Spending time in the last couple of months on family affairs exhausted me both physically and mentally and didn’t leave much time left for anything else. I retreated to Instagram @petalsandwingsimages as my outlet since I didn’t have to spend time correcting images on PhotoShop. Now, as the dust settled, I’m back.
With plenty of rain in early spring, the garden has grown pretty fast and the flowers have responded well, especially the irises. I don’t water irises regularly like the other plants so with plenty of rain they bloom in abundance.
All these irises either re-bloom or are fragrant or both. With good weather, I should see most of their flowers again in October.
I woke up this morning to see snow falling outside. The temperature is cold with no wind so the snow stayed on the leaves and on the ground. Lucky that I’ve gotten everything I needed done in the garden before the weather got cold and snow fell. We insulated our beehives only last week, good for us and the honeybees. We also put up a cold frame for the first time this year and getting it in last weekend. We weren’t looking forward to hammering poles into frozen ground! We can now grow winter vegetables like Kale, Swiss chard and Arugula in there. I’m not sure how well this will work but I want to try growing hardier vegetables year round if I can.
Anyway the sight of snow on the ground, trees, leaves and flowers is a reminder of the omnipresence of beauty year ’round.
It’s raining again tonight, actually it has been raining on and off for the past two days. It’s just drizzle now. Luck was on my side yesterday; gave me a chance to take some photographs of fall colors before the rain washes them away. Not much left of the garden, really, just a lot of leaves on the ground and some flowers here and there that push their last bit of energy before going to rest. The whole visual of fall garden gives me a sense of ending. That is what gardening has taught me: a life cycle. I see plants sprout, grow, blossom, fade and die within one season. Then it starts all over again, maybe in a new place, or a new form.
Anyway, I don’t mean to be philosophical here. It is just that gardening makes you keep your feet on the ground, working along side mother nature and enjoying what she gives us.
Even at the end, she still paints a beautiful picture that artists through the centuries have struggled to match.
The bright red of Japanese Maple leaves provide a very beautiful contrast to the bright yellow of western maple leaves in the background. The Tree Swallow family was long gone, but a male Eastern Bluebird came to check this birdhouse for a potential roosting place a week ago. This bench is a great place to sit and watch the sunrise and contemplate the beauty that surrounds us.
Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) is still flowering and the Bumble bees still work on the last drop of its nectar. I will be picking the leaves and drying them for tea before the frost comes.
Salvia ‘Black & Blue’ is still flowering as well. I grew them for the first time this year and have no idea whether they will last the winter so I’ve collected the seeds, just in case. I will try to plant them next to the Pineapple sage next year; the color combination should be great.
We still pick some Roman strawberries, with lovely pink flowers, at this time of year. The fruits are small but very sweet and the plants never stop producing them.
Rose ‘Knockout’ is a continuous bloomer. Once it starts in late spring, it never stops blooming. This one managed to evade the hungry deer so far.
The bright bold colors of Swiss chard are one of a few vegetables left in the garden. Chinese celery, Kale, Scallion, and Parsley are also still standing. Some stray garlic seedlings have sprouted up as well.
Re-blooming Irises have bloomed on cue. Once October comes, they shoot up new flower stems for the second time. They tempted me to up-root the other Irises and plant all re-bloomers, but there are not that many color choices to choose from.
The bulb boys are first in spring. Behind them, the rise of the rhizomes bringing on the bearded Iris. If you calculate correctly, you will have flowers blooming in the garden all season long from spring to frost. Most of our flowers from bulbs are already gone. What we have now are the Bearded Irises, Lilac, Clematis Montana and Columbines.
Princess Beatrice (Iris pallida), this lavender blue Iris came with the house, a lot of them. I had separated and replanted them after a few years, creating another row by the pool fence. That may have been a mistake. We have a tough time sitting on the patio or pool deck when they are in full bloom. Their fragrance is too strong. This year, luckily, the row by the garage walkway bloomed first. The ones by the pool fence are just budding.
I love their blade-like leaves, especially in the morning when they are graced with dew. The dewdrops gather like a string of diamonds along the edge of the leaves and glisten in the sunlight. They are also drought tolerant. The row next to the garage is partially under the roof so they hardly get any rain. I water them once in a while when it’s really hot and dry, and they are thriving. Most of them bloom once per season but I have one that re-blooms in the fall, Lenora Pearl. We had a freak snow storm in October last year but this re-bloomer weathered that too. My task now is to search for more varieties of the them.