Today’s bouquet & Oct garden update

It’s been a very busy time in the Saint Claire Cottage gardens the last couple months.  I’ve barely had time to wash the dirt off my hands to eat, much less do any blogging!  I’m finally getting to the back yard area of my little quarter acre after 7 years in my home.

This summer I’ve cleared the back of my yard (with help) of the jungle that was there.  The back third was a horrendous mix of 12′ tall kolkwitzia, forsythia-gone-wild, daylilies, nasty dock, bird- seeded rose of sharons, and an ancient buddleia not worth saving (and other flotsam and jetsam of the plant world, aka weeds and ivy).  You couldn’t even see the alley.  I did dig & save a bit of forsythia and a bunch of old-timey daylilies.  What job all this was!  Then the stump- grinding guy came and ground up all the roots beneath the soil, so hopefully none of that ‘stuff’ will come back.  Then I put up an 8×12 garden shed in that area, which had to be painted inside and out…  and on and on…

I had the chain link fence that ran beside the driveway removed (it was, effectively, cutting my back yard in half, from the house to the alley).  So, between the jungle removal and fence removal, my back yard now looks gi-normous, and very empty.

Next week my local garden center is delivering and spreading four truckloads of topsoil & compost to level the area out and raise it up a bit.  They are also planting 5 hydrangeas along the back edge of the yard along the alley (3 limelights and 2 twist ‘n shouts).  Once that’s done, I have plants materials & bulbs to be planted yet.  (Please, ole man winter, hold off a bit longer)!

Sales, OMG, the sales!  I just bought 17 items from a big box store nursery at 75% off, all shrubs except for three heucheras w/dark purple leaves, all for just $29 – and it’s all great looking stock, not dead & dying.  And then one of my fave little garden centers closed forever (retiring) and I missed their big 75% off markdown sale, boo hoo.  But I still came away with 3 shrubs (kerria), a few perennials (veronica & bleeding hearts), pots, books, and some items for a future fairy garden planter, during their last week of business.  They will be so missed (Philip’s Seeds in Greencastle, PA).

So I have all these things to plant yet, not to mention a couple hundred new spring bulbs.  Oh, my aching back (and happy heart)!  Next is to moving all my gardening tools, pots, etc. to the new shed.  Still  have to put up the rain barrels, too.  Sure wish I didn’t work a FT job!

The raised veggie beds have all been emptied and prepped for next growing season.  Hanging out there til the new beds are ready are 30 new bearded irises, a couple dozen ‘saved’ daylilies, and an assortment of other plants in pots.  Um… have we had Indian Summer yet, or is that just wishful thinking on my part?

Things remaining on the project list?  An old-window greenhouse (I have all the windows, am working on the design for spring), compost bins from old pallets (have the pallets & the existing compost pile to move into the bins, also for spring), a potting bench for outside the shed (Pinning ideas like crazy, not gonna get done this fall., and the leaves to rake, groan…  So what am I doing in here typing??  It was cold this morn, so I stayed inside, but now I’ve gotta get out there.

Finally, here is today’s bouquet, picked a couple days ago when the forecast was for 29F overnight.  Lobelia, millet, and zinnia angustifolia.  And pumpkins I grew this year, all parked on the dining room windowsill!

Zinnia angustifolia, millet seedheads, and lobelia.

Zinnia angustifolia, millet seedheads, and lobelia.

On a closing note, in September I had the pleasure of vacationing in Maine, my first visit to that state.  Visited the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.  Oh my, it was breathtaking, just splendid, even in late Sept.  I could have stayed for days!  Pictures will follow later.  If you’ve never been there and plan a visit to that corner of the country, please don’t miss it!  I was so impressed!