Sunday, September 26, 2021

Finally feels like fall

Besides cooler temps, we received a fair amount of rain. Today is sunny and mild, but we are expecting some more hottish weather this week.

I haven't done much this week in the yard except prepare for the window installers. My daughter deemed the pruning my SO and I did on the mugo as insufficient, so my son-in-law helped remove more (most) of it, using a reciprocating saw. I would never have thought of using that tool, but he was able to cut the trunks very close to the ground. I also whacked at the false indigo that was blocking the front walk, dragged containers and hoses out of the way, etc.

BTW, the new windows look *great*. The house was built with wood casement windows that were a mess, so I replaced them with double hungs about 20 years ago. These were the kind that tilted in for cleaning, but I never really liked them. So it is back to casements, this time vinyl. The installation is almost done; there is some sill replacement that needs to be done, plus new wraps. I am becoming convinced that wood is great inside, not so much outside.

` I am giving the indoor herb garden another try. One basil and two parsley plants in handmade pots. Of course, I didn't make note of the herb varieties, but the pots are crafted by Dowidat Ceramics.

This is the week for my shoulder replacement surgery. I obviously will not be able to garden for a while, but I am stocked up on books and jigsaw puzzles to keep me from being too bored. And there is always TV as a last resort.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Still feels like August

I needed to buy some oversized t-shirts for post-surgery wear. Initially, I was aiming for long-sleeved, but I just can't imagine it will be much cooler by then (and WeatherBug agrees). Ditto pants - I'm sticking with shorts for now.

The 'Claire Grace' monarda arrived from Bluestone Perennials along with a backordered 'F21 Jackmanii' clematis. I chose this variety of monarda because it is supposed to be more tolerant of dry conditions, which describes the bed along the south side of the house to a T. I can't plant it yet, though, as new windows are to be installed late next week.

The Jackmanii is destined for a container. It's rather tiny right now. I assume there won't be much top growth this fall, so the pot can overwinter in the garage. In fact, it can probably overwinter in the garage forever, after being pruned in late fall.

Speaking of clematis, the Clematis Paniculata is blooming a bit. It's in a container as well, will be pruned later on and overwinter in the garage. This variety can be invasive, especially in southern climes, but the winters here are usually severe enough to kill off the seeds.

The goal of these two clematis plants is to cover the pergola. Maybe this experiment will work out. (Fingers crossed.)

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Purple dogs

One recent day I needed to do *something* outside, so I knocked down a bunch of volunteer pokeweed but did not clear it out of the yard. Now the dogs run through it, chasing rabbits, and come out with purple streaks on their backs. One of Watson's collars, the one with all the tags, is out there somewhere. I have not been able to locate it.

We are now allowed to resume backyard bird feeding, after cleaning feeders and birdbaths with a 10% bleach solution. (I have no bleach right now. Who knew it has an expiration date?) They still haven't figured out what caused all the songbird deaths, but the crisis seems to have passed on its own.

This summer is endless. Just when I think we are done with the heat, a series of 80+ degree days descends. And it has been dry. Hot and dry is not normal for September in these parts. I'm tempted to tear out the annuals, but hummingbirds and monarchs still visit. At least the lawn has slowed down.

In about two weeks, I will have a total shoulder replacement. I'm both looking forward to and dreading that. It will mean reduced pain and improved functionality, but not right away. Recovery is slower than it is with hip replacement, but I'm hoping I will be just as happy with the end results.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Much better

Sean from Sanctuary Native Landscapes spent two hours touring my yard while we discussed what was there, what to get rid of, what to keep, etc. In a nutshell, we are simpatico. He confessed that one of his favorite things is eliminating invasives. Good-bye, trumpet vine and pokeweed and Canada thistle and mulberry! He also loves trees, the more the merrier. I'm eager to see what design he comes up with. Then we can start implementing it in phases.

The weather has improved, too, with lower temps and even some rain here and there. The summer perennials are fading, but the annuals and asters keep things colorful. And the coleus.

I'm not really shaped like that!

This county is still on a bird-feeding moratorium. About the only birds I see these days are goldfinch and hummingbirds. The latter will be heading south soon.

There is an interesting article by Margaret Roach in the New York Times about ecological horticulture and how fall planting works within that mode. At Brooklyn Bridge Park, they have eliminated almost all spring planting in favor of fall planting, which not only favors the plants, soil, and animals, but is also labor- and water-saving. I hope you are able to view those articles - I'm not sure if they are behind a paywall - because they are eye-opening.