three of them into the sidewalk garden. Then I'll replant the 3 pots with yet more sempervivums, since that way I'll have something to look at all winter on the front steps!

I missed out on the Botanical Garden's fall plant sale because of the twins' birthday party, but I've made up for it by getting a bunch of plants on sale at the local garden center. I even managed to talk them into cutting 20% off the sale price of a Double Delight tea rose that was looking kinda limp. It was in a 5 gallon pot, so I felt like I made out like a bandit! (It's the same rose that I had planted long ago and moved around 3 different times. This last time, I may have killed it, but in the off chance that I didn't, I planted the new rose nearby the old one. It even has a bud on it! I don't know why I'm excited about that, but there it is -- I am.) Once I watered it, it perked up immediately. I dug a lovely large hole for it and threw in a huge bucketful of compost. That sucker had better be happy next year!

I also picked up 2 weigela 'Minuet', 2 sempervivum, and 5 Salvia greggii 'Rose'.* (I'm not sure if 'Rose' is an actual variety name or just the color description.) The flowers are a lovely deep magenta/purple color and I think they'll look smashing backed up by some of my volunteer Agastache cana. I'll just have to dig them up from where they have spread themselves around the yard and in my pots.

Just in case you didn't know, fall is the best time of the year for installing new trees, shrubs and perennials. They have until the first hard frost to establish a good root system and will be a lot bigger next year in time for blooming season. Also, most garden centers are trying to get rid of their stock so that they don't have to over winter as much product, so now is a great time to save some money! Suddenly, that rose that I really wanted is a lot more appealing when it's 50% off. Plus another 20% because I asked so nicely! The magic words: "Is that price the best you can do?"

No, seriously, give that a try and see what happens.

It's amazing how messy it can look when you move plants around while re-vamping the garden, but by next season, everything will fill in and blend together. As usual, I'm looking forward to it!

* Eric tried to suggest that I might have a....problem as I was shelling out money for yet more plants. Personally, I think I can stop any time I want.


Any day now, I'll stop gardening when I feel like it.

Any day now...

You know, like once it starts snowing.

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