Things I'll miss

With cold weather creeping into the garden, and our first sub-freezing temperatures coming tomorrow, there will soon be less to see around my yard. These are some of the things I'll be missing soon...

...starting with the castor bean. I love the bamboo -- it's a "ten" for me -- but the dark-leaved castor bean next to it turns it up to eleven. What else will I be missing?


The time for a change

I really love early autumn, when the leaves have started falling but the coldest weather hasn't arrived yet. When a cool, sunny morning invigorates you, an extra morning jolt.

It's the change in colors that I think I like most -- when the greens of the trees and the lawns get replaced with reds and yellows and browns. It's a change in the garden that I have nothing to do with (other than choosing the climate in which to garden), and I can just sit back and watch it happen.


Bananas and Oranges

Both are fruits that you won't be seeing in my garden, but the combination of the Musa basjoo hardy banana leaves and the orange fall colors of the bald cypress Taxodium distichum make this corner of the garden such a happy place on a sunny autumn day!

With a temperature in the mid-80's (29ÂșC) yesterday, it seemed much more like banana weather than autumn, but I'll take every sunny day I can get when the bald cypress starts to change color!


Keeping Fall out of the pond

It's the time of year when my small pond is in peril. One of the suggestions you'll read when deciding where to put your pond is that it should not be near large trees due to the shade they provide and the leaves they will drop. Of course I put my pond directly under a large maple -- I didn't have another choice!

Autumn is the time of year that this becomes a problem, as shade the pond can tolerate -- piles of leaves in the water it cannot. The first year I just let the leaves fall and then pulled them out of the water later. This was really not fun, and I won't repeat it. Now I cover the pond with a net for a week or two until all of the leaves are down. It's not easy, it's not fun, but it's better than the "pull them out later" method.


How does it happen?

The question posed in the title of this post is meant in two different ways. The first is a general "how does it happen?", and the second is actually "how does it happen to me?". I'll get to the second one soon, but first, everybody who grows plants has a favorite "type" or genus. Something that really gets them excited like no other plants do, and results in them having a collection -- even though that was never their intent when they started gardening.

For me it's bamboo. For others it's tomatoes, or agaves, or cactus, or roses -- there's somebody who is crazy about every type of plant. Why is this? How does this happen? How does "ah, that's a nice plant" transform into "I must have as many species and varieties as possible!" Maybe a better question is: why does it happen for some people, and not for others? Take for instance, begonias.


Product Review: Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent

I don't do many product reviews on this blog, as I don't think that's what both most of you come here to read. Occasionally though I'm contacted by a company that sells a product that I think would be worth reviewing, and today you get to read about one of those.

The product is Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent, and although I was sent a bottle of this free of charge early in the growing season, I wanted to give it a good long test before talking about it. My verdict: it works! But...


Finishing the rose removal

Recently I started removing a climbing rose that was infected by Rose Rosette Disease. At the time I just pruned the poor thing to the ground, saying that I'd remove the roots later.

Part of my delay was that I wasn't sure what plant to put here in its place. This is the type of thing I might have thought about over the winter a few years ago, carefully weighing the pros and cons of every perennial vine that would grow in my climate. Not now though -- I don't have the patience for that anymore. Now I just weighed a few choices, saw a plant I knew I wanted to grow, ordered it, and dug in.



Earlier in my gardening career I had much more time for discovery, and finding fresh mushrooms was one of my delights. I'd grab my point-and-shoot Canon set to macro mode, lay down on the grass or mulch or whatever, and snap away.

These days I'm still excited by mushrooms, especially when a big one pops up after a few days of rain. (If you don't think you have enough mushrooms in your garden, get tree chippings. The free mulch I use contains plenty of fungal spores it seems.) I noticed this one the other day, then saw it ripped out the next morning -- probably by a raccoon. So I grabbed it, flipped it over, and started snapping photos.


Keeping up with the Joneses

I have a lot of gardener friends. Not as many as some people, but quite a few. Although a few of them live in the St. Louis area, most of them live in different parts of the country in completely different climates -- which makes some of their blog posts a challenge to read for me. Sometimes it's the talk (and photos) of really wonderful plants that I've never heard of, when I'll sort of nod and think "ah, nice plant" but then put it out of my mind. If it's a zone 7 or 8 woody plant, I can't grow it (probably) so why torture myself thinking about it?

At other times though the talk (or photos) of these not-for-my-climate plants really gets to me, and I feel jealous: I want to grow those too! This is the case with many succulents: Agaves, Aloes, Cactus. When Gerhard (Succulents and More) or Gail (Piece of Eden) or Loree (Danger Garden) start talking succulents, I go a bit green -- not in the way that gardeners are supposed to -- and feel left out. Until now that is.


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