Friday, November 6, 2015

Au Revoir Mon Petit Chou Chou

"See you later my little cabbage."
Au Revoir- to see again.
Petit chou chou - a term of endearment.
This is not good bye forever though winter can feel that way.
Gone are the days of flip flops and dirty toes, rinsing off the worst of it with a spray from the hose.
A gradual shift happened in the optimal time for gardening. It shifted from cool mornings to warm afternoons.  At some point the risk to transplants changed from frying to freezing. My tasks transformed from feeding and nurturing to protecting,securing, sheltering. Where have all the flowers gone?

For that matter, where have afternoons gone?

I'm already making lists for next Spring! When did I decide these projects just wouldn't get done this year?

 I know I bemoaned every chilly morning for a while there, sure it  was heralding the coming end to all things green but I adjusted and was glad for warm spells and fall colors.

I must say, the colors have been stunning this year. That's what makes it so hard to say goodbye. However, goodbyes are inevitable and biting winters make for sweet springs.

So, Au Revoir! 

'Til we meet again...
Dear friend.....

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Noisy Pet Peeve of Mine

Fall, the vibrant colors, the urgent scurry and flitting of animals and birds preparing for winter, the satisfying crunch of leaves underfoot and the whining buzz of leaf blowers all around me? 

I may ruffle a few feathers when I say that I believe anyone under the age of 60, without physical disabilities should be out there raking, not blowing their leaves from one end of their property to the other. This neighbor, actually took two hours to blow the leaves from the south side of his property to the north side, as the wall of leaves got higher and higher. We raked ours onto a tarp and made a couple piles in our wooded area, my husband went for a run, I put away our patio furniture and the guy was still at it! And all the while the whirring noise was assaulting my ears. 

I have a bulging disc in my lower back. Most gardeners have back problems or bad knees or something that plagues them, throughout the growing season but we keep going. I've found that my back feels better with moderate exercise and I've learned to do things carefully or I'll be paying the price later. I think it makes me appreciate everything more.
 I use all my senses in the garden, during every season. Fall is no exception, in fact it's as if the foliage is going out in a blaze of glory. The colors, the drastic temperature changes, the smells of soil and decomposition, and taste of the last cherry tomatoes on the vine or coffee on the patio amidst rustling leaves. It's a last chance before the snow flurries and frigid temperatures make gardening a dream for next spring. 
The ubiquitous leaf blower shatters all that for me. Well, that's my pet peeve rant for the morning. What's yours?

Searching for Silver Linings

Choosing to search for silver linings 
amongst the dark clouds

There is no better proof that the economy has been on the upswing these past few years than the amount of construction, major renovation and general ruckus going on all around my house! The noise drives me insane. Early morning coffee walks through the garden before the roar of engines and generators rev up for the day have been restful and restorative.

no dark clouds
Landscapes can change in an instant, due to a sudden loss of a tree or the drastic deforestation done by new neighbors. Beyond these trees used to be a densely wooded lot. Were we ridiculous to assume a property buyer would purchase this lot because  it was wooded? Yes, we knew there were buckthorns out there but we seldom thought of that as we watched the fawns take their first steps, the foxes darting after mice, a rafter of 19, turkeys (yes, I counted) scouring the dirt, or an occasional daytime coyote venture out of "the woods."

I mourn the loss of the wildlife that used to make its home in the wooded area. 

So, I've embraced the new light shining through, where before was only darkness and mystery.  
We get the occasional visitor but they don't stay long. I'm one of the few that actually welcome deer. I've planted my whole garden with them in mind. Many of my perennials are straight off the deer resistant plant list, while others are hardy and resilient, taking deer "prunings" in stride.

Any green in the photo is most likely a buckthorn, an invasive tree that grows quickly from seeds in berries dispersed by wildlife. I intend to take out every one of them and replace them with beautiful shrubs and trees, I've taken out hundreds, ranging from seedlings to 30 footers. I'm working to improve the soil, depleted by these landscape scourges. In the end it will prove to be a good thing, right?

Work done on our own homes is at times necessary and often out of our control. Roofers break branches, smash perennials and even their clean up methods are destructive.  That said, I choose to search for those silver linings. I know they're out there. I ran out and got this picture of the mums before the roofers crushed this darling profusion of blooms. They absolutely leveled everything from hostas to ferns, from delphiniums to tall anemone. I asked them to please protect my golden spirea and my giant Red Bud, both of which were battered and broken.

The geraniums in the wooded area, however, were well out of reach and put on a beautiful show.

It has been a spectacular Autumn in our area. I have appreciated every colorful leaf and warm sunny morning, as well as the rain and wind that make for healthy, strong trees and shrubs. The perennials may be done for now and potted annuals can be dragged in from the frost only so many times but those boughs and branches are just gearing up for showing off their wintery white sparkled garments. New seasons, new surprises!

Friday, September 4, 2015

When Big Beans Happen to Good People

If you've grown any kind of vegetable you most likely know exactly what I'm talking about  You start out in spring with the best intentions, checking on everything often, from babying the new seedlings to taking pictures of your first harvest. I can't be the only one.

Then... well then, you've eaten zucchini in every form possible: stir fries, grilled, muffins, cakes... You've hidden it in many dishes, hoping not to see the rolling of eyes from your family. You've given away tomatoes and peppers to your enthusiastic, non-gardening friends. But now its to the point at which you almost dread looking under the leaves. Oh no, another monster summer squash,  a woody beet that has gone to flower and of course the big, lumpy beans! They're hard and stringy. Do you put them in the compost or cut them up small and hope they go unnoticed in the casserole? It happens to all of us. It makes it easier to say good bye to Summer and hello to brisk Fall days.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I Guess I'll Need to Get Used to the Cold

 I was rewarded for venturing out this morning in the cold by turtle heads and Rose of Sharon in bloom.

The Anemone looks fresh and full, practically calling the bees who, instead... 

 ...prefer to slowly work on the Ligularia. There's less pushing and shoving franticness in the cool air.

 Some of the last blooms on the rose bush look a little beat up and battered but look!, no Japanese Beetles! They must stay in when it's cold. All the more reason I'm glad I sucked it up, put on some warmer clothes and came outside.

Fall is definitely in the air and coloring the tips of leaves. 

I love watering on cloudy days. I don't wait for the shade to come around. I water indiscriminately, washing off the dust of summer.

 I cleaned off my sloggers and found some appropriate garden socks to replace my usual flip flops. 

Further rewards came in the form of lunch and possibly some work to do when I get in. I think I need to blanch and freeze a bunch of these lovely tomatoes.

Sometimes, the clouds and cool weather make me stop and take a fresh look at nature and what's it's been up to all along, the interesting patterns and habits.

These cool temperatures have really rejuvenated a lot of the annuals that I thought were done for the summer.

So glad I came out to see and be a part of this.

Arctic Blast? Cold Spell? Brrr!

     A picture is worth a thousand words but bear with me and let me just explain a little. It is still August! The temperature on the left is in my house! By default then, the one on the right is outside. Brrr! It is mid morning and normally I'd be out in the garden. Yes, I know, I need a new phone and yes I like cats. Don't get distracted by that. Stay with me :)  It's cloudy out and obviously chilly. My husband loves to point out that this temperature would feel balmy in March but, though that may be how he copes, that just doesn't cut it for me. Last week it was scorching hot! So, I went under the covers and watched the morning news for a little while but I'm itching to get out.

So, tea in hand I'm at the door, just can't do it yet. Here's how I'll coerce myself. 
Hey, check out the temperature difference. It's cold outside but it's practically as cold inside! The vegetable garden needs watering and harvesting. I heard on the news that warmer weather is on its way so the gardens are not giving up on me. I'm not giving up on them. That should do it, along with the jeans I dug out, a big warm hoodie, SOCKS! (haven't warn those for months) and gardening gloves. 
As we say here in Wisconsin, "If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes."
Ok, later!