Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Other peoples words for the end of September

"September: it was the most beautiful of words, he’d always felt, evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret."
-   Alexander Theroux, 1981

" 'I grow old, I grow old,' the garden says.  It is nearly October.  The bean leaves grow paler, now lime, no yellow, no leprous, dissolving before my eyes.  The pods curl and do not grow, turn limp and blacken.  The potato vines wither and the tubers huddle underground in their rough weather-proof jackets, waiting to be dug.  The last tomatoes ripen and split on the vine; it takes days for them to turn fully now, and a few of the green ones are beginning to fall off."
-   Robert Finch

"The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook,

From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

 By all these lovely tokens
 September days are here,
 With summer's best of weather,
 And autumn's best of cheer.

 But none of all this beauty
 Which floods the earth and air
 Is unto me the secret
 Which makes September fair.

T'is a thing which I remember;
To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget."
-  Helen Hunt Jackson, September 
"Shine on, shine on harvest moon
Up in the sky,
I ain't had no lovin'
Since January, February, June or July
Sno Time ain't no time to stay
Outdoors and spoon,
So shine one, shine on harvest noon
For me and my gal."

-  By Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth, 1903

"Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh so mellow
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain so yellow
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a young and a callow fellow
Try to remember and if you remember
Then follow--follow, oh-oh." 
Try to Remember, Lyrics by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Look Wabbit tracks!

This is what happens when you lower your guard:

Bunnies. Dirty rotten nasty Baptisia eating rodents. Of course it is all my fault. I removed the bunny-proof barrier. Who knew they would eat the mature shoots? Darn them wascally wabbits!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Watching grass grow

Well the autumn equinox was yesterday and we're are officially in fall. It does not look much like fall around here yet though there are some early signs. One fall activity we never do, until now, is some lawn care. I am not much of a lawn lover. I do appreciate it under my bare feet and my bottom and of course cool green is comforting on the eyes. But I don't feel the need to get out there and make my far from perfect lawn a perfect lawn to keep up with the neighbours. Besides I am getting rather good at identifying the weeds in the lawn (black medic and dandelions are the worst culprits). Our city recently implemented a new pesticide bylaw banning the use of many herbicides and pesticides for the home owner, so I foresee many more lawns that will look like mine in the future.

Having said all that, hubby and I decided to do some lawn improvements this fall. The lawn is quite bumpy and uneven and since hubby is the lawn mower in the family (and a push mower at that) the lawn needs some care to help make the mowing easier. So the soil order arrived and I purchased the eco lawn grass seed. We have used this seed before and I am quite happy with it. The new seed mixtures includes primarily fescue grasses. They have a nice fine blade, grow slowly and therefore require less frequent mowing, and tolerate dry periods better. This grass has remained green in mid August when other lawns are going brown. So here are a couple of photos of week old grass:

Look at that will ya

Can you see the morning dew?

A growing concern of mine is our grub problem. The last few years the Japanese beetle has really eaten up my roses and this year they went after our young birch trees. There are also the telltale signs of digging in the lawn by various larger pests. I had planned to apply nematodes this fall but with the seeding of the lawn my plans are out the window. I couldn't figure out a) if we apply some nematodes now or wait till the spring. And, b) if I did it this fall do we apply them before the seeding or after or what? Can these two activities be juggled simultaneously and if so how? Since it is getting late to apply the nematodes this year I guess I will wait until the spring, but I may have the same dilemma then. So if anyone has some input please write in with your suggestions.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Last of the Summer Flowers

    Getting towards the end of summer is kind of bitter sweet for me. I look forward to summer and its warm sunny days for months and then before you know it it's over. If you have been following, you would have some inkling that hot humid summers are not for me. As I have said I'm a 26 C with a nice breeze kind of gal. So when fall is poking its nose around the corner I welcome it with open arms. For most Canadians, fall means warm/cool sunny days. It means there is a slight nip in the air, a sweater on your back and a cup of something hot in your hands while sitting on the patio listening to the neighborhood. It means leaves of yellow, orange, burnt umber, red, burgundy and green. But I don't mean to push. I can wait and I will do so. Not everyone is ready.

So that brings me back to the last of the summer flowers in my garden.


Woodland aster

Blue-stemmed goldenrod


Sweet Autumn Clematis

Also hello to some sedums, new york asters, switch grass and the colouring foliage of Sweet Henry Itea. Farewell to the troopers helianthus, cup plant, shasta daisies, black eyed susans, coneflowers, Rozanne geraniums, gaura and phlox.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I think it is Verticillium Wilt

 Dead leaves and 2 tomatoes
Last year the tomatoes had blight, this year I think it is Verticillium Wilt. One day the plants looked good, then the leaves drooped, started to get dark spots and then the next thing you know the whole plant looks dead. However, the tomatoes continued to mature on the vine.
The plants were not in the same bed from last year to this one. Brand new bed brand new plants. And it's only the second year of growing vegetables. We must have the tomato curse. 
Who really knows what is in their soil?



Friday, September 3, 2010

Berried plants

Two wonderful herbaceous plants I have are American Spikenard (Aralia racemosa) and Baneberry (Actea pachypoda). Both flower in summer and fruit now. In both cases the berries are considered poisonous. They both seem to be pest free (if you don't count racoons knocking the baneberries over), never mildew and come back reliably every year. 

American spikenard - a relative of Sarsaparilla

This is one of two plants and is the smaller at two feet tall. The other gets more sun and is close to five feet tall 
and wide.

Baneberries can have red fruit or white fruit. I have tried many times to buy the red fruited one but it always turns out to be white. These are also very difficult to propagate. They don't seem to do it own their own, and collecting mature fruit to clean and sow with stratification is not working for me at all. The white berries are affectionately called "Doll's eyes".

Doll's eyes