Frost Predicted

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Those who don’t garden probably wonder about the sanity of those who do, particularly when they come upon a scene like this. At this time of year, why attempt to postpone the inevitable? Protecting tender annuals from a late frost in the spring makes sense, but at the end of the summer?

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Sheets, drop cloths, old bedspreads lay in hodgepodge patches throughout my garden this evening. Even without a meteorologist’s warning, I know from experience that when the temperature is 47-48 degrees at sunset, we’ll likely get a frost.

Some gardeners may be more resigned than I am to the end of the season, but I must make some attempt to preserve summer and postpone what I do accept as a fact of life: Winter will come! However, often over the years, I’ve found that we may get a night or two of frost late in September and then have another few weeks of warmer weather into October where I can continue to enjoy the exuberant beauty of my tender annuals. So I cover, cross my fingers and pray for a warming trend.

 

 

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My Gardens

Although my gardens that I have been working in all summer have been blooming abundantly, it occurred to me that I haven’t written about them or posted photos. How remiss of me! So here is a recap of what has happened this growing season.

May

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A statue of Botticelli’s Venus, the Roman goddess of Love, overlooks a Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) and Forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica). Molto romantico!

Below, this pink Azalea (Rhododendron sp.) on the west side of the house bloomed like crazy. Such a cheerful pink and the bumble bees loved it.

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June

A few weeks later: Blue Star (Amsonia tabernaemontana), Yellow Iris (Iris pseudacorus) and Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’ and G. sanguineum have started blooming. The garden is filling in.

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By the front steps, a small garden with a pond and fountain (good feng shui!) planted with Corkscrew Rush (Juncus effusus), Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), Taro (Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’) and Waterlilies (Nymphaea sp.) is a haven for frogs. Two more types of Geranium (G. sanguineum var. lancastriense and G. x cantabrigiense) flank Crested Iris (I. cristata) and English Thyme (Thymus vulgaris). Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) and Speedwell (Veronica incana) are just behind the Geraniums. Fothergilla (F. gardenii), Japanese Iris (I. ensata), Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) and Common Geraniums (Pelargonium cv.) are in the background.

IMG_9761July

July is when the wild meadow flowers really get going. Below are Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus), which I love for its sweet, honeyed fragrance and looking somewhat like an airy Baby’s Breath, Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) and Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)  have already gone by. The pollinators love these plants! Because this area is not mowed, it is teeming with life compared to the lawn in the background. Spiders, insects, frogs, toads, snakes and rodents create a natural ecology. I mow the fields in the late fall or early spring when all is dormant to keep the habitat open and free of trees and shrubs, which would move in within a few years.

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Another July event is the blooming of Clematis ‘Amanda Marie’ next to the front porch. With its outstanding color, a vibrant deep-red, almost burgundy, it performs well year after year with only a quick trim in early spring and a bit of compost.

IMG_0435August

Here’s the largest garden in the backyard at the beginning of August. Since we eat three meals a day seated on the deck (weather permitting), I try to make this vibrant all summer long. The highlights are flaming orange-red Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Yellow Daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Hyperion’) and self-sown white Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana alata).  Out of sight, pink, purple and white Cleome (C. hassleriana) and Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) add height and color to the back. White and pink Phlox (P. paniculata) and New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) will follow shortly.

IMG_0855Below is a close-up of a hummingbird visiting the Nicotiana and Crocosmia.

IMG_0866I have to include photos of the purple Hosta flowers with the golden sunflowers in the background. The birds love these sunflowers and eat them as soon as they are ripe.

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September

The annuals are an explosion of color and the delight of the garden these days. Purple Mealy-cup Sage (Salvia farinacea), vibrant Petunia ‘Purple Wave’ and golden Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis) provide a grand finale for the end of the garden season.

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Love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus) is a marvelous annual with its pendulous flowers looking like burgundy dreadlocks! Goldenrod in the background provides a nice contrast.

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Calendulas self-sow every year, taking over large areas of the garden, which I don’t mind at all – they are breathtaking to behold! Another self-sowing annual, purple Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea) is in the background.

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Although we still have perhaps a month to go before frosts completely diminish the garden, the plants are winding down; with their seed set, their mission is fulfilled. In the fields, the last wands of the goldenrod intermingle with New York, Heart-leaved and Calico Asters (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii, S. cordifolium & S. laterifolium, respectively) weaving a beautiful tapestry of gold, lavender, purple and white.

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The bees, wasps, butterflies along with a few other insects dance among the blooms, storing for the winter ahead or completing their life cycles after ensuring their next generation will emerge in the coming spring. Crickets sing all day long, a background sound that I love and will miss when it no longer accompanies me at my work or as I drift off to sleep at night. Such are the seasons; I must not resist the tide of time, but instead embrace and accept with gratitude the beauty of each and every new day.

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Weeds

Weeds

American goldfinches (and lots of birds) love all sorts of seeds! Consider leaving seed heads for the birds to forage. Coneflower (Echinacea), Tickseed (Coreopsis), Sunflower (Helianthus), Ox Eye Sunflower (Heliopsis), Thistle (Circium, Caduus) and Cosmos are just a few favored by our feathered friends.

image from YardMap

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Ripple

Ripple

Ripple

For a long while on a recent afternoon, I stood on the river’s edge mesmerized by the ripples and distortions of color reflected on the water. Between the light breeze and insects disturbing the surface, it was an endless show, like a constantly rotating exhibit at an Impressionist art museum.

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Bees, Honey and Dirt Roads

Eliza Waters:

I follow Vermont Farm Heart blog, where you can find lots of yummy recipes and a slice of country living. I reblogged this post because it could be a day in the life here where I live. I just love living in New England!

Originally posted on Vermont Farm Heart:

On weekends when we really don’t have much going on (which is pretty rare lately) our favorite thing to do is just drive. Pick a country roadsdirection, a dirt road, and just go. No plans, no agenda, no lists, no time constraints. We haven’t actually been able to do this in quite a while so we were blissfully happy when we decided to take some time for ourselves this weekend.

We filled our water bottles, grabbed a can of almonds for the road, made sure we had our sunglasses and a little cash and set off. I love to look at gardens and so we meandered along slowing down for any farmhouse flower or vegetable gardens that caught my eye. Cows munched grass and we were lucky enough to see several rabbits and a whole gang of turkeys in a hay field. The corn is close

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Green Flowers

Flowering Tobacco – Nicotiana langsdorffii

Flowering Tobacco – Nicotiana langsdorffii

Green flowers are unusual in the garden, although breeders have added many new cultivars in the past few years. Lime green compliments any color in the garden, but my favorite pairings are with hot pink, orange or lavender purple.

The above Flowering Tobacco is a naturally occurring color and not the product of breeding. Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’ is a cultivar, possibly the result of crossing with N. langsdorffii. Other naturally green flowers are Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis) and Helleborus viridis, H. odorus and H. foetidis.

Garden flowers with green cultivars include Gladiolus ‘Green Star,’ Zinnia ‘Envy,’ Dianthus ‘Green Trick,’ Lilium ‘Trebbiano,’ Chrysanthemum ‘Anastasia’ and C. ‘Green Kermit.’ When planning your garden for next year, consider adding some pizzazz with green cultivars. Do I dare say that your friends will be green with envy?

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Life In The Fast Lane

Eliza Waters:

Here is a post that succinctly describes what’s at stake regarding the issue of Net Neutrality and what we all can do to make sure the internet remains free to all.

Originally posted on MK pix:

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This Wednesday September 10 is “Internet Slowdown” day. It’s a day of global protest to draw attention to the fact that the USA’s Federal Communication Commission is considering internet rules that would provide “fast lanes” for those who can pay (i.e. big commercial entities) and cow paths for the rest of us. Just FYI:

  • The head of the FCC proposed this rule change. He is a former lobbyist for the cellular and cable industry (the same folks who will be charging more money for the fast lanes).
  • Over 800,000 comments have been filed with the FCC, and 99% of those comments oppose this rule change.
  • Get up to speed (no pun intended) here, then
  • Share your opinion –
    • email FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler here
    • submit your comment to the FCC on this proceeding #14-28 here
    • email Mr. Obama (who appointed Tom Wheeler) here
  • Learn about the WordPress widget for the

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