Thursday, October 26
Perfect Fall Day
After reading about the "Perfect Fall Days" that so many other garden bloggers have enjoyed recently... I finally got one myself! It's around 50 degrees with just a little wind and lots of sunshine here today. The sky is a bright pale blue befitting autumn in Ohio, and the crisp earthiness of fallen leaves scents the air.
I couldn't take advantage of the glorious weather quite as much as I wanted, though. I have lasagna beds to put down and mulch to sling, but I sprained my ankle Monday playing in an upper intermediate volleyball league. (Coming down from a block and discovering your teammate's foot underneath yours is never a good thing.) I'm usually not very good about taking care of my injuries--stubborn, and all that--but I also had spring bulbs to plant in the front beds, so that helped keep me from getting into too much trouble.
I planted about 25 small frittilaries, most of them around 'Bressingham Ruby' bergenias and 'Purple Knockout' salvia lyratas to help them show up in the spring. 36 'White Emporer' tulips, 18 'Princess Irene' and 'Avignon' orange tulips, and 8 double black 'Hero' tulips rounded out my planting.
The black tulips were hard to site, as I wanted them to have light-colored foliage around them as foils. However, I found that the golden sages, golden oreganos, and variegated lemon thymes were almost too close to the edges of the beds to help much. The white tulips were a little easier to place. They are early tulips and I used about half of them around the area that the crambe maritima (sea kale) takes up in the front bed. The crambe is slow to show up in the spring, so by the time it pushes its dark, alien-like sprouts up and out of the ground the White Emporers will be dying back.
My garden assistant merely supervised while I worked, as bulb planting is a little beyond her abilities. She used to dig some when she was a puppy--and I set aside a special area for that at the old house to keep both of us happy--but at the ripe old age of 5-1/2 she seems to think that getting dirt under her fingernails is beneath her.
Coco is very good, however, at a variety of gardening tasks. She chases pests (squirrels and chipmunks) out of the yard regularly. She prunes, but only selectively and with questionable aesthetics... for example, she seems to think that lemongrass looks best at 6-8 inches in height.
Where she really, um, helps me out is in the harvesting. During our first two years together, she picked and ate the first few ripe tomatoes out of the veggie garden--wasn't that nice of her, to let me know they were ready to eat? My ex-husband laughed in the spring of year 3 when I announced that she was banned from the back yard until further notice while my first 'Early Girl' finished ripening. I really don't mind when she eats tomatoes out of the garden, I just prefer that the "head gardener" gets the first one!
It was especially nice to be able to spend the afternoon in the yard, and with the dog, because I'll be away from both for the next four days. I'm going to New Jersey to meet my boyfriend's extended family and see the town where he grew up. No time to see Old Roses' favorite public gardens at Rutgers while I'm in NJ, or even take a trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens that Xris showed off earlier this summer at Flatbush Gardener when their corpse flower bloomed--sadly, it will be too short of a trip.
I am going to bring my digital camera, though, and might have something interesting to blog when I return. Brian wants to show me one of his favorite spots in the nearby Allamuchy State Forest if my ankle feels good enough to allow me to walk there... and you never know what beauty you might find in a state nicknamed The Garden State!