Sunday, August 17, 2014

Preparing For Fall-In the Yard

I finally make it into the yard . Five hours later than expected. After cleaning up the front I ate breakfast, sat down and snoozed on the porch and then decided to go out back. I knew that one of the tomato vines was yellow tomatoes but until today I didn't have any. To my surprise I had 2 good sized ones. I was so excited. Made me not want to pull up the vines but it was certainly time. I got a nice amount of cherry tomatoes off the other vine. There were many tiny baby developing cucumbers. Two that were large and a smaller one misshapen one. I included a picture for anyone that's never seen how they start off from the flower. I am going to cut the other one and see how it taste. If left it would have possibly filled out. Well I didn't feed the neighborhood this summer but it was still nice to get some fresh veggies for salad most tomatoes and a small amount of Swiss chard. Practice makes perfect and next year is a chance to improve. The bumble bees will be upset tomorrow when they come and there's no vine or flowers to pollinate. They were buzzing in the flowers today.

Last fall I  bagged up leaves and cut some leaves off perennials but left a whole lot to be cleaned up in the spring. This year will be different since today started my first day of cleaning. The pots the veggies were in will be emptied and cleaned and fresh soil put in next season. It would be nice to get compost for the containers. I topped off the peony because it had finally developed powdery mildew. Browned or damaged leaves on plants were cut off. So many plants have been devoured by slugs or some leaf eating insect. Organic gardening is one thing but to have almost everything eaten is a problem. I only get to enjoy my heucheras (coral bell) in the spring before they get eaten. The rose bush actually did good this year but now it's leaves have been eaten. The yard is full of so many spiders. I hate spiders and webs. I know they are helpful and eat some small insects but they can also be a nuisance.

I can look at the yard and see where I want to plant bulbs in October. This year I won't plant them in some of the spots as last year because some bulbs were placed too close to things coming up. No new perennials. I think I'll try to dig up the ones I put in bad places last fall and try to relocate them and hopefully give them a better chance next season.

I threw this one out.
I kept this one. They were ready to be pulled. The leaves had powdery mildew. I need to learn how to control disease.
That's how the cucumber start off. If the bloom is pollinated the cucumber forms where the bloom is attached.

Poor broccoli never planted. Now it will be. I will definitely need to dust it because the white butterflies were around and I'm sure knew it was there.
There are lots of small peppers on it. I don't have good luck with peppers in the yard. Possibly not enough sun for them.

I'm proud that black eyed Susan adapted to my yard and may return.
The geranium and chocolate mint coleus seedlings grew. The coleus is real large although I can't seem to capture that.

I would love this to be pretty and lush. Haven't figured it out yet. Next season is another chance to improve.
Poor little flower bed. One day I will get it right. Something will do good here.
Peony covered in mildew, cut down.
It's been really dry even with rain. We had light sprinkles today but the ground doesn't show it.
Just a mess. The clematis and other plants in this area did not preform well this season.
Will deadhead the coneflower and by fall place in a larger container. It won't be planted in the ground.
The elephant ear was the star this summer followed by the fern.

Out Front

It's cloudy today and cool with a whipping wind and some moments of blue sky. A small amount of rain has come and gone but not even enough to wet the ground or give the plants a good watering. Maybe it'll rain tonight and give them much needed rain. It reminds me of Autumn and I can already visualize pumpkins lining the steps. Friday was the last straw. I could hardly get groceries in the house with pots of plants on the steps competing for space. I won. Don't think I'll put any there next year but as always the flowers usually win out. Their new location, next to my basement window and in the fall, the backyard steps planted with bulbs. I may keep them hidden on my front basement steps to try to avoid squirrels digging them up. My daughter will love the pots not being on the step. That's the first thing she asked me when she came in yesterday, "what happened to the plants on the steps?" I said, "near the window." She knew why I had finally moved them and laughed. She didn't actually laugh but said un ha which I found is not a word in the dictionary when I googled it. Who knew, this term is used all the time unless I'm misspelling it.

I went to the garden center Friday and although I had no planned purchases, I got a shopping cart. I reasoned with myself that I was only allowed to spend $20.00 if I decided to buy something. I'm supposed to be saving for a roof to be done before the end of October. It has to be done so that's not debatable. So I'll have 2 items off of my to do list. The back doors were done in July and they look so much better and it'll be less drafty in my kitchen and shed this winter. I was in hot pursuit of arborvitaes to plant in my yard this fall while they still have some. I thought prices would start to be reduced but, not so! For larger ones, larger prices. I don't mind the smaller ones because they do increase in size each season but I want to see them now and have them make a difference now not 3 years from now. So, I'll either pay the price for larger ones, or buy the smaller ones. What I get will depend on how they start to disappear from the store. Around September many garden centers start to be bare to empty in anticipation for Thanksgiving and Christmas displays. Of course mums are already in the stores and I don't know why because they are in bloom and won't bloom again this season. I like to put mums out October-November. It's way too early. For people buying them as perennials I guess now is the time since there is a good selection.

 Arborvitaes like sun but these will be in dappled shade. Yes I do push the limits and see what'll work even if it's not recommended. The ones out front have done well year round and allow something green all year. Since I've had so much trouble getting plants I put in the flower bed near the fence in the yard to live from year to year, I plan to put the arborvitaes there so I'll have something to look at year round that doesn't die. Hopefully they won't. This will give my yard some foundation plants and that area will look more like I've done something with it. Impatiens are beautiful here and I'll plant more next season and be consistent with watering them daily so they can grow and put on a beautiful show. They won't do much with limited watering. The yard does get sun and will get even more this fall when I have more branches cut off the Norway maples hanging over my yard. I find that most plants even those listed as shade plants, appreciate light. Every plant needs some light even plants in deep shaded areas of the jungle. On to sweeping the side walk, trim ivy, deadhead spent blooms, trim sedum in the flower bed and sidewalk container, collect debris and take pictures. I want to go into the yard and pick off all the tomatoes and pull up the bushes from the tomatoes and cucumbers. Cucumbers that did grow were misshapen and I didn't eat them. Time to prepare for September and returning to work. I also need to take down the table in the yard and store it and the chairs in the basement till next spring. Hopefully the first family barbecue day next year won't overwhelm me. It'll be the anniversary of my mom's passing. No changes really out front. The plants are doing well for this time of year, just have to tidy them up. I'm actually looking forward to them soon going dormant and gardening indoors and planning for next season, seed starting, seed catalogs, and possible purchases of bulbs and next years annuals. Of course vegetable gardeners have started their fall, winter gardens.

I clipped the vine up and it developed a new runner and is now growing back down the steps. With other pots remove maybe it won't be so much in the way.
Sweet potato vine is all the way down the basement steps.
Impatiens have continued to do well all summer. Next season I want to add maybe one more to this container for additional blooms.

Euphorbia has eaten up the geraniums. I would love to over winter her.
Coreopsis has bloomed longer this summer than I expected. I thought it was only a spring bloomer. Balloon flower has rewarded me all summer with blooms. Will look for white ones to order for next season.


Hyacinth bean vine actually has seed pods although small. I'm surprised it formed any. This is always a hardy plant. It would be large and all over on my neighbors side if I planted it in the spring when I planted the thunbergia that did nothing. Thunbergia grandiflora blue sky vine is still planted.

Can you see the praying mantis in the upper left hand corner coming for the bee on the right?
Praying mantis is the same color of the grass. I didn't see him until he started moving towards the bee. Of course the bee was not a meal. How could it be? You know I would die if that gets on me. I haven't seen them out front for years. I use to see larger ones. I guess I'm doing something right. This year there have been a variety of insects in the bed.
Nepta increased in size and did bloom again. I can't wait till next year to see how she looks.
Waiting patiently for canna blooms.

This type of salvia always looks unkept. Maybe I'll try something else here next year, dig it up and give it to my sister. There are some many types of salvia to try.