Well my friends, flower garden season is over, sniff, sniff. Of course, the gardening season is not over as there is so much work yet to be done. All the flowers have to be cut to the ground, lawn ornaments brought in for the winter, hanging baskets and pots need to be emptied and stored, etc. etc. etc. It will be awhile before I will be able to rest these weary bones for the winter.
However, there is still a little life left to the garden as we have not had a killing frost yet, so let's begin the early fall garden tour shall we? First, lets walk the perennial gardens and yard.
The Perennial Garden Beds and Yard
As you can tell, with the exception of a few straggling Black Eyed Susans, the color is all gone. There is still a lot of green though, and some of that green is starting to change colors.
For now, I just walk through the garden each day and cut down the "Worst Offenders"... the stuff that is like a brown stick. If it is still green or has some color at all, I leave it. I will repeat this process throughout fall until everything is cut completely down to the ground.
This tall growing perennial blooms in the fall. Can someone help me with the name of this plant? I've googled it to death, and I can't seem to find it anywhere. Anyway, it grows beautifully in the shade, and has low green foliage then it sends up these stalks of pretty white plumes.
About the only thing still blooming in my yard is my sedum. I have a love/hate relationship with sedum. I love the plant when I see it in garden magazines and other people's gardens, but mine usually flops over, even if I trim it half way back mid summer. Anyone else have this problem?
It's a nice plant if it behaves for it blooms when nothing else is in bloom except maybe mums.
Even though my garden lacks flowers this time of year, my yard is so full of berries! The berries provide so much color! The birds will certainly enjoy eating these berries in winter when nothing else is available. Just look at all the beautiful red berries dripping off this crab apple tree!
And I love the colorful berries on this Viburnum bush too.
Trees, and bushes aren't the only things that produce gorgeous berries in the fall, these red berries are from a plant called Jack in the Pulpit.
I always do one summer project and one winter project a year. This summer project is a five year plan, and I've currently completed year three! Only two more summers to go and it will be done. I've been ripping out all the ivy and ferns from this steep slope and replacing it with hosta and covering it with fresh wood chips. It takes a long time because the hill is very steep and a lot larger than it appears in photos. If you can see my house in the background, that will give you some scale to the size of the slope, and not all the slope is even in the picture. I finished all to the left of the photo, now next summer I will keep moving right starting the next section.
I did have a couple of mums that survived our Wisconsin winter. Mums are hit or miss here, and are best treated as annuals. I love how this one is a mix of white, yellow, and purple, and it gets even more purple as the season progresses.
And this mum is a pretty pale yellow.
The Annual Garden Beds (Before Frost)
I haven't shown you my annual beds all summer long because hubby has had a load of gravel sitting in front of my house covered with a blue tarp...and it's still there! I strategically tried to photograph around the bright blue tarp,
My garden beds around my house and in front of my house are mostly annuals, with a few perennials tucked in here and there.
I love the layering look I "accidentally" created here. The impatients are planted in the ground, but the begonia and polka dot plant are in a container high above the ground. Somehow the impatients grew so tall that they covered up the stand the container was sitting in. I love it when nature naturally creates something better than you could ever plan yourself.
Here's a close up of my polka dot plant and begonia. I do bring both in the sunroom for the winter, so this is the second year for both. It saves me a lot of $$$$ in the spring if I over winter some of my more expensive annuals.
The Asparagus Fern hanging baskets are several years old. I also bring these in every winter too. I love the southern look they create when I hang them on the porch each spring. They act as a nice privacy screen too when I sit on the porch. You could never buy baskets this big in the spring, or if you did they would cost a small fortune.
My front annual garden bed that runs along the driveway was terrible this year. This cleome reseeded from last year, and in all the wrong places, and for whatever reason, my marigolds never took off and do well this year. I was disappointed, but then again, that stupid pile of gravel with the bright blue tarp was in front of it all summer long, so it didn't really matter. Next year, I'm plucking up every little Cleome seedling and planting something other than marigolds. Any ideas?
Halfway through the summer one of our nurseries in town had a half off sale so I picked up more annuals. It really wasn't worth it though, so I won't do it again next year. They just didn't have time to really grow. This yellow lantana did super well though, and really impressed me. So I googled it and found I could also bring this plant inside for the winter, so I did!
My Mandevilla Vine did exceptionally well this year. I saw they were selling these for around $60.00 at our local home improvement store. They looked just like this with a teepee that the vine grew on. So I created my own teepee using garden stakes, and before long, my Mandevilla Vine looked just as good as the one in the home improvement store. I bought this plant last year, and it was probably only two feet tall, now it's taller than me! I bring it inside the sunroom for the winter, and set it outside in the summer.
The Vegetable Garden
My vegetable garden was definitely the star of the show. It produced so much food that both our chest freezers are completely full and the shelves of canned goods are fully stocked. We are set for winter. I tell you with grocery prices soaring more and more everyday, it's nice to walk right past the vegetable aisle and not have to buy a single thing!
I heard Nasturtium plants are great for vegetable garden because they deter pests and every part of the plant is edible. So I dropped a few seeds along the edge of my lower garden, and they completely swallowed up my garden! I'm not sure if they helped with garden pests, but I will NOT be planting these again, no matter how pretty they are.
I did a second cropping of lettuce, spinach, and radishes in the fall and boy did they take off. They loved the cooler weather, and I love not only how delicious they taste but how pretty they are in my garden. I love the chartreuse color of the lettuce leaves, especially in comparison to the purple lettuce.
Here's a short video of my fall lettuce crop.
And of course, what would a garden post be without a snapshot of Jackson. He was not amused with me. He wouldn't look up at the camera.
The annual baskets and containers that I have in my veggie garden were starting to look kinda tired until it got cooler, then they seemed to take off again. Petunias and alyssum love cooler temps.
My broccoli harvest was insane this year! I filled an entire bed with broccoli and I have been constantly harvesting broccoli all summer long. They just won't stop producing!
In case you didn't know, broccoli produces only one large head. But after you cut the large head off, if you leave the plant intact, it will continue to produce little off shoots like this. These off shoots produced so much broccoli that my freezer is filled with them.
As you know from last month's garden post, I finally figured out how to grow peppers. It took me three years, but I did it!
Are these tomatoes perfect or what? Absolute perfection.
And look at this red pepper, it's as big as my hand! What a beauty! You'd never find peppers that look like this at the grocery store.
Here I put them on the table next to a pop can so you can have a size reference.
Last Tuesday we finally got our first light frost. It wasn't a killing frost, but it take out some of the more tender plants like basil, impatients, and others.
I covered my fall crop of lettuce because I wasn't ready to say goodbye to fresh salad greens. Apparently you are not supposed to cover plants with plastic, as it can do more damage than the frost itself, so don't follow my advise...ha ha. But my lettuce survived the plastic covering just fine.
I picked as much as I could before our first light frost. I picked all the regular basil and the purple basil, and I even dug one purple basil plant up, potted it, and brought it in the house. I'm hoping I will be able to have fresh basil all winter long. We will see how that goes. I also picked the rest of the Lacinato Kale and peppers. I did not care for the Lacinato Kale and I will not be growing it again, even though it's the "darling of the culinary world". I prefer regular curly kale. I found the Lacinato Kale attracted a lot of bugs, its leaves always had large holes in them. I also thought it was more bitter and I didn't like the texture.
Here is one of my purple basil plants. Isn't it pretty? I'm hoping it will make a good houseplant as I love it's pretty purple leaves. The scent is absolutely amazing!
I had one more picking day before our first frost, so this time I grabbed all the peppers that were left, big or small, ripe or not.
And I pulled all the kale plants. I didn't have time to process them all right away, so I just bundled them and threw them in our spare fridge till I had time to wash, dice, and freeze.
We had a really good potato harvest this year. We doubled the amount of potatoes that we planted last year, and I'm glad we did considering how much a bag of potatoes costs nowadays in the grocery store.
The Fall Front Porch
Finally, I can't leave without showing you my fall front porch. I do plan on doing a fall video walk through of my house, but I wanted to give you a sneak peak of just the front porch.
I like to decorate a little more simply than some folk...tall corn stalks, a plethora of pumpkins and squash, and lots of fall paraphernalia everywhere is not my thing. I basically just potted three large fall mums and placed them on my front steps. Then I added a few "plastic pumpkins" and a "Welcome" rock. I don't buy real pumpkins. I think it's so wasteful to buy pumpkins for decor then toss them. If you eat them, fine, but most people don't eat them. I purchased these plastic pumpkins probably twenty years, and I still use them every year.
I tried to stay away from the yellow mums because I have so much yellow in my garden already with the Black Eyed Susans. I chose purples, reds, and orange mums.
I love this rusty red color in this mum.
This purple mum is one of my containers in my yard.
And I think this rusty orange mum is my favorite. This color just screams fall to me!
And that's it, my early fall garden. I'm not sure I will be back with one more garden post before winter or not. This is such a busy time of year for me. But I still do hope to pop in and share some harvest recipes with you. I tried a lot of new dishes this year using produce from my own garden, that I'd love to share.
Have a Great Day! Amy
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