Saturday, October 18, 2008

Signs of fall

Chrysanthemum and gourds from the farmer's market, black candles from Waterford.
Posted by Picasa

The last of the basil cut before frost.
Posted by Picasa

Incredible mushrooms from Cub Creek Farms: hen of the woods, aka Maitake.
Posted by Picasa

Hen of the woods in the pan
Posted by Picasa

Fall cleanup

It's been sunny, warm and dry - almost drought conditions - all month until finally, Thursday night, we had about .3" of rain and a cold front moved in. Frost warning for Stafford County tomrrow night (October 19), so I moved things and transplanted things and cut things back.

First, the big pot on the front steps got its annual haircut. By fall, it's usually spilling over, and this year with the purple fountain grass (Pennisetum 'rubrum'), it also waved in your face. I decided to move the grass, along with a smaller version that had been in a pot on the steps, to the other side of the walkway, where they can wave in the breeze without attacking anyone.

In the pot I put some hastily chosen bulbs from Roxbury Mills: 5 each of February Gold narcissus, Apricot Beauty, Beauty Queen (said to be pale salmon, we'll see), and Black Beauty tulips. I topped it off with these pansies,
Posted by Picasa
which echo the color of the dark red chrysanthemum in the front garden.

From the pots in the back, I took out the two caladiums, knocked off the dirt, and left them on the table to dry in the sun. Theoretically, you can then store them in vermiculite and start them next year, though one source said they're not as vigorous the second year. I have loved them in pots this year and noted that Dave's Garden people suggest a Florida company, Caladium Bulbs 4 Less, as a good source.

The gorgeous dragonwing begonia I cut way back, as Mom suggested, and brought inside. I also potted two of the pink Babywing begonias and brought them in. I'm not too hopeful that they'll make it through the winter, but it's worth trying.

Finally, I made cuttings of the two coleuses I liked this year, 'Dipt in Wine' and another whose name I've lost.  
Posted by Picasa
I'll try to root these and pot them up.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It came from the trees

This time of year, it's dangerous to sit outside under the white oak tree. I've been bonked on the head more than once by acorns, and believe me, they rocket out of the tree at a great rate and really hurt! So I expect to see acorns all over the terrace, but what are these little things? They are tiny nubs that could be bits of acorns, but there are too many of them to attribute to squirrels gnawing at them. Any ideas?
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Heeling in

The daylily 'Crescendo' mix from White Flower Farm arrived early, and after letting the box sit for a few days (never do that!), I took them out and heeled them in. I'll plant them for real when the daffodils arrive from Van Bourgondien.

Here's a rather dizzying look at the results.
Posted by Picasa
Note that the daylilies have a pale and etiolated look from being boxed up three days longer than necessary.

Incidentally, lots of people have apparently had bad experiences with Van B., if you read the Dave's Garden postings. We (Mom, Judy, Biffy, me) have bought bulbs from them for years with no problems, so let's hope this order comes through as well.

What I've learned about dahlias

1. They are beautiful on their own or as cut flowers, and definitely worth growing. Maybe try them in the cutting garden, too.

2. They need to be staked.

3. Although they make a great show together (see earlier posting from Scotland), I think I might prefer them mixed in the border.

4. You can't always trust the stated color to be what you get - either that, or the dahlias I got were mislabeled. Here's the pale pink 'Good Earth' in my garden this month - yowza!

Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 3, 2008

Colesville Nursery

For years I'd noticed it from 95, laid out on a slope right next to the highway. But not until today, at Becky's recommendation, did I make my way down to Ashland to buy plants.

I had a specific list of plants I was looking for, and they make it easy because their inventory is online. What a concept! I was in search of a second Virginia sweetspire for the back shrub border and two more Viburnum 'Shasta' by the back fence. Then, of course, I had a couple other things on the list - Hakonechloa to replace the one that died in the front; two geraniums 'Rozanne' ditto; and hostas to go in front of the trellis.

Armed with their list, my hosta book, and a firm determination to stick to the budget, I tooled down 95 and found this most wonderful place. They're primarily a wholesale outfit, but they are as nice and friendly as can be to lone shoppers like me. You tell them what you want and someone meets you in one of the "houses" where the plants are neatly laid out. (The houses at this time of year are empty hoops that span each row, but once winter comes they are covered and undoubtedly look more house-like.)

The guy who helped me with the viburnums was very friendly, and once I was done there he led me via a golf cart thing to the hosta area, where another friendly soul helped me pick out five hostas. I was leaning toward the blues, which I love, but something about this spot cries out for brighter chartreuse colors. I ended up with three Paul's Glory and two August Moons.
Posted by Picasa
Set on three-foot centers, they should nicely fill up the twelve-foot-long expanse. I'm very pleased.

By the time I was ready to check out, the geraniums, a hakonechloe and a flat of pansies had crept into my car, and I was somewhat over budget. The nice checkout person took 10% off, "just because you're a nice person"! How soon can I return?