Monthly Archives: October 2013

Still basking in Autumn’s glow!

The deck after a rain shower

The deck after a rain shower

My gardening and music colleague, Ginny, gave me a box of divided plants she had no place for in her garden. I was very happy to discover what was in the box, it was like Christmas!  Some Autumn Joy sedum, bugleweed, yellow yarrow, a lavender and a couple of others.  I got them planted in my side garden one day last week.

My bearded irises in all their glory!

My bearded irises in all their glory!

I love that when (certain) plants get overgrown you can just divide them up and move some over to another area of the garden or give some to a friend.It means you’ll never have to buy another day lily (for instance), unless you spot some tantalizing varieties at the nursery you can’t resist.

I just pulled up a bunch of my bearded irises, took out the old parts and the weeds that had grown up between the rhyzomes  and re-planted some of it.  The rest is still awaiting a verdict.  Will I plant some of it elsewhere? Put it all out front with a “take me home” sign? Not sure yet.  The problem with bearded irises is that, as lovely as they are while they’re blooming in early summer, the foliage is totally uninteresting to me.  Maybe I don’t have them placed in the right way.  Perhaps they could provide contrast to other plants with their long sword-like leaves; but in the spot where I had them, they just seemed to take up a lot of space without beautifying it. A conundrum to solve another day.

Due to the fine weather we keep having here in Montreal, I’ve been able to do a lot of the fall chores bit by bit.  Yesterday I took apart the water feature from the deck; planting the perennials (an iris and something else I’ve forgotten the name of!) in the garden and washing out the container.  I also divided the papyrus-like plant I always bring in for the winter and replanted it with some new soil.  I love that plant because it’s beautiful, but most of all, because it’s practically indestructible; that’s the one trait all my indoor plants have to have in common. I gave the smaller part of it to my friend, Mike, who has a definite green thumb for the indoor garden he tends at his house.

I have come to terms with the lawn situation in my backyard; I am going to keep the larger part as is, so I decided to over-seed it with some of the new loam I ordered for the front and hadn’t used.  Unfortunately, I used some seed that has probably been in the shed for over two years and I’m starting to think it won’t sprout.  It’s been 9 days already and no sign of life. New seed seems to be required.  In the meantime, the weeds have gotten a toe-hold in all that nice new earth I spread out.  Oh, well…

Here’s a lovely rendition of Ron Sexsmith’s song, Fallen.  Sung by k.d. lang.

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Rainy Day

Asters and Mums, so nice to have in the garden for the fall!

Asters and Mums, so nice to have in the garden in the fall!

After reading a post by Mr. Money Mustache (MMM) called The Low Information Diet, I was inspired to try to limit my use of Facebook, since I’m somewhat addicted to it, and to spend more of my time in activities, as opposed to past-times.
Ironically, the inspiration to change my habits comes not only from MMM but also from something I read on FB (thus the irony), which was about a study done on sitting. The results of the study were that too much sitting shortens your life expectancy. It stands to reason that sitting too much isn’t good for you, but mostly the prevailing wisdom has always been, “exercise more, it’s good for your health, it will improve your life span and quality of life.” but this was just, “Sitting too much is bad. Try getting up and doing. Take many breaks from sitting,” and other fairly easy suggestions like that. Somehow it struck a chord. I have never been consistent at exercising and that may always be an issue for me, but the idea that by simply getting up and moving around you can improve your life… and since you’re up how about doing the dishes you’ve been avoiding; doing the laundry; hanging up those pictures that have been stacked in your corner; organizing a closet that’s been driving you crazy; and today, instead of going on FB,  I decided to go out and put away my garden tools that got left out yesterday after my little ankle-twisting incident. While I was out there I thought I may as well plant the two little Mums I had bought recently. Finished planting just as the rain started in earnest. The weather was quite wild for awhile there, warm but windy and working itself up until it was raining quite hard. Great to be out planting during all that. I digress, but, this is a gardening blog after all… So, one activity leads to another, instead of allowing inertia to take over too easily.

Garden Bouquet

Garden Bouquet

I’m excited about this new habit forming in my life. Getting up when I notice I’ve been sitting too long. When I’m tempted to sit down, asking myself, is there anything I could do first? Those who are close to me, reading this, might say, “hmmm, I can’t say I’ve noticed any big change as yet”; but change has to start in your head. Sometimes, it takes awhile to progress to Stage 2, where people start to notice. This change may result in more writing, photographing and gardening in my life, at least until the snow flies and then there will be more posts like this…

Lasagna Method Fail

These are some of the roses I planted this year.It was attacked by blackspot but I hope for better next year!

These are some of the roses I planted this year. Still throwing out a couple of blooms!

Okay, the jury is still out, but I’m a little disappointed in the results (so far) of my lasagna method for ridding my front lawn of grass. As one reader put it, “you can cover up that grass with black tarp and red mulch and stones and it will still find a way to live!” Yes, thank you, Andrea, I am aware that grass is almost indestructible. I’ve seen “Planet Earth, The Great Plains”. Go ahead and watch it, you’ll realize that the struggle is futile!

I’ve seen a few blades of grass around the edges of my new garden beds, not surprisingly, but it’s the dandelions that are really alarming.  I’m not sure how they’re doing it, but dandelions are pushing their way out in random spots through the layers of biodegradable geo-textile, earth and mulch.  My only hope is to combat the little suckers in the spring by giving them lots of competition in the form of strong ground-cover and large-leafed shade plants that will steal their sun. I’m afraid to dig down deep through the layers now to get the tap roots, because that will put more holes in the geo-textile, thus letting more sun in and probably allowing more dandelions to surge through. I’m not giving up though, and I’ve already planted some golden ‘creeping jenny’ plants that are doing very well, and some other ground covers (bugleweed and stone crop sedum) plus a few dwarf purple irises.  In the spring I’ll do a ton of planting and build up the mulch again to keep the weeds to a minimum.  Keeping fingers firmly crossed!

Asters and Mums, so nice to have in the garden for the fall!

Asters and Mums, so nice to have in the garden for the fall!

I’m gradually getting my fall garden chores done. I’ve been lulled into the feeling that I can do it at a leisurely pace this year by the incredibly warm, dry weather we’ve been having. There’s no shaking off the sense of urgency that hovers in the background however.  There are lots of chores one can do just as well in the spring as in the fall (cutting back the dead flower stalks, fertilizing, new plantings, etc); but fall is really the best time to do certain jobs:

  • Dividing perennials; as long as you can get it done with a month or so to go before the first risk of hard frost.
  • Also, if you want to bring any of your deck plants in for the winter, it’s best to do it when the contrast between indoor and outdoor temperatures isn’t too great. That would be now! Spray them with a little insecticidal soap (put a tsp of liquid soap- not detergent- in a litre-sized spray bottle) before you bring them in, to get any insects that may be loitering on the leaves.
  • And of course, emptying the containers and cleaning them out in preparation for the spring is a nice favour to do for “future you”, and for the sake of your containers, which may crack if you leave them outside with potting soil in them all winter.
  • Another important chore is to water your young trees, cedars, and other bushes very well before the first hard frost so they don’t dry out.

I’m inside today because I turned my ankle on a paving stone on my way out to the Tranquil Garden. Bad timing, but at least it let me get a post done while I’m resting my foot, elevated and on an ice pack.  I wish you all better luck with day!  As a bonus, listen to a little Ella, with “Someone to Watch over Me”.

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