September 27, 2010 · 10:28 am
Although the growing season is winding down around here, there is still plenty of activity going on outside.
The honeybees are busy collecting pollen from the blossoms of the mini-pumpkin plants in preparation for winter.
The morning glories have finally started blooming. It won’t be long before the first frost around here, so I need to enjoy these beauties as much as possible over the next few weeks.
Even the shrub roses continue to offer some blooms to enjoy.
The Sedum is in full bloom.
The Pee-gee Hydrangea has taken on the rich pink hues of fall.
The Rudbeckia continues to push out some new flowers, but most of the blooms are becoming tattered.
The asters have just started to blossom. The warm weather predicted for this week will likely encourage them to burst into full bloom.
Squash awaits harvesting on the vine.
And the leaves are changing.
No doubt about it, fall is here…which means winter is around the corner. I am not a big fan of winter (especially here in Minnesota), so I am going to cling to the beauty of autumn as long as possible.
September 25, 2010 · 11:57 am
We have a gas pipeline running through the north part of our property. The gas company has a 40 foot wide utility easement along the pipeline. We were completely aware of this fact when we purchased the property ten years ago.
The pipeline runs across our field and through the backwater area of the river, which is a combination of grassy swampland, brush and various sizes of trees. It crosses the river and continues east through more woods. The pipeline’s presence has never been of any consequence to us over the past ten years. Until a few weeks ago…
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September 24, 2010 · 1:14 pm
The autumn joy sedum is in full bloom in the garden now, a sure sign of fall. On warm days, it is absolutely covered with honeybees. They love this plant. Because Jesse is always trying to figure out what the bees are up to, he started checking the sedum daily for bee activity.
One day he found this little neon-green tree frog sitting on the sedum blossoms. What a strange spot for a tree frog to hang out. He grabbed the camera and took some pictures.
As he was taking photos, a honeybee happened to come along to work the blossoms. He landed next to the tree frog.
The little frog didn’t seem to care. He just continued to sit motionless on the flower.
Sedum, tree frogs and honeybees. A strange combination, indeed.
September 23, 2010 · 1:12 pm
Life is crazy busy at the moment with fall chores and all the kid activities. I decided to take a quick moment today, however, to post some pictures of our harvested pumpkins. Despite the mildewy mess in the pumpkin patch, we still have quite a few pumpkins for decorating and carving!
We tossed all the mildewy vegetation over the river bank instead of potentially contaminating our compost pile with the fungi spores. The pumpkin patch is mostly cleaned up and ready for tilling this fall.
I also planted decorative mini-pumpkins this year. The vines are growing on my garden fence and have been very prolific.
I have started picking these cute little things for decorating around the house.
After using 4-5 of them for decorating the dining table, I am at a loss as to what I am gong to do with the other fifty mini-pumpkins. Any ideas?
September 20, 2010 · 7:44 pm
It is not as easy as one would think. I discussed in a previous post all the issues we’ve had with growing pumpkins in the past. Last year was our first successful growing season. Encouraged by our success, we grew pumpkins again this year.
Our pumpkin patch looked beautiful and healthy earlier this season. The plants were robust and filled with blossoms.
The weather, however, turned hot, humid and soggy during late summer. It seemed like overnight, the pumpkin patch turned into this powdery mildew mess.
Powdery white spots appeared all over the leaves and eventually covered many of them. The severity of the infection started causing the vines to wither and die.
The good news is that there are several ripe pumpkins hiding under the disgustingly infected leaves.
Powdery mildew is caused by a fungus. My challenge for next year will be to try to catch this sooner if it reappears and apply a fungicide and dispose of the infected leaves. Spacing the plants further apart to help with air circulation might help too.
The thing with gardening is that just when you think you have something figured out, nature throws you a curve with weather, insects, disease, etc. Gardeners are stubborn though, and this minor setback in my pumpkin patch will not deter me from trying again next year!
I’ll post pictures of the pumpkin crop soon!
September 7, 2010 · 9:00 pm
I planted a cutting garden for the first time last year, growing a variety of annual flowers from seeds. I enjoyed the convenience of having a supply of flowers to cut for bouquets without having to worry about how they looked overall in the garden. Once the seeds germinated, it required some attention to keep the weeds at bay. As the annual flowers grew, however, they took over and significantly reduced the chore of weeding.
Because I enjoyed it so much last year, I decided to plant another one this year. I planted cosmos, bachelor buttons, larkspur and a variety of zinnias. One mistake was planting the cosmos near the front of the cutting garden in one section because they grew so tall that they blocked out nearly everything behind them. Otherwise, the seedlings took off and started to flower.
The cosmos are still blooming.
Although the tall plants have collapsed due to the wind and heavy rains we have received.
I know. It kind of ruins the lovely images of the cutting garden that you might have had, but it is the grim reality at this point in the summer.
The zinnias are blooming in all shapes and sizes. Before last year, I refused to even consider growing these flowers because I had always stereotyped them as ugly “old-lady” flowers. You know, in the same group as marigolds. After browsing through the seed packets at the local nursery, I decided to give these old standbys a chance. I am so glad that I came to my senses because these flowers are the stars of the cutting garden with their variety of shapes, sizes, colors and textures.
I battled the new crop of mosquitos today after work and went out and picked a bouquet to brighten up the indoors. The flowers are getting a little tattered from all the weather, but I still managed to find enough to put something together. Having flowers from my garden in the house makes me smile and always cheers me up.
It seems as though I typically only go out to pick a bouquet of flowers if we are expecting visitors. This is unfortunate because bringing the garden indoors is a great way to admire the fruits of your labor.
I plan to have a cutting garden again next year and hopefully I will remind myself to take the time to treat myself to a bouquet of flowers inside more often. After all, that is the point of having a cutting garden!
In these last few weeks before our first frost, my goal is to continuously have a bouquet on display in the house…just for me.