Monthly Archives: September 2012

Well, autumn is officially here. This means warm shorter days and cool evenings and the trees around will soon be changing their colors to greet the frosty dance of days ahead. There are still a lot of flowers in the garden along with the many seed heads I like to keep for fall and winter interest. The birds also enjoy these seeds and to watch them balance on them for the seed is quite amusing.

In the Shire Garden the Lobelia – ( cardinal-flower ) and Tricyrtis suzukii – ( toad lilies ) and Aconitum – ( monkshood ) are starting to take center stage. The pink and white Anemone x hybrida – ( japanese anemone ) are in full bloom with them I use a soil calor to keep them from spreading too much. The Daliha’s are giving a great performance of bloom and the flowers are in every bouquet we make.

Then there is the autumn clematis – Clematis paniculata, it has sweetened the air in the entire garden, I have them climbing on and into a large old Thuja – ( arbor-vitae ) which is the entrance to the Column Garden just before you enter the Fairy Garden it looks and smells so magical.

The evergreens in the Shire are changing too, many are heavy with berries of blues and orange and reds and the birds are singing and fluttering all around them. The birds are also all around the Porcelain vine – Ampelopsis b. ‘ Elegans ‘ which covers one wall of the Fairy Garden, this vine will self seed and can be trouble some, so we are constantly pulling seedlings but when you see those berries its worth all the work.

The annuals are still going strong with color, the wax begonias are beautiful now and the new Guinea Impatiens are  in a peek of glory and the morning glories and moon vines covering the fairy wait in the Fairy Garden, well, what can I say but just enchanting. I always think all this wonderful growth and color just in time for frost and like that, its gone in one moment. That should remind us to treasure such things while they are with us.

The work in the garden is quick and steady for our days light is growing shorter each day and the things we do now have a great in pack to the spring season to come.

A thought;  Knowing you have only a moment, what would you do?

There is a strange glow to the garden, the morning sunrise with its glow is for some reason  brighter than I remembered. The sun is coming up orange that is intensifying this glow.

The fog for the past few mornings has been interesting for some mornings its high in the Oak Grove canopy, then others mid way through the garden and this morning low to the ground moving slowly around the Shire. With my coffee in hand I head out to the low fog and my morning garden inspection. Many of the plants are covered in dew and drip like rain. The ladies mantle is covered with water pearls and the ray’s of the early sun sparkles in these pearls and they have a magic of their own. Else were through the garden the dew drop sparkle like gold caught by the sun and some shine like sapphires. The fog at my feet circles around my movement and as I get close to the Frog Pond the pencil cattail rise above this low fog like wands. The lawn has several mushroom rings known as fairy circles and the low fog looks so cool as it moves around these circles and across the moss lawn.

I’m up with the first of the birds this morning and their sounds are muffled a little. Sometime my ageing eyes play tricks on me and I will see movement where there is none, or is there but the movement is too fast. It is a calm morning and thing seem still. Yet the fog continues to move. My walk continues to Oak Grove and the acorns have started to fall so I stooped for a moment to pick up a few and tucked them in my pocket for good luck and noticed all of the wild Indian pipes coming up everywhere and the fog rolls on.

My morning garden walks are important to me, I use this time to plan my day and often the quite moments in the garden leads to great thoughts.

A thought; Morning fog should  lift by noon!

Today I have some time to write, lots of much-needed rain is here so unlike other rainy days where I would choose to work in the many clients gardens as well as my own I choose to stay in and talk about, Asters, in Latin means ” star ” and at this time they are that indeed. Now not all asters are alike, there are a genus of about 250 species and most are found in North America.

There are the spring and early summer bloomers that are low growing by nature. In a group called Alpine aster – Aster alpine, these beauties are good for the front of borders and rock gardens and are great cut flowers as all the aster are. I find them easy to grow in well-drained soils in full sun although I have a few in partial shade and they do bloom but stand taller than those in the sun.

Then you have our early summer to early fall bloomers; Aster – Nouge – angliae ( New England aster ) that is clump forming with its dense cover of bloom and I some time put wire hoops to keep them up and neet. I love the shade of pink in these and the purple of these call ” Purple Dome ” is the most common and should be pinched back often to keep tight in front borders.But a  good performer. All can be cut back in the spring to keep compact, we like the height for flower arrangements.

Another fave, Aster – Novi – belgii ( New York aster ) Love this one for ” Kristina ” the white with yellow eye is so showy and then there is “Chequers ” my purple king with its yellow eye, show stopper.

Any one who has ever planted fall perennials probably have asters and to think of them as weeds, no way.  Most plants found in their own environment are often thought of as common weeds, like our common Solidago ( Golden Rod ) used in flower shop throughout the world and was once collected and prized in the gardens of Europe. Even today hybrid varieties are sold in our nurseries.

Asters should be divided in the spring for those that blossom late in the autumn will need time after bloom to establish a good root system before frost. The key I found with asters is, early in the growth stage keep them pinched back, get them compacted early and the flowers will be awesome.

Starwort, as the English would call them and how fitting, for this name refers to the star-shaped flower and “wort ” originally meant ‘root ‘ and any time I can plant something that connects heaven and earth with such beauty to the Shire Garden I do!

A thought; Our horizons are only limited by our beliefs.

September already! The days and months are moving to quickly these days, maybe this comes with age? Who knows. Be it as it is, this is the month that will usher in a new season known as autumn and that means its time for spring hopes in the gardener’s dreams. We start to think about preparing for the flowers of the summer to come and the transplanting and planting of new garden areas begin.

Around the 15th of this month the work of preparation for next summer should have begun, like adding winter compost and some super PH to get those root systems established while there are still some growing season left. This also is a good time to add a little lime to the lawn and planted area. You should also begin thinking about what plants might need protection from winter winds and frost and have those material ready for short notice of frost.

In the fall never move hardy chrysanthemums, Buddleia, ( butterfly bush ) anemone japonica, yuccas and dogwoods, late teratomas, magnolias and Althea’s, ( Rose of Sharon ) wait to do this in the spring. However fall is a good time to divide and or transplant most perennials and to sow perennials and biennial seeds. The cool crops like spinach and lettuces and greens can be planted now for fall harvest. Plant pansies they will surprise you all winter and spring, read my blog on”  Pansy talk ” I did back in April.

This is the season in the garden when growth shows signs of slowing down and the sounds in the garden changes to katydids and crickets and grasshoppers and almost over night the color hues are in direct opposition to each other and the feelings are those of longing. The 21st begins the official autumn season and with that we place the many pumpkins and gourds about the Shire that will be carved in late October for All Hallows evening. And wreaths of herbs and vines will be placed on doors and gates.

The herb garden keeps us busy harvesting and hanging things to dry for cooking and decorating that will be used for the holidays to come. The air is filled with these wonderful blends of sent and the soul of this season fills me with beautiful memories.

The garden will begin to look a little tiered and ragged now, keep up with your dead heading and spent foliage removal and add some color,  a visit to your favorite garden center will help with that fix and remember there’s always room for more and if these new plants survive the first winter they will be their next autumn.  Nurseries are now offering new sets of annuals for replacement in the now longer autumn growth season and its about time because every so often some finally grow out and finish their show earlier than I like, although having done a super job for the summer, and the thought of mums right now just isn’t working for me.

A thought;  Autumn reminds me that the cycle of life is always renewing..