Posts Tagged ‘Fall Garden’

Garden Update: Cat Naps, Fairy Crossing, and Shades of Fall

The magic continues at our new place. The wonderful neighborhood cat, who so successfully shooed away the groundhogs and scents the garden whenever bunny nibbles get too big, has taken to napping with me, just outside the sliding glass door. Whenever I decide to take a quick BioMat snooze in the back room, I usually find something like this:

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or this: Continue reading

Flowers in November: Some Beauty on a Gorgeous Day

Getting back to more of the garden variety garden posts, here are some flowers still blooming today, plus a bouquet I made David’s mom this past Saturday.

Zinnias:

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Veronica:

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Cosmos and sedum:

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Mums and sweet alyssum:

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Saturday’s bouquet with blackeyed Susan’s, lavender, cosmos, sedum, zinnias, yarrow, foxglove, and bachelor’s buttons. We’ve also got wild violets, snapdragons, calendula, nasturtiums, and more still smiling in the yard — at least until this coming Friday’s hard frost. I enjoy it while I can!

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Blessed Be …

and be the blessing!

 

 

Autumn Beauty: Asters, Mums, Bouquets and Cocoa Spice Cake

Just a few pretties from the yard and kitchen:

mums-and-asters

On Friday, that bed above got an infusion of spring daffodils and giant hyacinths. Fortunately, an unusually late first frost has allowed the trough below to make up for its very late planting. We’ve enjoyed so much lettuce already, while the rest of the greens and mustard race the frost faeries.

fall-planted-crops

Although the temperatures are back up again, a cool weekend encouraged this experimental cocoa spice cake with chocolate ganache from the delightful cookbook, Afro Vegan. This one uses coconut milk and mashed avocado for creaminess, and with cayenne, ginger and nutmeg, it was, indeed, spicy enough to delight some foodie friends and their other guests:

cocoa-spice-cake

Bouquets abound:

last-weekends-bouquet

And here you can see Sunday’s flowers with Saturday’s cake:

sundays-flowers-with-saturdays-cake

Wishing everyone a glorious week!

‘Twas the Weekend ‘Fore Autumn

The Weekend ‘Fore Autumn

 

‘Twas the weekend ‘fore Autumn and all through the yard,

All the plants were a’thriving, including the chard.

 

The bees dined on asters; the cushaw had grown.

The mums nearly bursting, the yard freshly mown.

 

Thai basil hummed purple; eggplants danced in the breeze–

The garden so fragrant, it drew many a sneeze!

 

Sweet potato vines covered the sides of the trough,

And on sedum and zinnias, butterflies sipped on and off.

 

For the first time in years, the holly had berries.

Boltonia blossoms delighted the faeries.

 

As Fall Equinox split the light and the dark,

Those flowers all giggled at anything stark.

 

The Robinhood roses had been blooming since June–

So hard to believe ‘twould be Halloween soon!

 

Garden Update and Haus am See

Colette from Bealtaine Cottage has a newer, private blog for 12 Euros per year, to which I happily subscribe. Late in September, she shared a post called, “Tolerating the Intolerable!” The post discusses how the traditional medical industry treats depression with drugs instead of suggesting people address why they feel depressed. In many cases, the causes are obvious, and depression an appropriate response to intolerable conditions. Colette also shares the healing power of Nature, giving examples of how Nature acts like the balm of Gilead.

I left a comment there, since these last few weeks have felt like such a removal of the intolerable here in Goshen. Expanding lush gardens into the yard next door, creating a sacred office, classroom and potluck space with two guestrooms and then witnessing all the many guests wandering, delighted, in the gardens feels like a reclamation of several magnitudes on all levels. Here’s the comment I left on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, followed by this week’s photos in the gardens:

“It’s so very true! When we first moved to this area with its factories, poverty, patriarchal religions and broken land, I found it so depressing — especially the first winter. It hurt my soul to leave our home, because it was just so ugly. When the first spring came, I got to work on the garden and was able to justify all the time, money and effort I poured into it because it was “still cheaper and far more effective than therapy.” Now, our yard is a balm to the soul, not just for me, but for everyone who visits. It’s not anywhere near “done” in terms of rejuvenation projects, and planting, but the absence of Nature can itself cause severe depression. In that case, the only true antidote IS Nature! And my, how She heals — even those who didn’t realize they needed healing. 🙂 Thanks and blessings! XXX”

People who know our house and garden as “Faery Hof” have asked if I’ve named the Blue House next door. Actually, David did. We call it the “Haus am See,” from this song:

Yes, it’s in German, and David (who speaks fluent German and Dutch) translates the lyrics idiomatically to describe this imaginary lake house at the end of the street, which magically transforms mundane life into ideal, happy times full of community. The light blue color and our friend Jerry’s comment that the gardens “are the Goshen equivalent of beachfront property” gave David the idea. We’ve loved and referenced this song since Madison. Like the song’s sometimes paradoxical lyrics, the garden has shown some unusual time overlays, just like in the Faery Realm, in which everything buds, blooms, leafs and fruits all at once. Take this forsythia, for example, dressed in summer green, fall purple, and the yellow flowers of spring:

forsythia

Out back, we’ve got heat loving okra finally blooming now that it’s cold outside, plus summer watermelon ripening alongside nasturtiums and an aronia bush turning scarlet for fall:

watermelon

Basically, everything’s still explosively lush:

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front yard

The front porch and dining room of Haus am See overlook the front yard winding paths. We had dinner guests the other night as payment for helping us move the former office’s futon into the new accommodations, and we all sat with the door open, enjoying the views and breeze:

from blue house porch

Even the backsides of the raised beds out back continue to overflow:

raised bed

malabar spinach and friends

Today is David’s mom’s birthday, but his sister, nephew, dad, David and I all celebrated with her last night. I brought a pint of raspberries from the yard and David got us vegan chocolate ice cream and regular chocolate ice cream for the others. David’s mom gets weekly or twice weekly bouquets from me all season, flowers permitting, but yesterday’s was extra special. As I wandered the yard picking different zinnias, a honeybee decided to sip from each flower in the bouquet, dining for the full half hour it took me to choose and arrange the blooms:

birthday bouquet

This week one of my favorite garden helpers ensured I finished two long standing projects. The herb spiral out back near the horseshoe shaped asparagus beds is now built and filled, though not yet planted:

herb spiral

After months of two giant loads of compost, the front yard next door finally has its witch hazel planted for very, very early spring color, two holly bushes transplanted under the windows, a climbing rose transplanted under the trellis, and areas now composted and marked out for various ornamental fruit bushes and bulbs. Lots and lots of bulbs! It still needs mulching, and transplanting of a privet hedge for the far right border:

blue house

It really is a joy to watch visitors wander around the paths and commune with butterflies, squirrels, rabbits, bees and other garden residents.

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To complete the enchanted garden vibe, the fairy tale pumpkins are growing huge this year:

fairy tale pumpkins

Last Saturday, I hosted our Autumnal Wheel of the Year celebration at Haus am See, and, I felt so grateful for the community and our honoring of all the seasons. Earlier that day, a different gardener in training helped me remove spent garden plants and pokeweed in preparation for Monday’s refuse pickup. I usually compost things, but poke takes forever to break down, and those berries are prolific. I’ll let the city deal with those, mixed with plenty of chicken poo to heat through the seeds. As we pieced away at the overgrown poke, I felt an ache in my stomach I’ve not felt since April. It hit me that all this lushness will soon shrivel under frost and lay dormant until next year. I’d spent the past few weeks in complete denial of this beautiful, prolific garden season coming to a close, so that evening’s quiet ritual, good company, and huge vegan potluck helped ease the transition.

Of course, I’ve been researching and gradually planting year round color, and I remind myself that next spring’s bulbs will come earlier and more prolifically than ever before. Faery Hof and Haus am See are far from finished, but the Nature and community they provide on all levels continue to amaze and delight David, me and others. The local soup kitchen will receive over a hundred pounds of green striped cushaw squash from me this year, plus collards, collards, collards out the wazoo. The garden has also allowed me to cater most classes with meals made from fresh, homegrown produce, and it has provided bags and bags of produce to friends, little old ladies, friends of little old ladies, potlucks, and dinners galore for the generous people who’ve helped us in various ways this summer and beyond.

Not to mention two full freezers of raspberries, summer squash and tomatoes. From intolerable to wonderful. If it can happen here, truly, it can happen anywhere.

Blessed Be!

Seed Savers Exchange: Fall Planting

Here’s some excellent information about fall planting. The narrator is in Iowa, zone 4b; however, you can look up your own average first frost date to determine what to plant or not. Hint: quick growing crops that like cool soil are key.

Mount Mulchmore and the Cold Frame “Skirt”

I had finally whittled down our fifth huge pile of wood chips to perhaps one or two afternoons’ work. After a long day of sessions and calls to volunteers for our local food security week events (which have turned into two weeks of events!), I walked outside to get the mail. Dale, the man building our next door neighbors’ two new porches, cracked up as he watched my jaw drop and heard a loud cry escape my throat. This is the scene that greeted me:

Mount Mulchmore: wood ships on the left, shredded leaves on the right

Mount Mulchmore: wood ships on the left, shredded leaves on the right

I really did almost break into tears right then and there, because I had completely forgotten about asking the man who maintains the apartments on the other side of us to dump a huge pile of leaves “anytime this Fall.” Ohhhhh, man! Have I mentioned I’m actually looking forward to Winter? 😉 Anyway, in sighing about this huge pile of extra work to David’s mom, she explained to me that the leaves came from their yard and to “take good care of them.” We joked about her helping me move them, but through the joking I learned that in all seriousness, the guy who maintains the apartments’ yard also maintains David’s parents’ yard, and he specially mulched them for better gardening use. Sure enough, when I returned home and mustered enough courage to inspect the leaves, they were well chopped and already clumped. Since I had just the day prior to delivery said to David, “I really need some leaves for the raised beds!” I can’t complain. “Ask and you shall receive” is seriously evident in my life these days. Almost immediately so.

Yesterday, the “Bed Bed” (a repurposed Sleep Number bed frame) got a couple inches of compost and several inches of leaves:

mulched bed bed

Once I realized that I could use whatever leaves I want now and then bag them up for another round in Spring, I relaxed about the work. It’s windy! Not the best time for figuring out where to put all these leaves. Plus, I have a wood mulch clearance deadline of early next week, so this will work out just fine. Rotted leaves made excellent mulch this Spring, keeping our beds moist and dandelion-free. The plants really love all the nutrients from the leaves as they begin to break down. While cleaning up the Bed Bed, I harvested this giant green onion I had replanted from the store this Summer:

Giant Green Onion and Messa Greens

We had the white part of the onion last night in a homemade spaghetti sauce David made from some Farmers Market peppers, homegrown tomatoes (fresh, dehydrated, frozen puree with oregano), and co-op mushrooms, served over peeled zucchini “fettucini.” Um, wow! David makes the best sauce and soups! (I’m sure all the fresh, local, organic produce doesn’t hurt, either.)

spaghetti

Meanwhile, back in the yard, David was also the master engineer for errant, flying cold frames. Ours is now expertly anchored on all four corners, plus it has a 4-tarp “skirt” to block those nasty drafts that can damage plants even more than snow or frost. Did you know that snow is actually an effective winter mulch for cold hardy plants? “Four-Season Harvest” by Eliot Coleman will tell you all about that and more. Anyway, it’s not the prettiest thing we’ve ever seen, but it has stayed in place despite our crazy Northern Indiana gusts:

Cold frame skirt

In the back, you can see a repurposed sheer shower curtain protecting my tree collards until I figure out what to do with them. They were some of our favorite eating this year, but they’re not hardy in Zone 5b unless you can get them buried and majorly mulched. Ours haven’t re-rooted yet, so I’m a bit nervous to smother them. Mr. Gnome kindly oversees the whole shower curtain operation, carrying fire wood just in case those plants need a bit of extra warmth:

Mr. Gnome

Our rosemary also got “fleeced” last night, and it will continue to do so until Yours Truly gets motivated enough to dig it up and pot it inside for the Winter. Poor, non-cold-hardy rosemary. If only you weren’t so pretty and delicious smelling, you wouldn’t need to look so silly:

Rosemary fleece

In the background — above — you can see another raised bed happily leaf mulched. Look at those calendula go!

Calendula flowers, ruby chard, French sorrel, parsley, oregano and kale ... one diverse, happy family

Calendula flowers, ruby chard, French sorrel, parsley, oregano and kale … one diverse, happy family

Inside, I’ve got tarragon and chocolate mint drying alongside a Lone Alaskan Pea Pod! (I planted those too late in the season, in a spot too shaded by my crazy huge lemongrass plant, and I’m sorry to say, I’ve completely neglected watering them for weeks. That we have any peas is a miracle. We have more growing, but I doubt they’ll handle this week’s cold temps.)

Chocolate Mint, Tarragon and the Lone Alaskan Pea

According Eliot Coleman, fresh peas from the garden are enough reason in and of themselves to justify an entire season of gardening. I guess we’ll see about that tonight! Acorn squash, the Lone Alaskan Pea Pod, and a whole messa greens. Mmmmmmm, can’t wait. I do love fresh food and pretty flowers. LOL, can you tell?