Saturday, November 11, 2017

November in the Garden

Sorry for the lack of posts.  I started a new job, and while I have been going in earlier, it is still dark when I get off, so there is no time to garden before or after work!  I have today off, and it's sunny!  I took advantage of that to get some photos and to cut some herbs and perennials back.

First, some pretties... there are still lots of herbs blooming in the garden, even in mid-November with a few freezing nights.

Coyote Mint: it's growing very nicely.  I'm so pleased, as it was one of the plants I have wanted for a long time. 

coyote mint

coyote mint

Rosemary: rosemary is so pretty and cheerful on chilly days!  Delicious in warm stews on chilly days too! 

prostrate rosemary

prostrate rosemary

Blue Boy rosemary

Blue Boy rosemary


Mini Blue lavender

Mini Blue lavender

Goodwin Creek Gray lavender

The lemon thyme is doing very nicely, after a hard summer where I wasn't too sure it was worth bothering with.  All it takes is a little natural water, aka rain!  The herbs always do so much better once it rains than when they are watered from the hose.  We have "good" water too, so I am not sure why they prefer it...

lemon thyme
Having never grown creeping winter savory before this year, I am not sure how it handles winter.  I think I should cut it back, based on the new growth at the base of the old, as seen in the photo above my finger.  The older leaves are rather a sickly looking yellowy green.  Either too wet in the ceramic planter, or ready to be cut back.  I'll cut back and see what spring brings.  Worse comes to worse, I'll plant something new!

creeping winter savory

Then there's the Butterfly Garden. 

The Black-eyed Susans and Indian Blanket Flower are showing signs of flagging, but are still putting out new flowers. The Susans blooms are smaller than in the summer. 

Indian Blanket flower after the petals fell off
I cut the yarrow back, leaving the newly forming buds, but I doubt they will flower before it gets too cold.  

 "UpTick" coreopsis is done blooming.  I guess it will die completely back like another I bought dormant. 

UpTick corepsis (tickweed)

Get a load of that pineapple sage stem!  From dormant to a virtual shrub in a few months!  It's in completely the wrong spot, but sure liked the raised bed soil! 

pineapple sage
 Things that didn't flower this year...  I think, just think, they are coreopsis.  The bottom photo is definitely lance-leaf coreopsis, grown from seed.  The plants sure are healthy. 

lance-leaf corepsis

The Sungold tomato has ripened its last.  As colder weather hit most of the fruit just dropped to the ground.  I don't expect I'll have to buy a plant next year!

last of the Sungold cherry tomatoes - I ate them!
fallen Sungolds - and apparently a rogue garlic?
So, that's about it for now in the herb/butterfly/vegetable gardens. 

As for my new job, it's not pet or garden related, but, hey, it's a job and it's fine so far!  I'll save money, but miss great deals.  It's worth it to be rid of unreasonable management! 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Autumn in the Garden 2017

We have been having rainy days.  Some wind and cold temperatures as well, some cold enough to leave ice on the car windshields.  Time to clear out the carport so when we have to be somewhere early in the morning, we can park under it the night before and avoid scraping windows.

Between the rain and looking for a new job (there may be good news soon on that front), I haven't done much.  Autumn gardens may have pretty fall colors, but they are depressing, signaling an end to flowers and butterflies.

When I first moved in the lattice overhand was covered with ancient sticky (as in nothing but dry dead sticks) Virginia creeper.  I thought I'd removed it all. It wasn't until it changed to the gorgeous autumn red I found it growing among the climbing rose!  I'll leave it.  I'll just try to keep it under control. 

The peach is very pretty.  As is a small something tree that came up from a nut that looked like a filbert (hazelnut) but with different leaves.  I am going to transplant it into a nice pot and hope it stays small for a miniature garden vignette. 

 The forsythia lost its leaves during the wind a few days ago.  The asparagus is nearly ready to cut back already, that's usually a December chore. 

 The anise hyssop has gone to seed.  I've read it's best to cut back the flower heads before the seeds drop, but I didn't.  Rain and wind knocked down a big part of the pineapple sage, which in turn broke off some of the anise hyssop.  You can see just how many seeds only a few of the flowers formed.  I took the broken ones and set them upside down in canning jars, where they released dozens, if not hundreds of seeds!  I really like anise hyssop in the butterfly garden, so will let the rest of the plant drop its seeds in the garden, and I'll transplant them for "gifts" to unsuspecting "friends!" 


This is a blue chocolate cherry tomato!  The plant got a very late start from seed, and now has just set fruit, which probably won't get the warmth needed to ripen more than this one.    It's not as dark as I'd expected it to be. 

 The butterfly garden is reaching the end of its season.  This was the pineapple sage this morning.  It lost its right side to the storm, and the rest is going to the cooler nights.  The corepsis is about done, the black-eyed Susan and blanket flowers have fewer flowers by the day.  I've already started ordering more seeds for both the butterfly garden annuals and perennials for the rock garden!  The latest are butterfly weed (asclepias tuberos) and a perennial lupine.  Under $2.00 per package of seeds, free shipping, plus U.S. grown, why not? 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Butterfly Garden Path and Review

I had only finished one side (what I consider the "back") of the butterfly garden when I first built it.  The rest was open to the, loosely speaking, lawn (grass/weedy) area.

May 3:

June 27:

August 21: WOW!   It's amazing how quickly some seeds grow to maturity!   Not all of these are annuals, which do need to hurry, since they must produce seeds before the first freeze. 

October 1:  A lot still going on strong.  

So, today, my last day of vacation, I sort of finished the "front" path.

I am replacing the small cinder blocks around the cherry tree with larger ones from the raspberry bed (which I am hoping to completely get rid of, although as soon as rain hits I'll probably have dozens of canes pop up).  The larger blocks are the five in the front.  You can see how much nicer they are.  They are part of The Great Cinder Block Deal of 2012.  There will be plenty left for a single block deep (currently it is two blocks deep, which is not needed for vegetables) bed. 

I sprayed weed killer, then weed barrier cloth, tucked under the smaller cinder blocks, and topped it all off with three bags of bark mulch (broken bags for 50% off!).  The long end is just an 8' furring strip.  They are just the right size to keep mulch in place, can be simply held in place with a few wooden spikes, and are under $2.00 each.  The end still needs to be sawed off so we (ie me!)) don't trip. 

The cinder blocks aren't permanent, they are just placeholders and weights until I get more of the blocks you see at the end, on the left.  That one is leftover from the fire pit construction.

There's Boo, sticking his tennis ball into a hole! 

There's Boo again, looking as handsome as ever, if a bit more portly than when this blog began five years ago!   He's still "The Most Beautiful Dog in the World." 

Not a bad way to end a vacation!

Garden Close-ups

Just some close-up shots of things around the yard.  I am impressed how close you can get with an iPhone.  I don't bother to use a separate camera anymore.



pebble with cactus


lemon balm

aloe vera

ivy flowers 


Holey Rocks:  I absolutely love these photos!  I didn't realize how lovely this rock was until I saw it up close and personal.  The moss growing at the entry to the deep hole, the yellowish ring around the shallow hole, the stone crop succulent growing through a hole...


Flat Marbles: