Sunday, October 29, 2006

Cutting Disaster

Garden Help! Cutting Disaster. The impatiens cuttings are beginning to die off. If you can see it on the picture (click to enlarge) there are tiny white dots on the good-looking plant on the left. Eventually, I assume, it will get to look like the plant on the right. I plan to spray again today with the baking soda solution (see Oct. 16 post). The coleus cuttings don't seem to be affected. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

On a brighter note - the Halloween topiary arrangement was made at the monthly flower arranging class at Patti's Petals on Third Street in Bethlehem. The class is great fun and, despite my lack of talent, produces a really nice take-home arrangement.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

End of Season Color. Mum's are great this time of year. I've had trouble from time to time with their longevity. Here's another one that seems almost indistructible - Chrysanthemum koreamun 'single Apricot' Garden Mum. It grows in my garden under a dogwood tree. I pinch it back until about the end of May and prop it up with 20" vynl fencing but it still flops a bit and spreads more every year. I know I'll have some to give away next year. The daisy-like flowers are a great show.

My cousin, Dave, dropped by yesterday and agreed to take some of the canna rhizomes. There are plenty more for the asking. He's going to share some of his "perennial sunflowers". He said they get about 8' tall & are covered from bottom to top with yellow flowers in fall. I can't wait to see what they do in my garden.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Organic gardening and patience. Long ago I developed an iterest in gardening at my grandmother's side. Grammy was a widow with seven children. She never used chemicals because, even if she could find them back then, she wouldn't have had the money to buy them. Her garden was always beautiful. When she amended the soil with compost or coffee grounds, or tea leaves, she knew it would take a while to see a difference. No matter - that was just gardening.

With this wonderful memory I've tried to eliminate chemicals from the garden. I use a LOT of compost & mulch (which is free from the city of Bethlehem!) I still use some chemicals but I catch slugs with beer, put coffee grounds around some shrubs, spray bugs off with water, try to eliminate scale and fungus with a baking soda/soap solution (1 gal. water, 2 tbs. baking soda, little dish soap - insecticidal soap would be better but I never seem to get around to buying any).

In this day of instant gratification, it's hard to have the patience to wait for results. But it is well worth the effort. It took three years to eliminate the scale from the euonymous - I'm still working on the clay soil from the garage construction.

Doug Green has a wonderful web site to help eliminate chemicals as well as offer helpful gardening tips. Check it out and sign up for his newsletter.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Free Canna Rhizomes. This weekend I pulled all the cannas. They were great this summer (and complimented the yellow coneflower). I got the originals from a friend of my daughter last year. I was surprised at the size - more like large yams! Last year I planted them and ended the summer with quite a pile.

I kept them in a plastic container with peat moss in the garage all last winter. If I saw condensation on the top of the container I opened the cover for a while. I replanted them along the garage in May and they were gorgeous all summer.

When I dug them up this year the rhizomes had MULTIPLIED A LOT. I now have triple the amount that I need. As the picture shows the amount of rhizomes will never fit in the container. If anyone wants some free canna rhizomes, let me know!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Intense Colors of Late Summer. As I begin to put the garden to bed in early fall by pulling up some spent annuals, taking cuttings, bringing plants in and emptying pots, I can't help but notice the brilliant colors of the flowers in bloom. The cool nights, sunny days & adequate rainfall seem to bring out deep colors. The marigolds, impatiens and clome as well as the mums and asters seem to glow.

October is almost as busy as May - trimming, rooting cuttings, potting, storing, organizing, mulching - even some weeding and watering. I try to do a little each day (some days it's VERY little). I have never had luck dividing plants in fall so I'll wait until spring to divide the liriope, daylillies and a few others. Eventually, I will have to spend an entire day in the garden as the changing weather gets ahead of me.

Then there are the Fall distractions. The Celtic Classic in Bethlehem was a blast - music and food everwhere. The athletic competitions were amazing especially the popular Caber Toss. The weekend weather was perfect for an outdoor party. Then there is a Breast Cancer walk, farm tours and wine tasting on Main Street. I'll have to keep moving.