‘Fall back’ is Garden Cleanout Time

Not all of the ideas I had for my garden this year actually happened, but each flowerbed had its time to shine. My job as a part-time baker has caused this old gal no small shortage in the energy department too. I typically think of several tasks I want to do in the garden on my way home from work, but most days I somehow end up in my comfy chair in the living room with my tired feet up.

I do try to get a few gardening tasks checked off my to-do list on my days off — even if it’s a finished task noticed by myself alone, it feels good to accomplish something. This weekend’s efforts resulted in many spent plants being cut back or pulled out and added to the city’s compost heap, several flowerpots emptied, and the front porch swept clean. I decided to be finished with covering plants whenever there is a frost warning and just let nature take its course. So I’ve been bringing a few of my favorite plants in before the killing frost so that I can attempt to overwinter them and replant them in the spring. A favorite pink pelargonium got scooped out of its summer pot and planted in its own pot. I doused it thoroughly with Neem oil and kept the digging on my 3-season porch before placing it on my kitchen windowsill for the winter. It must be happy because there are several new buds.

My pelargonium in its winter home, happily rewards my effort with a pink blossom

I also dug up quite a few of my spent peacock orchids (which I wrote about here) and am drying them out a bit before harvesting the rhizomes and storing them for the winter. I’ve never done that before, so am relying on YouTube tutorials for guidance . We’ll see how that goes.

Likewise, I dug up the rhizomes from a favorite calla lily my daughter gave me for Mother’s Day. I’m going to make a valiant, Pinterest-inspired attempt to create some new divisions from the rhizomes. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I took some cuttings from several very happy Livingstone Daisies (a.k.a. ice-plants) which spent their summer spilling out of the pots on my front porch. I snipped a few of the best stems to water-root, but also scooped a healthy-looking clump out of one of the pots, trimmed it back, and repotted it in fresh potting soil, as I have read somewhere that it can be kept as a succulent houseplant. I gave that plant a dousing with Neem oil to kill any bugs attempting to hitch-hike their way into my house. After a few days of transition from the chilly outdoors to my slightly warmer porch, I brought it indoors and gave it a place of honor on a family room window-seat which receives a generous amount of indirect light. I wrote its name on a plant stake because I can never remember what it’s called.

Also coming in from the nippy outdoors were a few of my succulent groupings, a languishing sansevieria plant, and two plants given to me by Melinda, my friend who enjoys playing in the dirt in Louisiana: an ‘Angel Wing Begonia’ (a.k.a. porch begonia) and a plumeria.

My Sansevieria (a.k.a. ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’ or ‘snake plant’) got a little scorched during some extremely hot weather during its annual foray on the front porch. I dug it out of the pot it’s been in for years, teased the roots apart and salvaged a tiny bit of the original plant. I filled the pot with new potting soil, then added a few different varieties of Sansevieria I purchased at a local nursery to add some interest. It now resides in our ‘Gathering Room’ in a spot nearest an east-facing window, but also benefiting from indirect light from a nearby south-facing window. I am trying not to overwater it, as I am prone to do, and hoping it will reward me with vigorous growth.

My garden frog came in for the winter too…and look what he brought with him!

We set our clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night — a precursor to shortened gardening hours and the winter months ahead. That’s okay though. One of the blessings of living in Wisconsin is being able to tuck the flowerbeds under a blanket of snow for a winter’s nap and the gardener’s respite. It’s the season for thumbing through garden journals and seed catalogues in order to make plans for next year’s garden. But, before I get too cozy, I need to check one more thing off my to-do list:

Plant lots of tulip bulbs!

So, until next Saturday when my post will hopefully include a report of all my tulip bulbs being planted, that’s my Six for this Saturday. To see other SOS posts, visit our host at  http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

Datura ‘Black Currant Swirl’

I planted D. metel ‘Black Currant Swirl’ earlier this summer hoping that it would become a tall and showy feature in the middle of my late summer garden. One of its nicest features are its flowers – pretty bell or trumpet shaped flowers in super-swirly shades of purple and white. The flowers are up-facing, rather than pendulous like the more commonly known ‘Angel’s Trumpet,’ a cousin in the closely related brugmansia family.

So, what’s not to like about Datura?

Well, for one thing, the entire plant is poisonous – leaves, flowers, seeds and all. For another, this plant does not have a pleasant aroma. The tag said something about gardeners praising it for its “night-blooming beauty and fragrance”. I guess I’m not hanging out in the garden late enough in the evening to catch a whiff of its beauty or its purportedly sweet fragrance because, to me, it has the aroma of dirty sweat socks. (Trust me, I’m a mom and an expert at sniffing down that odor.)

This plant sprouts walnut-sized green balls with knobby purple spikes, each fruit containing hundreds of seeds. Very poisonous seeds, so I’ve read. I have also read that it’s wise to remove the seed pods before maturity because they tend to self-seed and can become invasive…and the seeds can be viable for years to come.

Oh, great! Just what I need – another “invasive” in my garden. Hold on a sec while I don a pair of gloves and head outside armed with my trusty snippers.

There! I’m back. The surgery has been performed.

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m not sure I like this plant as a whole. I had such great expectations it would become a show-stopping centerpiece in my front yard’s most visible flowerbed.

Our two person jury is at an impasse. My husband really likes it. He thinks its cool and wants us to keep it. Me? Well, maybe it’ll grow on me, but I think it’s just ‘kinda meh’ and taking up valuable garden real estate . I’m thinking I’d be happier with another hibiscus strutting its late summer stuff in that spot.

‘Tie Dye’ Hibiscus (rose mallow) growing by the front door

Any thoughts or suggestions from my fellow gardeners?

Sorry, only five photos this week, but that’s it for my Six on Saturday. If you are a gardener (or just like to play in the dirt), you should really pop on over to our Six on Saturday host Jon’s blog “The Propagator”. You’ll find all sorts of gardens to tour with just a click, lots of inspiration, and collective wisdom from gardeners around the world – each sharing six things from their garden on Saturdays (unless they’re perpetually late bloggers like me).

Six on Saturday: Awaiting Spring

I’m joining The Propagator and his entourage of Six On Saturday gardeners for a little six-photo tour of what’s going on in the garden. It’s a fun little adventure. So put on your boots, come along with me, and let’s take a peek at what’s going on in my garden!

Continue reading “Six on Saturday: Awaiting Spring”

Six on Saturday: Goodbye August

While there’s still beauty to be found if I look hard enough, the garden is definitely winding down.

Honestly, the older I get the faster the calendar pages turn. I feel like I just said “hello” to August and now it’s nearly gone.

It’s been hot and dry lately. So dry that we’ve set out our sprinklers to give the thirsty lawn and gardens a little drink. We get a little tease of rain here and there, but it mostly just skirts around us. The last “almost rain” we got looked like it would be a doozy, but it was just a lot of wind and thunder, with narely a drop of rain. But, that weather front did push our hot weather out and paved the way for cooler, fall-like weather – perfect for cleaning out flowerbeds.

While there’s still beauty to be found if I look hard enough, the garden is definitely winding down. I could run around trying to get snapshots of some of the pretty stuff that’s hanging on for dear life, but thought I’d share a few of this season’s favorite garden helpers.

This gardening stool was on my Amazon giftlist. My daughter and family bought it for me as a Christmas gift. I love its simple design – sturdy and stable. It’s lightweight, yet durable. Depending upon which way you flip it, you can be seated at 9″, 12″ or 15″. Best of all, I can just hose it down to clean it up.

I think I probably use this little “Corona CT3740 eGrip Hoe/Cultivator” nearly every day during gardening season. It’s a great weed cultivator, hole digger, clod-breaker, furrow digger, can’t-do-without gardening hand tool. Hubby ordered it for me from Amazon, where you can purchase it for less than $12.

This repurposed mailbox helps me stay focused on gardening tasks in the backyard. With a fresh coat of paint and a just for fun bit of artsy embellishment (it was originally used as a prop for a skit), it houses a few handtools and a pair of gardening gloves. No more running to the garage, then being distracted by something else along my scatter-brained way.

Oh, and let me introduce you to the hardest working garden helper I have – my husband of 44 years, Wayne. Along with a never ending list of household projects, he’s been busy this summer ticking things off my garden to-do list, including replacing and leveling flagstones on my garden path.

Today’s project finds him busy cleaning a summer’s worth of cottonwood fluff and other plant debris and critter mess from our air-conditioning unit. Projects, to name just a few, have included rebuilding two of our raised garden beds, building birdhouses for me to paint, emptying and moving a compost bin, digging plants from here and moving them to there, and doing his level best to be a blessing to his wife. Seriously, what would I do without him?

Okay, room for one more “pretty” as my garden bids August adieu.

Pretty garden partners – Sedum ‘Maestro’ and good ol’ fashioned Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta)

There are my six, my gardening friends. Many thanks to The Propagator for hosting this weekly garden show ‘n tell.

Grow Write Repeat

Garden writing lifts me up.

Charisse Compton

Charisse Compton's Blog

OnlineGardenTools

Your best garden tools and tutorials.

Whole by Faith

Honoring God every day.

Gardening in the Prairie

I found myself living and gardening in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Devotions by Sheila

by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6 ASV

Know Stuff

Good Stuff to Know

Little Pieces Of Me

Everyone Has Something To Teach Us

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

M.B. HENRY

Following the Path to the Past

Home is Where the Boat Is

Potting, Puttering & Pontooning

Dad it's Liam

My carer story on Alzheimers (Dementia) to help and support others going through it

Reflections of Love ❤️

A daughters journey with her mom having alzheimers and dementia.