Sunday, October 25, 2009

What a difference one letter makes...

Planning is much more fun than planting. Planting bulbs reminds me of how much my garden needs soil amendments. Digging down even six inches is not easy when you reach hard clay almost immediately. Poor me.

Anyway, despite this whingeing, I did manage to plant most of the bulb order this weekend: 50 'Lilac Beauty' tommy crocuses under the maple tree, 5 'Claret' crocuses in the front garden, along with 3 colchicum autumnale alboplenum and 25 mixed miniature narcissus. Along the trellis that hides the compost pile went 24 mixed narcissus, 'Bahama Beach,' 'Ceylon' and 'Serola,' along with 20 muscari. That bed, being new, also got a mixture of Rappahannock Gold compost and leaf mold. 30 more muscari along the terrace by the akebia trellis in an attempt to add socks to that bed.

Also, uprooted the enormous caladium and elephant ear from the pot on the front steps, and planted a mixture of mixed perennial tulips, 'Bahama Beach' and 'Ceylon' narcissus, and purple and yellow Johnny-jump-ups. Whew.

Still lots to go: tulips, including the species, fall crocus, allium triquetrum, etc., etc. It helped that yesterday was breezy and warm in front of a half-inch of rain, and today was a real fall day, with the soil workable from the rain and a cool breeze.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Bulb Order

This has been looming for months, but somehow I never get to it as early as I should. This year, I took a new approach: identify the locations and types of bulbs you want, and only then turn to the catalogs to fill in the blanks. What a concept!

Under the maple tree will be more crocus tommasianus, five of the special 'Claret' (at the top)
and a bunch of 'Lilac Beauty.' Was hoping for a sea of chionodoxa, but Van Bourgondien was out so will have to look further.

In front of the trellis that hides the compost pile will be three narcissus, 'Ceylon,' 'Bahama Beach,' (at left) and 'Serola," all a soft yellow, and muscari armeniacum for contrast.

Added to the cutting garden is a mix of Scheepers Sport tulips, the WFF perennial tulip mixture, and 25 fringed tulip 'Bell Song,' a soft pink. Planned for a pale yellow, but they were out of stock.

The front garden needs more low color in the spring, so have ordered the WFF miniature narcissus mixture, some species tulips 'Oratorio' and batalinii 'Bronze Charm,' (below)
and Allium triquetrum (at bottom). Also sternbergia lutea for fall color.

In front of the trellis with the akebia will go more muscari (when Brent and Becky referred to muscari as the "socks" of the garden, I perked up, since this area needs it) and some 'Lady Jane' species tulips.

Plus more English bluebells for the oak tree garden.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Putting everyone to bed

Well, not exactly, but it feels that way. Over the last two days I've cut back, repotted and cleaned up the house plants that spent the summer outside. Days are still warm, but nights have been in the forties.

Here are the windowsills filled with these plants and a few from Mom.



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One of these is a cordyline 'Red Sensation,' which did nothing for me except live all summer, which I appreciated, and which Margaret Roach says likes to spend the winter in bright light at 40 degrees. Not quite sure how I will pull that off, but I can try. Will probably cut off the heat in the other bedroom and put it in the window.

Settling all the plants inside for the season is pretty boring to read about, but extremely satisfying to do. For one thing, trimming everyone's beard and washing out the pots makes all the plants look healthy and happy. May they stay that way till spring!

Apart from that simple but time-consuming task, I'm still wishing for rain and hoping that the next time I cut the grass is the last time this season.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lifting and separating

This always sounds vaguely like an ad for Wonderbras, but in fact it is a highly recommended practice for renewing perennials that I usually forego. Today I lifted and separated the coral bells that edge the front garden, enriching their soil with leaf mold and compost, re-planting them, and watering it all in.

This was long overdue, as I realized particularly when I came to the edge by the steps. This part of the border was way overgrown with myrtle and garlic chives, and I grubbed them all out. The garlic chives I'll offer to the CRRL, the rest pitched into the compost.

Alison was horrified to discover that you might have to re-plant something you had already planted once, but as I told her, if you only do it every twenty years as I'm doing, it's really not so bad...

As I planted, I had happy memories of Mom giving me these plants, the pass-alongs from Betsy Hale's grandmother. I have some left over which I will also give to the CRRL or use to edge the shrub border in the back.


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Here are two shots of the newly tidy edge.