Monday, November 16, 2009

Garden Diary
November 15, 2009

How desolate the garden has looked in the last couple of days as a wild wind sweeps through it, rustling the dry stalks and whistling through the shrubbery and the curly willows.

The pansies have succumbed to recent frosts, and although they still present little patches of lemon yellow the petals are limp and pressed forlornly against the frosty leaves.

Indoors, where the Christmas cactus are now living after a summer in the garden, they have decided to bloom early and make a pretty picture on the wide window sill in the big bathroom.

I hesitate to pot up the paper whites before the beginning of December in case they too jump the gun!

And the amaryllis I save for February to get us through that last month of winter (hopefully).

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Garden Diary
October 31st, 2009

Finally, blue skies and sunshine and a few hours to work in the garden.

Out with the snippers and I plunged right into the middle of all the confusion. Cut back the roses, especially the ones that were so badly damaged and have come up from below the graft, healthy and green but with no blooms.

All the sunflowers that sprang up in the garden have served their dual purpose, - first for beauty and then for food for the small birds, so they got pulled up, or snipped off, whichever was easiest. All except for one great potted one that had grown right through the pot and into the soil underneath. I got the pot up out of the soil and Charles managed to get the sunflower out of the pot. We will leave it in a handy spot for shelter for the birds, and any seeds that might linger.

The delphiniums and the lilies gave up their dried leaves and stems, and the shastas. I cut off a few peonies, and by this time the wheelbarrow came into play, hauling everything away to the compost heaping and leaving the garden considerably neater than when I started.

Charles brought some pumpkins around to the front steps, in honour of Halloween, and I hung up a black dress that a witch might wear, and a pointy hat, along with some witches shoes, a black umbrella that would be useful in the rain that came along about noon, and the witch's transportation, = a kitchen broom (the handle of which she flies off of when she gets frustrated....)

I took some pictures of the last of the leaves that glowed in the sunshine, and was grateful for these few hours of enjoyment as we put the garden to bed.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Garden Diary
October 23rd, 2009

The garden is awash in Russett. Well, not really awash, - it has more or less settled itself into these earthy colours - the greens have faded into a soft grey, and the leaves that had an underlay of brilliance just a few days ago have taken on a more sombre hue.

It is still lovely, but oh, so badly in need of a loving hand bearing sharp snappy snippers.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Garden Diary October 10th, 2009

First frost last night. Woke to a -4C temperature, and the nasturtiums all fallen around themselves, devastated by the frost.

Had picked the roses and the green tomatoes and brought the geraniums into the house to winter in the bathroom on the wide sill where the sun shines generously.

The chrysanthemum are still only partially in bloom, - very partially. Hopefully the weather will get warmer again and we will be able to enjoy their beauty on into November.

Here is a rose that got left behind, but weathered the frosty night quite nicely.

The grasses are delicate and subtle, - beautiful earth colours, - a naples yellow, the distinctive green of autumn and an occasional fiery red.

A couple of exquisitely elegant shasta daisies, entirely out of season and so a pleasant surprise.

The sumac, as seen through the curly willow, lend a certain delicacy to the more brilliant colours.

It is time to put the canna lilies to bed, - but first I have to find a place to bed them down where the temperature is just is time to think winter.....

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Garden Diary
September 30th, 2009

How can September have flown by so fast....

The garden begins to look as if it is entering into October, - the roses in their last flush, the chrysanthemum buds about to open into riotous colour and the sedum still looking quite splendid as they mature.

The new Europa planted this year had done particularly well, and has some lovely rich red blooms as we go into October.

Another first year bloom, - the Pink Delight.

A little corner of the garden with asters predominating, - splendidly!

Another lovely rose, and below a new sunflower bloom.

The row of curly willows along the roadway....

and the man who planted them, tended to them, and flits by on the tractor every once in a while....

Tomorrow I will plant more double peony tulip bulbs, some daffodils and some tiny white narcissus around the forget-me-nots.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Garden Diary
September 24th, 2009

A new steam cleaner has kept me busy with carpet cleaning this past week, but with the weather continuing to be sunny, not too hot and just perfect for being in the garden I ventured forth with the small garden shovel, a wheelbarrow full of top soil and my garden gloves.

I started the sprinkler at the end of the garden where the soil was getting dry and then moved on to devastate the couch grass and dig up patches of the large violet plants that have been filling in any empty space in the garden that they can find. A few bulbs popped up, but I reburied them in the freshly dug ground, and wished them well.

Charles cut the lawns yesterday with the garden tractor, so everything is looking quite spiffy up here in the back pasture.

While taking a little tour around the outside perimeter of the garden I came upon the beautiful purple clematis that climbs the centre of the willow that came along with it as a small seedling.

These cheerful yellow daisies have been blooming in the garden since June, enjoying the sun and the rain and the birds that come and feast above them. They show little sign of closing shop.

They are joined here by some late white delphinium.

Here are the Autumn Joy Sedum - they are scattered through the garden so their loveliness is shared in all parts.

Most spectacular of all is the fall Aster which stands almost six feet tall and is in full bloom these days, to the delight of the bumble bees.

The various roses, and the phlox, are enjoying the sunny days and cool nights.

Even these two pretty 'grocery store' roses....

I look at the garden, darkly, as through a veil of grasses...

I left the shovel and the wheelbarrow in the middle of the garden path - encouragement to spend another delightful hour gathering up the invaders.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Garden Diary
September 16th, 2009

The Iris that needed more sun are now tucked in around the peonies at the back, and I hope this will be a happier bed for them.

Apart from transplanting I only had time to vanquish a few clumps of cutch grass and diminish the size of one of the mint plants. But I will be back!

The sedum are looking glorious now. And the white phlox has had a little burst of adrenalin, - lovely in their purity.

One of the generous sunflower plants that feed the little birds, who all rise up in a panic at the sound of a footfall.

Caspar and I wandered down the road to find the doors wide open and welcoming at another Sunflower Bar.

The apples grow red and round and rosy as they ripen....

Down the aisle a translucent light and the laden trees invite one to tread the soft green carpet, and rustle through the golden grasses.

The faintest hint of fall in the scarlet maple trees...

and the autumn asters.

I pick a few of the hardy yellow daisies that have been in bloom since June, to add a little cheer to the house.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Garden Diary
September 11th, 2009

The days are simply scrumptious, - calm, cool and sunny with a lovely tang in the air.

This morning I started to removed some of the depleted annuals from around the peony bed, where I want to plant the Iris that Vince dug up for me, out of the shade. They have been in a little nursery pot for almost a weeek, and time that they planted their little corms over a hump of nice rich earth, with the roots dangling down on each side into the newly dug earth. They had not been doing well in the shade, - it is so important for the corms to protrude some of the ground in order to gather the sunlight to themselves and manufacture those lovely irises that bring such pleasure.

From early in the morning, all through the day, the goldfinches and other small birds are making themselves at home in the sunflowers and the cosmos. The leaves move in the sunshine as the birds flitter here and there, and at the least creak of the door they are all up and away, into the curly willow trees where all is safe and cool and green.

There are a few late delphiniums but many of the stalks were broken when a wild wind blew the barn flowers over on top of them.

Roses are meeting the challenge of fall, - the large purple aster plant is well on its way to domineering the garden (now that the barn flower has been cut back to a more civilized size).

There are pretty cosmos and nasturtium, - every where the plants are enjoying the cool fall weather.

Bedtime - more tomorrow.