What 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.
Sometime 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?
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
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,