Once again, it is time for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, and I really can’t figure out where the last month went. It has been an extremely busy time for me, both personally and in the garden.
The big news in the garden for the last month has been the Monarch butterflies. We were swarming with them, as they flew through on their way to Mexico. They seemed to change their allegiance flower-wise from day to day. First they were busy on the butterfly bush, and then they discovered the torch tithonia. Eventually, when the New England asters started blooming in earnest, they wended their way to that corner of the yard and hung out there, drunk on the asters. I was so amazed by the quantity that I even learned how to make a video and posted it here.
After about a week, I guess they got bored with the New England Asters, and moved out into the labyrinth to enjoy the Small flowered white asters. This one was doing its best to imitate stained glass. I was really taken by the silhouetted shadows of the asters on the wings.
Things finally seem to be winding down for fall. The nights have begun to cool off, and the trees are starting to put on their fall colors. It appears that the ice storm and the late freeze hasn’t really affected the colors appreciably. It’s going to get awfully pretty around here real soon. And then we’ll have the leaf drop to contend with.
To prepare for it, I have been emptying my compost bins so that I have space to compost the leaves as they come off the lawn. This is a picture of my compost area, which I refer to as the “Compost Condominiums.” Notice the bent and dented roof, courtesy of falling branches during the big ice storm last year.
I got busy mulching the garden beds, and that led to changing them around some in preparation for the big garden project that I started. I put up a post about it here, and you can expect regular updates as the job progresses. I am afraid that as I was working out there today I started to get overwhelmed by the shear size of the project, and actually got quite dejected. But Jim came on out and helped me focus on the idea of working on one area at a time, and doing the job in manageable chunks. Sometimes I scare myself when I look at the size of the projects that I undertake.
As far as what is going on around here in the bloom department, most everything is starting to wind down. I found it interesting to see how things experienced a resurgence once the heat of August passed and we had a little rain. Most of my rugosa roses are blooming right now, at the same time that they have rose hips ripening. Makes for an interesting musing about whether it is really summer or fall. Yolanda Elizabet did just that Oct 3, much better than I could. But she inspired me to go out and find an example of Summer/Autumn in my own garden.
The newest blooms in my garden are the Maximilian sunflowers. These are really the very last of my flowers to bloom every year, and provide that last nip of nectar and pollen for the bees before the frost stops all the action. These flowers are pretty frost hardy, and don’t die back just because they get their noses nipped a bit. Additionally, they set lots of very palatable seeds, and the finches enjoy them all winter. Don’t plant these beauties unless you have a lot of space, though. My clumps die back to the root every winter, and the root balls are at least 18 inches in diameter. When the plants start to sprout in the spring, I cut off all the dead branches. By fall, when they are blooming, they spread to about 15 feet in diameter, and stand a good 6 ft tall. They are very showy indeed.
The other new bloom right now is a colchicum that blooms a little later than the others I have featured earlier. This is a variety called “Water lily”, for obvious reasons. She is dressing up my herb garden, the valerian is in the background of this picture, and down below her you can see seeds from the Asclepius (butterfly weed).
There were a couple of very lovely lovelies posing artfully. Even though they aren’t new in the garden this month, I felt that they deserved a special mention. I loved this clematis, blooming against my fence.
Then there was a volunteer moth mullein, probably planted by the birds. It was posing against a different section of fence.
It’s not a bloom, but we do have a new piece of garden furniture. Jim made a new table out of local cedar for the pergola since the old one was rotting out. He built the original table about 20 years ago out of an old glulam beam, and it finally yielded to the weather. The new table is lovely. We are interested in how it will weather. I also am wondering if it might be something he could build and sell. He loves working with wood.
Out in the vegetable garden we are still harvesting poblano and serrano peppers. They are going overboard this year. And the winter greens are shaping up nicely. I believe that it will be cold enough soon enough to keep them from bolting. Next week we’ll be putting the cold frames over this bed, and that will keep this lettuce and spinach patch going through the cold part of winter. I love being able to harvest salad all winter long.
I know the GBBD rules are to post a list of what is getting ready to bloom, and although no one would necessarily believe it, I actually have a reblooming iris that is in bud right now. So I guess that the “flower” season isn’t quite over yet, and there is still something to look forward to.
Hopefully, we won’t be having another big ice storm this winter!