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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Party 'til frost

I was all set to fill up this post with picture after picture after picture of asters blooming in my garden.

But I can't find the files on my computer.  Maybe they are still just on the camera? Who knows?

Because I can't find the pictures,  I am sparing you, lovely readers, from having to scroll down through countless images that to you might all look the same but to me are part of a vast collection of pictures of some of the last blooms of the season in my garden.

Sniff. How can the growing season be over so soon?

But wait, we've not yet had a frost or the hint of a frost, so this season is not exactly over.  Sure, it is practically over, but  until we get that first frost, it isn't really over, is it?

Really. Should it be over because the calendar says October? Or should it be over because by now we should have had a frost?

It's a chicken and egg type of question, which we could debate for hours on end, waxing philosophical about gardening, but let's not.

Let's just party 'til frost.

Enjoy the last blooms.  Take hundreds of pictures of them.  Even if the pictures all look the same.

And don't forget the bees.  I sometimes stand for what seems like hours (and is probably just five minutes) in front of the asters and watch the bees go from bloom to bloom and admire the occasional butterfly who wanders by.

It is way better than television, at least better the commercials.

Do I know how to have fun? Sure I do.  Fun with asters.  And other late blooming flowers.

Party 'til frost.  A new motto for the garden.

Then when we finally have frost on the "punkin"- any other James Whitcomb Riley fans reading this -  I'll begin to clean up the garden and prepare it for winter.

But until then, party 'til frost, my friends, and always...

Garden with no regrets  (another great motto for the garden).

Sunday, October 04, 2015

We are a tiny bit behind...

We are a tiny bit behind here at May Dreams Gardens.

There are houseplants shivering on the back patio. I hope they didn't mind temps in the high 40s, though I think I heard some talk amongst them. It was a mixture of complaints, angry statements, and a few fearful laments.  They might even have cussed a little.

I should have brought them inside already, but this week's forecast is along the lines of:

"Sorry about that nasty cold day on Saturday. The upcoming week should be pretty nice with lows in the 50s and highs in the upper 70s and lower 80s. Gardeners should continue to procrastinate on preparations for late fall and winter and act like it is still summertime."

I like that forecast. And I think the asters do, too.  They are late in blooming this year. I thought they would be in full bloom by now, but they aren't. We had a talk today, and I ended up apologizing for leaving the garden for 14 of the 30 days of September.  But I didn't promise never to do it again.  I did encourage them to bloom their heads off this coming week, and I promised I would come out to admire them and take pictures, too.  The pollinators however, scolded them, for not blooming.

Many of those pollinators, mostly big fat bees, were all over the Heuchera villosa 'Autumn Bride' earlier today.  Though, I think I overheard them talking amongst themselves, too, like the houseplants. They were all a-buzz anticipating the asters being fully in bloom this week.  I think they are getting tired of Heuchera pollen.

My goodness, there is a lot of chatter around this garden.  Dr. Hortfreud, my psychoanalyst, or rather gardenalyst, as she sometimes likes to call herself, sat outside with me today and discussed the amount of chatter.  She said it is not unusual.

She and I also discussed how I've decided to not plant more crocuses and glory-of-the-snow in the lawn this fall. She agrees we should see how the 1,000s planted in falls past do this spring.  She is also happy to know 100 snowdrop bulbs are on their way to my garden.

After our talk, I peeked into the vegetable garden. Ol' Granny Gus McGarden is not too happy with me since I haven't pulled out spent plants.  I'll do that soon, but didn't she see the weather forecast?  Besides, she'll be happy with me after I move the compost bins to the other side of the garden this fall.

Of course, I'm not moving the compost bins until after a hard freeze.  Who knows what wasps and bees are living deep in those bins?  I sure don't know what all is living in that compost, but figure if I wait until a hard freeze, they'll all be dead, except for the queens, and a lonesome queen or two won't bother me.

Yes, we are a tiny bit behind here at May Dreams Gardens, but there is a lot going on, the weather is again trending warm, so no one is panicking.

Except maybe an uptight garden fairy or two, but we'll talk about that some other day.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Petal Drop

When I saw these rose petals strewn about the beach, my first thought was not about the happy couple who had probably gotten married there the previous evening and then been showered with the rose petals.

My first thought was about the wonderful climbing rose my dad grew along the fence in our backyard.

It was a wonderful, marvelous, magical pink blooming rose which put all its energy into one big burst of the rosiest roses I've ever smelled.  Then all at once, it would drop every petal, covering the ground beneath it.

I surely did love to walk through those petals, kicking them up with my feet, smelling the rosy scent.  It was a tiny bit of heaven in our backyard, for at least a day or two until the petals got chopped up by the mower.

Such a grisly end. My apologies.

I do love a good petal drop.

Not all flowering trees and shrubs have a good petal drop.  My crabapple has a good petal drop. Just imagine, because I'm too lazy to find a picture, tight dark pink buds fading to a blush of rose and then dropping in a gentle rain of petals, covering the ground beneath.  I love when it happens and because there is no lawn beneath the crabapple tree, I can leave the petals and let the garden fairies scurry around and take however many they want to take.

Because you know that's what happens when petals fall to the ground like that. They attract the garden fairies who take the petals for all manner of uses... clothing, hats, bedding.

Imagine finding enough rose or apple blossom petals to stuff your mattress full?

Out in that strange land I visited last week, that place called California, I found a nice petal drop from a pink floss tree, Chorisia speiosa 'September Splendor'.

The blooms up close are not too shabby either.
Dear friends in any zone other than 9b - 11, we can just forget about this tree for our gardens, lovely as the flowers and petal drop may be.  Not even I would be foolish enough to plant such a tree and hope for the best.

But there are other trees and shrubs with good petal drop.  And we have falling leaves beginning in late September, so who needs pink floss trees?

Yes, leaves can be pretty on the ground, too, like the lovely golden leaves of my honey locust tree, Gleditsia triacanthos, falling now.

Well, they are sort of pretty, in a fall-like manner.  Maybe, clearly, not as pretty as the petals of the pink floss tree, but that's all I've got right now, so I will make do.

But this coming spring, there will be petal drops galore.  I can hardly wait, for a I do love a good petal drop.

And so do the garden fairies.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dear Readers, Thank you!

Palm trees in Pasadena
I've just returned from the Garden Writers Association's annual symposium in Pasadena, California, which is about as much fun as a garden writer can have, outside of being covered in one's own garden dirt after a day of gardening.

Just imagine if you were with all kinds of other people from all over who shared your passion for gardening, nature, gardens, flowers, plants, etc. and also shared your love of writing, speaking, and telling others about gardening, and then you got to go on tours of gardens with these people and attend seminars given by some of them.

Just imagine after all that fun if you got to go to a lovely banquet with all of these people where you received certificates for two GWA Silver Awards and then heard your name called as the recipient of the GWA 2015 Gold Award for Best Electronic Writing.
2015 Gold Award Best Electronic Writing
Just imagine!

That's pretty much what this year's GWA symposium was like for me.

And just imagine if I were to write a thank you letter to each of you, it would go something like this...

Dear fellow gardener and reader,

Thank for all the support and encouragement you've given me through the many years I've been posting on this blog. Without your encouragement, I wouldn't have continued blogging, wouldn't have branched out into other writing, and would never have thought to join the Garden Writers Associations.

Thank you, from the bottom of the compost bin to the tops of the trees in my garden. You have always been there for me, commenting on my blog posts, encouraging me to continue.

I'm thrilled to tell you that I've just returned from the Garden Writers Association's annual symposium with two silver awards for blog writing and an e-newsletter article.

For the GWA Silver Award for e-newsletter articles, I submitted an e-newsletter article I wrote for Indiana Gardening, Late Fall Blooms for the Midwest Garden.

For the GWA Silver Award for blog writing, I submitted three blog posts:

Oh give me a lawn...

Compost by the sea

Ten things your garden wants you to do this fall

And at the banquet, I learned I won the GWA 2015 Gold Award for Electronic Writing.

I've enclosed a picture of the award out in my garden. I thought that was a good setting for it because it is the garden that inspires me and gives me the ideas to write about gardening in general.

And then, of course, it is you, dear reader and fellow gardener, who have always encouraged and supported me with your comments and emails which have continued for more years than I ever imagined when I first started blogging and writing about gardening.

I am forever grateful.

Thank you.

With a shared love of gardening,

(P. S. At the risk of stirring up trouble with the garden fairies, I am not giving them part of this award as I did not submit any of their posts.  Hopefully, they will understand.)