Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall planting

I've gotten down to the last little bit of fall planting in my yard.  I ran into a clearance sale at Lowes today - 75% off shrubs!   I bought two mugo pines and four 'Old Gold' junipers to put in the large raised bed around the front of the house, the junipers in front of the walkway, and the mugo pines off the end of the porch.  The pines are already in the ground, but I'm not sure if I'll plant the junipers right away, or hold them over somewhere else outside until spring.  They'll be replacing several gold false cypress bushes that are dying since transplanting during the retaining wall project last fall.  We could leave the old cypresses over the winter - they're much larger than the junipers (which are small, 1 gallon container bushes), and would act as much more of a snow-catcher in that exposed location.  On the other hand, my instinct is to plant the junipers right away - they'll do better in the ground than anywhere else.  The old cypresses, having been dug up once already, won't be hard to remove - it's just grunt work that I wasn't sure I wanted to tackle on this frigid, blustery day.  Tomorrow should be nicer, and I might tackle them then.

I planted some more tulips this week, nothing fancy (the variety 'Daydream,' which I already have - I just added another clump to an existing bed that has some at one end already, to carry the color to another spot farther along).  I also planted garlic this week.  I've always wanted to try to grow garlic.  In fact, I did try it about 10 years ago, but it wasn't successful for me.  New house, new location, so I'm giving it another try.  I bought a nice bulb of organic garlic at Wegmans, broke it into cloves and planted them in one of the new raised beds out back.  (I used organic garlic because it hasn't been treated with germination inhibitors like regular commercial garlic often is.)  We'll see how they fare next year.

One task I'd normally have done by now is removing all the spent annuals and composting them.  But, we haven't had a significant hard frost yet.  We are WAY past the average frost date for our area. although tonight is likely to be the first one.  I think no matter what, I'm going to have to take out the annuals this weekend.  The nasturtiums are gigantic, like something out of Monet's garden at Giverny.  They're crawling and cascading everywhere in lush abundance.  They've been gorgeous, but their time is up.  The compost bin will be full to overflowing by Sunday.

 I also want to dig up and store dahlia and canna bulbs.  The dahlias I grew from seed this year, and they are HUGE.  I've never had dahlias grow like that for me, but then I've never grown my own before.  These are all seedlings from a mix called 'Bishop's Children,' from the famous cultivar 'Bishop of Llandalf.'  I was hoping for hot colored flowers, but only one is yellow-orange in tone with green leaves.  The others are dark crimson with light bronze foliage, and dark magenta-fuchsia with dark bronze foliage.  They're nice and vigorous, though, so I'll save them in damp peat over the winter in the basement.  The hot colored one can go back out front next year.  I'll probably be able to get several new plants from each clump.  The others will go out back, where they won't cause a screaming color argument with the nasturtiums and zinnias again.  The cannas were a total disappointment - they never got above 1 1/2 feet tall and didn't bloom (they're supposed to be the variety 'Wyoming,' 5-6 feet or so, with bronze leaves and orange flowers).  I'll overwinter some tubers and give them a try in another location.  If they don't perform next year, they're compost.


  1. you really make me regret my black thumb Laurel. The garden sounds so beautiful. Maybe we will try again when we can get back to New York State. No doubt though we will probably have to hire a landscaper before we have a proper garden. Especially since I would love something in the Japanese style around a gazebo so i can make tea outside during the summer. We talk about it fairly often but i doubt any of us could do the hard labor. Arthritis and other such joint ailments can be a real ....uh pain. LOL

  2. Japanese gardens are amazing, so peaceful and beautiful. They have a language all their own. I hope you get your Japanese garden and gazebo someday - you might as well dream big as dream small, lol.