Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Week 12, Summer's last week

Where to begin? I will not think about politics or baseball (I am a Cubs fan) and maybe writer's block will go away.

The daylight has disappeared. It is hard to garden in the dark. I know what that means. That’s why they send you garden catalogues this time of year. When you can’t see, you have to dream.
Here at the garden it is really fall. It is dark at 6 in the morning and it is also cool. The leaves are falling. The buckeyes are set to launch themselves on their downward travels, as the neighborhood children start to examine my back driveway like they were looking for Easter eggs.
Just ten days ago it seemed like it was hot and I was worrying about getting out the hose. Then along came the remnants of the hurricane. Yesterday morning it was to be in the upper 30’s in parts of northern Iowa. The computer says it is 44 right now in Iowa City. I will have to start moving the orchids inside this weekend. As it is their poor little systems have been so shocked at this point that they should start sending up bloom stalks any minute.
I finally got a load of woodchips. I spread them out over the paths, first gathering up the broken down old chips to sprinkle around places that want some organic matter. Putting out woodchip paths is so gratifying. Instantly you can make that part of the garden look so much better.

Garden pictures are a little hard to come by. There are certainly plants that do look good. Fall usually is wetter than August, even when August was wetter than usual. The top ten things that look good are:

Pink Turtlehead- I added a few plants to the clump this spring and there is now a nice group.

Toad lilies- More and more I think of these as the backbone in September. For delicate flowers this is quite a task. I am sprinkling them around the garden and then moving them because they were too close to a hosta once it got bigger.

Impatients- Slowly but surely, the plants I planted in late July are filling in and will provide color into October. It really is important to remember that the garden will go on quite nicely for almost two more months. That is an eternity in gardening.

Pulmonaria- it’s only foliage but these plants will stay lush for a long time. They thrive in the dry of August and then perk up even more when it gets cool.

Japanese anemonies. I just planted a dozen new ones a week ago. The established plants are 4 feet tall at this point, some blooming and some waiting.

The castor bean corner, with the Persian Shield base. This is really a wonderful combination on Fairview Street by our front driveway. I have a group of castor beans that are approaching 5 feet tall. Underneath them I have the wonderful purple of the Persian shields.

Some of the hosta are quite good. They are quite large. In fact now is the time to decide who stays and who gets potted, at least in the spring. Hosta can really get too close together.

The occasional plant that reblooms, like the clematis or the blackberry/candy lily in the bonus pictures.

Caladium- They will stay strong until the temperature drops below 40. That will be any day now.

Heucheras- coralbells by another name. These plants really do perk up when the temperatures come down and there is the fall moisture. I have this mental picture of these colorful clumps merging from the falling leaves that are mostly brown.

Here are a few pictures this week.
A toad lily called Empress.

A jack in the pulpit seed head.

Hosta Dick Ward-

Banana Pepper. Banana Pepper? Where did that come from? We do not have enough sun to grow vegetables. So we put a few in pots along out kitchen steps. This one did quite nicely this year.


Bonus pictures this week include reblooming clematis jackmani, hosta blooms, more toad lilies, turtle head clump and wood chips.

Enjoy the fall.

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