I like this trend of taking a personal day every couple of months to catch up on all the little (or not-so-little) gardening tasks that I haven’t been able to accomplish otherwise. Being outside, with my hands in the dirt and a plan in my mind — well, it just makes me happy.
I had a Plan B of what to do indoors, should the impending rain keep me from gardening outside. There’s always plenty of things to be done around the house — my husband and I have opposite work schedules and a toddler who goes to daycare three days a week, so, yeah, there’s always stuff to be done.
I realized during my leisurely breakfast in the sunroom that I might actually be able to get some stuff done — the drizzle wasn’t really drizzling anymore. Yay!
So, first order of business was some basic maintenance: removing the peony supports, deadheading, pulling the more egregious weeds, and picking up spent Rose of Sharon flowers so they don’t add to my collection of Rose of Sharon seedlings.
While I was deadheading my hardy hibiscus, I stepped back and took a photo of my south front fence border for documentation and planning purposes.
The goldenrod is finally starting to pop. For the last couple of months, this looked like a big weedy mess, mostly due to the six-foot-tall goldenrod that wasn’t golden yet.
In the spring, this border is chock full of daffodils. Then, the yucca and the clematis bloom. Finally, the red and white hibiscus come into bloom, along with some phlox (most of which are hidden by the goldenrod). There are lots of weeds and other unknowns in this bed, but I’m hesitant to do any major digging, for fear of disturbing the daffodils. The first order of business, I think, is to get the goldenrod out and replace it with something just as tall and striking, but less… weedy.
These are the thoughts that I have whilst working in the gardens. Anyway.
While deadheading the flowers in the back yard, I discovered that my unknown cultivar of helianthus (i.e. the unnamed yellow flowering perennial) has developed what I assume is powdery mildew on its leaves.
As I’d never come across powdery mildew before, I didn’t know I was supposed to remove all affected leaves… so my plant still has powdery mildew. Oops.
Finally, after I’d completed a few other menial tasks and had started working on what will become my herb garden, the skies opened up. At least I made it to lunchtime!
I enjoyed a quiet lunch at home with my husband and watched the rain. Amazingly enough, the rain let up after we had finished our lunch and he was getting ready to head out to an appointment.
I pulled scores of tiny spring bulbs out of that little soon-to-be herb garden. Grape hyacinths, mostly, obviously long in need of dividing. The brown flowerpot in the photo above is half full of bulbs. I fully expect to be relocating grape hyacinths for some time to come. I also fixed the metal border to the raised bed, which has been bugging me ever since we moved in, and I pulled out rocks and weeds and moved some plants to a new home farther north in the same flowerbed. It’s still not perfect, but I think it will serve me nicely as a place to grow some garlic, basil, cilantro, mint, and maybe some chives in pots (transplanted from elsewhere on the property).
Finally, I finished installing a rock border around the lamppost bed and planted about half of the grape hyacinths, plus a few other spring bulbs I’d been hanging onto.
Hanging on the lamppost is a pot containing some maypop vines that I dug up and pardoned before I applied Milestone to the new viney growth in the garage border. They’re pretty, yes, but I really don’t need my garden borders to look like a jungle. I’d rather keep these vines with their peculiar purple flowers properly contained.
I took one last walk around the property and collected the piles of weeds I’d left.
And that was my highly successful Early Fall Gardening Day.
Postscript: During my morning weeding, I sent a photo of one particular strong-stemmed plant to Garden Compass for identification:
The answer came back in record time (about seven hours) that this is an Eastern Redbud tree! Wow, OK. Grows to about 15ft in 10 years, and can grow 20-30ft overall, and has beautiful red buds in the springtime. Sounds like something I’d like to have, but not in the border where it’s currently volunteering.
My plan is to move it in the early spring, and plant it in the middle of the lamppost bed. I think it would be a nice addition to the view out our kitchen windows, and won’t be too overbearing for the location.
Great gardening day. I love these days.