Thursday, November 8, 2018

My October Garden

October usually has two faces, a still summery vibe at the beginning of the month, and a distinctly autumn feel at the end. Our last frost date is often predicted to fall mid month, and it almost always happens exactly then. I never want it to happen, but thankfully the first one is mild enough not to do much harm. Only the most tender plants get nipped that first time.

As the month progressed, the frosts continued to arrive, getting a little tougher each time. It was time to let go of more and more annuals each time. The last veggies were picked and the raised beds cleared out. It's a little sad, but part of me enjoys the break. Of course I make up for it by changing over to autumn plantings and pumpkins. I'll leave them out until Thanksgiving before switching out to Christmas greenery.

But until frost came creeping in, there were still zinnias to enjoy. The first photo below is my beloved Queen Red Lime zinnias. You may have noticed that I didn't feature any photos of them this year. That's because they did poorly, and barely thrived. I'll try again next year, and hope for the best. I did have issues with a insect vector virus, so maybe that's what happened. And if you are a zinnia fan, I really don't recommend the purple prince zinnia seeds that I often see on seed displays. They germinated in abundance, but were otherwise disappointing.

Of course dahlias are a force in early October. They were so intense that I had to run out for more supports and still needed more. Those big gorgeous blooms were weighing down the whole plant.

I also had plenty of butterflies in the garden early on. Even after the frosts, I'd still seem them now and then, especially the painted ladies. I'll sure miss them over the winter.

My roses seem to like the cooler autumn air, and continued to shoot out blooms. Honestly, they looked better than they did during the summer heat.

It's mid November now, and much has changed. We're expecting a little snow soon, much to my chagrin. But there was much to enjoy in my October garden, and I'll share some final shots now. I did spend a lot of time at the end of the month finding fall color displays to photograph, but I'll share that in another post soon. As they say "I'm glad that I live in a world where there are Octobers".

Friday, October 12, 2018

A Belated Look at My September Garden

Our September vacation to Michigan got me so excited about those particular photos that I didn’t even put up a September blog post. I thought I’d better remedy that, since this blog is mostly dedicated to my “nest” here at home.

With my vacation looming, and the fact that I didn’t want to drag monarch caterpillars around with me, I ended my monarch season early. The caterpillars that showed up after that had to fend for themselves as Mother Nature intended. As it was, I had to farm out the last chrysalides to a friend who had never even raised caterpillars before. (Thanks Judy!) She had the fun part, simply watch them emerge and set them free!


For the first time, I did not find myself a garden waterer while I was away. I decided to take a chance that it might actually rain, and boy did it ever. Nearly four inches fell while we were away, so everything was healthy and strong on our return. I’m so glad.

Zinnias are often the highlight of my September garden, but this year was not my best zinnia year. There were, and still are, some zinnias still thriving. And thank goodness, since the migrating monarchs visit them often. However, my signature flower, the Queen Red Lime zinnia was a big disappointment this year. I only had six sickly plants, and they’ve given me very few blooms. I believe it was because of that virus I mentioned in my August post, so I’ll try again next year.

The biggest delight upon my return was the dahlias. I usually just pick up random packages of dahlias at local garden centers, but I may go to the trouble of ordering special varieties next year. They give me so much delight, and such generous late season blooms, so I should be more selective.

Since the weather begins to cool off in September, my roses usually start to perk up. I often think about replacing my roses with hydrangeas, but that expensive proposition still remains on the back burner. Roses just don’t thrive here, but I haven't figured out why. My theory is that we get all the same cold as we got in Michigan, with very little snow to keep the roots protected.

I thought I’d miss the first blooming of my new Zig Zag goldenrod while I was away, but instead, it was still glorious. This long blooming lovely is going to become a favorite of mine, I can just tell.

I'll close with some random pretty spots, and then my usual sunset shots. September is a glorious month in the garden, with lots of exuberant plantings to highlight. There's usually enough to cover up any insect or pest damage that was bothering me in August.

Sunsets from my nest! Thanks for stopping by, and I'll see you again at the end of the October.