Fall Gardening…part 1


Screen Shot 2019-10-17 at 3.11.04 PMWhat is the busiest season in the garden…spring or fall?  The verdict is out on that, however, I do know that when the sun is shining in October, there is no time to waste!  Usually, Nature has a much better idea of when the snow will start to fly than the local weatherman.  Lately, though, I’m confused.  I see the squirrels frantically gathering pine cones, moments later the robins (who normally migrate in the fall) are nonchalantly bobbing along through the roses, and soon after the growing flocks of geese are overhead seemingly getting ready to fly south.  The reality is that there will be fewer warm, sunny days so I’ve taken my cues from the squirrels and I, too, am getting ready for winter.

Screen Shot 2019-10-07 at 9.36.44 AMSometime over the summer,  I must have been feeling very ambitious.  When the seed catalogues arrived in the mail I couldn’t resist (and ordered) bulbs…many of them…tulips, alliums and grape hyacinths. I’ve been questioning my impulsiveness as I was planting all the tulips.  We have rabbits in my neighbourhood who love to hide in the shrubs in my front garden…so why am I planting all these tulips?  Is this going to be gourmet dining for hungry bunnies over the winter months?

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These are the dahlia tubers that I planted this spring.  I was thrilled with the performance of both the dinnerplate Cafe Au Lait (in photo) and Fleurel varieties.  I cut the plants back to ground level, lifted them out of the pots and hosed them off.  Once they dried off in the sun, I stored them in boxes covered in peat moss in hopes that they survive the winter in the greenhouse…another experiment!

Screen Shot 2019-10-07 at 9.13.57 AM I’m going to try overwintering the ivy I started from cuttings this Spring.  I was planning on taking cuttings from these plants but decided to just re-pot them instead.  My hope is that they won’t get too “leggy” or root bound…another experiment…

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This summer I planted Mandevilla vine in my patio containers.  I did not stake them, preferring to have them trail over the sides of the pots presenting a dazzling show of white flowers.  Maintaining the vines was  not demanding,  as I found that they performed well without fertilizing and didn’t require daily watering like many other annuals do.  Also, deadheading was much easier than other plants that I have tried to grow in the past.  These were an all-around winner for the garden.

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Although Mandevilla is considered an annual in my growing zone, it can take some frost, however, they would never survive in my winter conditions (down to -30C).  After cutting back about a third of the plants, I’ve re-potted them and moved them into the greenhouse in hopes of saving them for another summer of beauty.



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The plant in this photograph is a citrus tree of some kind…one of those unknown varieties that you can pick up at a hardware greenhouse.  It never did bloom this summer but I have brought it indoors too.  Even if it never produces fruit, the foliage is beautiful and so far it seems happy in its new spot.


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If you are a gardener,  I’m sure you are also busy getting your garden ready for the winter months ahead.  After a long day of raking,  pruning, transplanting, etc. maybe you could daydream (while soaking in a hot bath) about what to plant next year…never to early to start planning, or if your mind wonders like mine, of Paris in the fall… this is the Tuileries Garden in all its splendour!

Enjoy these last heavenly Indian Summer days,

xox Judy

5 thoughts on “Fall Gardening…part 1”

  1. Your post has motivated me to get out there and enjoy the Fall before the snow flies. Lucky you to have a winter greenhouse where you can preserve your beautiful plants and bulbs for next summer!

    1. Hi Karen, I hope you have been able to get your garden ready over the past weekend when the sun was shining. When the wind picks up, it feels like winter is in not far behind…

  2. So true, Karen!

    I enjoyed the post, Judy. LOVE the dahlia. I’ve got a few slips of the beautiful coleus plants a friend had in her garden this summer. Coleus remind me of my mom. They are on my kitchen windowsill and have teeny little rootlets; I will pot them later on and hope for the best.
    I was lucky to have, for the second year, a blue poppy. A plant was given to me by a friend who lives on the Sunshine Coast, where everything grows. I gave it a 50-50 chance and it grew and bloomed! So fingers crossed for another spring. I love the colours in our roan trees best of all.

  3. Hi Eva, You are lucky to have a Blue Poppy…you must have the perfect spot for it, or you have a green thumb! I’m happy you have found a plant that reminds you of your mom (who was delightful), and I hope it’s happy on your windowsill until it’s time to go outdoors next spring.

    1. Judy, growing that Blue Poppy was pure beginner’s luck. I just put it into a sheltered semi-sunny place, away from the worst of the wind and weather. Then I spoke to ‘her’ every day. I only got two stems this summer; hopefully, I’ll have more next summer if she makes it. I let the pods go to seed. I didn’t cover her with mulch–perhaps I should? The stem and empty pods are still standing. Should I cut them down?

      I kept thinking: poppies grow in the mountains of Afghanistan; surely an Edmonton garden is similar? ; > )

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