Fall is the new spring!

During late summer I start back to work, the labor of watering my annuals gets too time-consuming, and I basically give up on gardening for a while. (Despite the neglect, the pink impatiens in a container by the driveway are still looking good, and the pentas are just amazing in their tolerance of this drought!) But now that fall is here, I'm starting to feel rejuvenated. They say that fall is the best time to plant, and I'm raring to go now that I have a newly cleared bed in the backyard.

I think all gardeners get spring fever, as you prepare for your summer garden, but how about fall fever? This time of year seems just as exciting now that I have some room to plant new shrubs and perennials.


I never promised myself a rose garden

When we moved into our house several years ago, we inherited dated wallpaper, rusty lawn furniture, and a dozen roses in containers that have been plagued by black spot and Japanese beetles. I had no qualms about riping out the wallpaper and giving away the lawn furniture. But give up on plants? Never.

Now that I have recently created more garden beds, I'm debating whether I should toss them in the ground. It would use up some of the space and they would probably do better in the ground than in the containers. But then again, why use up valuable garden space with plants I don't even like all that much?

Then just when I was fed up with them, they do something sweet to try to get on my good side; one rose bush just put out a bunch of fragrant beautiful flowers.


Rain, Rain, come this way!

Photo by John Morgan
Isn't it odd when you start actually wishing for a rainy day? It's not that I really mind hauling the hose around the yard; I actually enjoy the excuse for time spent with my plants, and it's not so difficult to find the time now that my daughter can tag along. But there's a limit to what you can do (or are willing to do) with supplimental watering. I'm against watering lawns, and it shows. And I was looking forward to juicy tomato-basil sandwitches, but we're raising nothing but cherry tomatoes, and that's not the seeds I sowed!


Rubber mulch : yay or nay?

At Home Depot I found out they are now selling bagged rubber mulch (by Vigoro) that looks much like the real thing. It's made from 100% recycled tires, but it's dyed to look like red or brown wood mulch.

There's some pros and cons to rubber mulch, but it basically boils down to this: it will take a long, long time to break down. That's a great thing if you are using it on a walkway or playground and have no desire to replace the mulch all the time. That's not a great thing if you want your mulching material to break down over time and add new organic material to your soil.
For playground use, I think it's a pretty good look and doesn't leave much mess. I hate that most local playgrounds are filled with sand, since little Nelumbo Jr. manages to get really dirty. She also thinks it's fun to pour sand on my shoes. I think rubber is a much better alternative. It's much easier to clean off my sneakers, anyway.



Last season our hatred of the Nandina took hold and I hacked one up with pruners. Then my husband, with the typical male tendency for escilation, plowed down the rest with a chainsaw. Then we realized that bushes have these things called roots, and they were stuck in the ground pretty good.

We finally hired two hard-working teenagers from up the road to do the dirty work. They did a great job. Now I am actually ready to dig in! Just need to add soil and seeds!


Winter work

It's time to trim the vitex and butterfly bushes. And time to repot the roses. Unfortunately, it's perfect weather out there to get to work. 74 degrees! Drat, I'm running out of excuses.


Resolution time

1) I resolve to water my flats this winter so that I actually have more than a couple seedlings to show for my yearly $50 shopping spree from seed catalogs.

2) I resolve to water my houseplants at least once a week.

3) I resolve to water my annuals and new perenials daily during summer's hotest months.

4) I resolve to not beat myself up when I fail to uphold these resolutions and kill a zillion plants again this year.