Thursday, November 07, 2013

A Season To Celebrate

Fall is a season we can plan for, not necessarily planting and enjoying the color of flowers, however, there are many plants that put on a show in late summer and fall.  I am suggesting by planning ahead with trees shrubbery and perennials, fall can be a beautiful burst of color before the snow rolls in!

Dwarf Fothergilla
Tor Spirea
Ninebark Summer Wine
The above three shrubs are my favorites, but there are several others that display great fall color.
Weigela Wine and Roses
Weigela Dark Horse
Smaller shrub with lots of gold in the fall
Azalea Karen
Keeps its leaves all winter
Hydrangea Limelight
This is pretty much how Limelight will look all winter, leaves gone, flowers dried.
Itea Henry's Garnet
Just beginning to change
The trees all have their own color timeline, Magnolia in foreground, Accolade Elm on the right and Chanticleer Pear in the background.
Heuchera Pinot Gris
Don't forget some of the Heucheras stay for the winter and even peek out under the snow.
Heuchera Southern Comfort
Stays colorful all winter
Variegated Solomon's Seal
This plant had a lot of insect damage this summer, not sure what was stripping the leaves.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Great Pumpkin

This is a repost from 2010
Carving pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns is a centuries old tradition which began with the Irish carving turnips and beets as lanterns placing them in their windows, lit from the inside with a lump of coal.  They were used as a welcome for those who had passed on and as a deterrent to evil spirits. When the Irish immigrated to the United States in 1848 during the potato famine they could not find many turnips or beets, but found an abundance of pumpkins.  From this time on, the carving and lighting of the pumpkin became a tradition in the United States on All Souls Day.  This tradition later became transferred to the day we celebrate Halloween.

A traditional Irish Halloween Jack-O-Lantern from early 20th century at Museum of Country Life, Ireland

Did you know that pumpkins are not a vegetable - they are a fruit!  Pumpkins, like gourds and other varieties of squash are all members of the Cucurbitacae family, which also includes cucumbers, gherkins and melons.  Pumpkins have been grown in America for over 5,000 years.  They were unknown in Europe before the time of Columbus.

If you are going to carve a face in your pumpkin it works very well with an elongated pumpkin rather than a round squatty one.  It is so much easier to carve if you have a very ripe pumpkin, hard to know this until you stick in the knife.  Sketch out your face on the best side of the pumpkin,, cut a circular lid on top (large enough to insert an LED candle) scoop out all of the seeds. Separate the stringy fibers from the seeds and wash the seeds in a colander.

I think the children are better artists than I am

If you are doing this with children it is fun to let them tell you how it feels when they scoop out the seeds, talk about shapes, colors, ask them how many seeds they think are in the pumpkin.  Help them lift the pumpkin, how much do they think it weighs, show them on a scale.  I think you get the idea, this can be a multi-level integrated experience for children.  Lay the seeds out on paper towels and when dry, it is a great activity to count them by ones and then tens.  It is always amazing how many seeds are in a pumpkin!

This is certainly not a professional carving job!

You can't stop eating them!  This is a child tested recipe for pumpkin seeds.

     Make sure the seeds are dry
     Put them in a frying pan with butter and salt
     Cook slowly until brownish stirring often
     Drain on paper towel

Yum, Yum!

LED candles fit inside and are safe.  I have a six inch one in this pumpkin.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Fall At Gatsbys Gardens

Spring is my favorite time of year but Fall runs a close second.  The colors this time of year are quite magnificent and almost rival the display of spring and summer.

The front garden is just beginning to change and again, I just couldn't resist some mums to color up the season.  This is Bedazzled Bronze a mid-season variety.

The urns are simple, ivy from the summer arrangement, a large cabbage, rudbeckia, Vertigo grass and a sedum which will go into the garden in November.

This is Flame Red under the mailbox, not a long lasting mum but if you keep it deadheaded it should rebloom this season.

The front concrete boxes are filled with two different types of Kale, cabbage, mums, sedum which will transfer to the perennial garden, ivy from the summer, pansies and faux gourds.

Dichondra from the summer, with some cabbages, mum and pansies.  This was a simple one mostly from Home Depot for the hayracks on the back shed.

The Sweet Potato Vine is left from the summer but is tender and will not hold up to the frost.

One faux pumpkin, one real with Hannah mum and a carex grass, dichondra falling down the sides.

Simple again, a Hestia Red Mum in the patio concrete planters


Friday, September 20, 2013

Bloom And Rebloom

It always amazes me this time of year that some plants  have just begun to bloom after a long spring and summer.  We need to seek them out to make our gardens span three seasons.

Actaea Black Negligee
Obedient Plant Vivid
Anemone Robustissima

Hydrangeas blooming late really add to the late summer and fall garden.

Unique Hydrangea
Limelight Hydrangea
I left most of the blooms on this year until they turn that wonderful white with pink hues.
Little Lime
The grasses are wonderful especially the late season varieties that are just beginning to open up.  They are late coming up in the spring which means that bulbs and earlier perennials can be planted with them.
Miscanthus Udine
Late season reddish plumes
Miscanthus Little Kitten
Pennesitum Hameln, Ruby Ribbons
Newly Planted Fothergilla
Amsonia Hubrechtii Northwind (trimmed down to eight inches after flowering), Pennesitum Piglet, Gerald Darby Iris With Ninebark Summer Wine
Plant for late season color not just flowers!
Sedum Matrona With Sedum Angelina
This sedum blooms in the summer with great dried flowers through the fall and winter.
Reblooming only happens with most plants if you deadhead consistently, not really a difficult task if you walk your garden to see what's happening.
Phlox Candy Store Bubblegum
What more could you ask for with this display of September blooms?
Franz Schubert
Blue Paradise
There are many more reblooming phlox in my garden but this just gives you an idea of the color you can have in the fall.
Dicentra Exima
Rainbow Knockout
Planted between Max Frei Geraniums and Plumbago
Carefree Beauty
One of the roses that keeps going until frost
Pink Knockout
Many clematis rebloom is you give them a little trim after the main bloom.  I cut down all my type II's to get rebloom in late summer and fall, lightly trim type III's to get some late summer blooms.  I do not trim type II's again until after flowering in the spring.
Fireworks Type II In Late Summer
Henryi Type II
Bees Jubilee Type II

I have never done well replanting for fall in the veggie garden.  It seems everything gets eaten as soon as it sprouts!  I had some wonderful peppers again this year with Mariachi (medium hot) and with a grafted tomato I am trialing.  Improved Whopper was tasty but very inconsistent fruit size.  I love that Golden Jubilee, lower acid tomato!
Heirloom Purple Tomato, Fanfare Cucumber, Golden Jubilee Tomato, Deuce Determinate Tomato, Mariachi Pepper