Monthly Archives: October 2012

After a few days of overcast and rain showers the golden rays of morning sun are a delight to the eye and everything looks so brilliant with autumn color. The gardening is still going on with dividing and new additions, given all of the great buys at the nurseries right know. This is the time to buy the many multiple plantings, because sometimes I don’t want to wait a few year for larger displays.

The Seasons Border, in this morning glow is striking and the solidago ( golden rod ) is really doing it’s thing with all the other colors around, but for some reason it stood out before everything else around it, and then I remembered a story, a legend I once wrote about, so I will share this legend of the goldenrod and its golden rule with you for it comes from a collection of writings I wrote a number of years ago about a magical place were flowers are human and their lives give meaning.


Great stories are told about what one might encounter on the roads and by ways of the country side. Stories of fortune and wisdom that also walked with misery and misfortune, promises are made and broken and one is best to be of strong mind and heart before venturing on these lesser traveled paths.

Our story begins on one such path, known as Shadows Path. Large trees grow on either side of the path and their shade is dark and cool. Here the ferns, wild grasses and flowers grow tall to reach for the light and the air is filled with woodland wonders. The moss-covered stones and logs soften the trail some what and a gentle kind of silence  falls over the forest.

A brother and sister named Justin and Trudy where returning from a long days walk on a very warm late summers day, when they noticed a well shaded path ahead. They knew this as a short cut back to the village where they lived. This short cut is cooled by large trees and they decided to take Shadows Path home despite the stories they had heard about this path. Besides, at the time it seemed like a good  idea.

The two laughed and picked woodland flowers and ferns as they walked, Justin noticed in the distance a figure slowly coming their way. The two stopped short and jumped into the deep ferns and sat quietly and listened. Soon they could hear the noise of a peddler and the clanging of his wares. His voice was strong and clear. He sang a song about all of life and its golden rules. The song broke the silence of the forest and the children became frighten as the peddler came closer to their hiding place.

As the broken rays of the sun shone through the canopy of the trees and reflected on the strangers face, they could see time and weather had taken its toll on this peddler, who stopped in front of them. Looking slowly over the tall ferns, the stranger called out ” who is here?” Now very frightened, Trudy and Justin didn’t notice that the ferns around them were shaking, “come out you frighten rabbits and come now. No harm will come to you.” The peddler said in a soft voice. Slowly Trudy and Justin lifted their heads from the ferns and ventured out to where the peddler stood. He asked the children why were they hiding, Trudy and Justin thought and answered, ” We are told not to talk to strangers and so fear moves us to hide till all sense of strangeness is gone and safety returns.” “Rightly so,” answered the peddler.

Trudy and Justin sat for a time with the peddler sharing stories and wishes. They even laughed together. Soon the peddler got up on his feet again and gave to his new friends a small gold-colored rod of stone. He told them to remember one of lives golden rules. When faced with fear and unknown, look deep within yourself and be true. It never fails, no matter how strange or different and difficult the truth may seem, be true to yourselves. The peddler sang his song once again, as he left their company. Trudy and Justin turned once more to wave goodbye, but where the peddler had been, he was no more, and the path that he walked now was covered in flowers of the noblest color of gold, which seemed to light the path both from where he came and where he went.

The children say that it is the roaming peddler who carries the golden rules. They call the flower his golden rod, which always lights your way through lives dark paths.

Let the golden rod that grows along all our roads and paths and meadows,  be a symbol of the truths that lie deep within all of our most humble of thoughts.

A thought; Fear can sometimes stop forward motion.

Summers vitality is still present this month and although some of the color still lingers, it is only a matter of a few weeks or days before the first breath of Jack Frost,will sweep the garden and take from it all the color and fragrance that had lingered so long.  I have started the process of moving the frost and cold tender plants back to their winter home in Acorn Cottage from their summer garden spots, I just can’t believe summer is over. I took just a few moments the other day to go back and to read my earlier blogs, and I was reminded of the many good moments in the Shire during the summer of 2012.

As I work on cleaning up pots and removing spent foliage, I talk to the plants, as most gardeners do, but many won’t admit to. I explain to them why they need to behave while living in Acorn Cottage during the cold months ahead.

I have about 30 different frost tender plants that will once again return to there spots in the house, so I start with washing their outer pots with a little bleach and water and I spray a little house and garden insect control so that we won’t receive any unwanted house guests. These pots are all taken to the Garden Terrace close to the house where it stays warmer most evenings and will make of quick work when notice of frost is in the air. I try to keep these pot outside for as long as I can, for the change of light conditions from outside to inside window is a shark for them.

This is also the time I will take cuttings of the many coleus that are in the Shire Garden to root in jars throughout the winter for next summer and pot up some of the geraniums that we enjoyed, their colors will please the eye as we gaze out to the cold white and gray days ahead.

The up rooting of frost and cool tender plants begins now, as the evening temps hover around 50 to 45 degrees, plants like caladiums and tuberous begonias will start to die back, their removal is easy for in the spring I planted them in the garden, pots and all, as this also aids in summer change outs and retrieval in the fall, in the spring I will repot and feed and start all over again.  I lift the pots clean them off and let them dry out just as they are before taking them to the root cellar. Other roots like those of dahlias and gladioli and frost tender lilies will be lifted after the first real killing frost, and laid out in a sunny spot and labeled to dry off  then excess soil taken off and dusted with a fungicide and insect control just for protection during their winter sleep. I will wrap them in dry news paper and some in dry peat moss in milk crates and store them in the root cellar that stays around 50 degrees most of the year. This sounds like a lot of work and it is, but this gardener love his plants and it is a labor of love.

Then there is the most dreaded time for any passionate gardener, the time to decide which of the plants will have to be sacrificed to the frost and freeze for there is no more room at the inn. I have in the past offered many to friends and neighbors, but I found that by mid January they stopped inviting me over and by springs return, the stories of sudden death was hard for them, so I now spare them of such stress.

As stewards to the plant kingdom we gardeners each year are faced with the said sacrifices and will spend time with these plants in their last moments of glory. We will cover them with cloth in the first stages of frost in hopes of a little more time and in the final of a deep freeze we will honor them with thanks and remember their great contribution to the beauty and magic of the garden. We will assure them that their contribution to the compost will enrich the promise of a beautiful spring.

The nights are cooler and the long walks through the garden are quicker now. The smell of the fallen maple leave fill the air with the scent of maple, they are the first to drop and their color were exciting and enjoyed. The low horizon light reflexes off the hues of yellow, orange and reds and purples that are all around me, and I recall many thoughts and feelings. How beautiful the final moments of autumn is. Yes how beautiful indeed!

A thought; In the moments of transformation let nature be our guide.

My heart is beating very fast as I stand in front of the huge spring bulb display in my favorite nursery! I can’t help my self I just love bulbs. It’s fall and when I see those colorful pictures and get a smell of those wonderful bins of all different shapes and colors of bulbs, well, I just want some of each and this is where I need bulb intervention, someone has to help me, so I speed dial my Oracle, ( This is what I call my friends in time of need. )

I have several to choose from, so I call Oracle # 2, He can talk me out of anything or at least slow me down a little. I tell him my plight and where I was and what I was thinking about doing, the answer came fast, ” step away from the bulbs they are not your friends ” now what kind of answer was that, ” they are not my friends ” like that’s going to stop me. Then he says, ” unless you have a place for them and thought about their placement with other spring flowers for just the right combinations that you love showing me up with, then step away from the bulbs.”

I love my Oracle’s they get how I think, of cause I need to think this out after all he’s right I always think things through and he is terrible with color combinations and wants to see what I put together, so I will go home with colors in mind and work on some wonderful spring displays.

Here are some of my Faves for the coming spring that I will plant this Fall.

Group Allium-0
pink tulip-0
snow drops-0

Snow Drops – Galantus – Pusey Green Tip, they are doubled flowers with small green tips and are much showier than the old singles can’t wait for these this early spring. A Genus of about 19 species of bulbous perennial found from Europe to Asia. Mostly a woodland plant that loves humus rich soil that drain well and most send up a single bloom in late winter early spring.

Grape Hyacinth – Muscari armeniacum – Blue Spike, this has double flowers with a rich blue tone a must have. Genus of 30 species most found in stony slopes of the Mediterranean region. all send up fall foliage that will stay the winter and as the soil warms more foliage and bloom will merge.

Crocus – Crocus, a must have for clumps along the garden paths. A genus of about 80 species of dwarf cormous type perennial found in meadows and woodlands throughout the world. Plant them 3 to 4 inches deep, most flower at various times in the spring, there are also fall blooming varieties.

Bluebell – Hyacinthoides – La Grandesse, bears nodding, pure white bell flowers. I’m always planting them in Oak Grove and they are starting to spread nicely. love them in spring bouquets. A genus closely related to Grape Hyacinths of about 16 species of small bulbs that are found throughout Europe and Asia woodlands and meadow and steam edge. Loving moderately fertile soils that drains well.

Tulip – Tulipa – T. Acuminata, this is in the lily – flowered group, I love the flame like appearance in the lance twisting petals, this is going to be a show stopper. There will be other tulips planted in the Shire garden, like some from the fringed group’ as well as an early flowering group. More on this later.

A Genus of 100 species of spring-flowering perennial bulb once valued as wealth in Europe. Made up of many flowering types. Most require a long winter and grow in fertile, neutral to slightly acidic soil  that drains well.

Daffodill – Narcissus- N. Triandrus, ( Angel’s tears )  bears small 1 to 6 nodding creamy yellow flowers, these are slated for the Angel Garden. This is a genus of around 50 species of bulbs from Europe to northern Africa. Where winters are hard be sure to plant them no less than 3 inches below the soil. They will tolerate most soil types. This is a very large group so check them out on-line and do your home work not all daffodils are alike.

Kings Crowns – Fritillaria – F. persica, this is one of the most interesting for it has gray-green foliage that forms along tall straight stems that is top with deep brownish purple bell shape flowers and will go in the Front Borders with several pink shades of Darwin tulips.  A genus of 100 bulb perennials found in woodland and meadow settings and are found all over the world. Note, these bulbs have a strong smell and repel ground moles and other animals.

Now you can understand why I needed intervention, every garden should have spring bulbs and always plant them in groups or clumps of 10 to 12 this will have more spring  appeal and show. So go forth and buy bulbs whether on-line,your local nursery or catalog and dream of the colorful spring to come and always look at the blooming time to ensure a long spring season of bloom.

A thought; The thought I plant today will ensure me of my future desire.