General Seediness

The humidity and heat are gone, only to be replaced by on again off again sunshine alongside a repeating dose of rain.  Yay.  I won’t even try and convince myself summer is holding on.  The calendar says fall and I guess the garden is saying it as well this year.

weedy vegetable garden

The potager is now an overgrown seedy mess of lingering flowers and floppy overgrowth.

We had company for a week and then I had the pleasure of entertaining a head cold for the following weekend, so if the general decay of the season wasn’t enough then the two weeks of neglect probably did the trick.  A few things did happen though, so I guess any attempt by the gardener to keep his head above water is a plus.

amaranthus hopi dye

The hedge was trimmed.  As usual I love it, and of course it’s inspired me to edge and mulch as well.

Before I get too rushed in putting this post out, I suppose some mention of this years budget ambitions should be noted.  Weeding was becoming torture so a few bags of mulch were purchased.  I find mulching to be slightly addicting so the first load was followed by another, and then another.  All said approximately $44 dollars of very cheap and questionably dyed hardwood mulch was purchased, and to be honest I feel really good about my broken resolve.

mulched snowdrop bed

A weeded, edged and mulched snowdrop bed.  Grass clippings cover the interior, purchased mulch rings the edge.  The left side is still a work in progress…

While mulching I came across a few colchicum corms and remembered offering extras to some friends last fall.  As it is with these things a quick online search for proper names and spellings led me to distraction and also to a few coveted colchicums which I’d been hoping to get elsewhere.  For just $63 and a mouse click I didn’t have to worry about elsewhere anymore.

colchicum nancy lindsay

A good example of general neglect.  Colchicum ‘Nancy Lindsay’ bravely flowering over a carpet of weedy sedum and other sprouting nasties.

While I’m baring my plant buying soul (with the exception of snowdrop purchases of course) I might as well admit that general colchicum excitement led me to a second purchase, this time  from Daffodils and More.  I have sworn off new daffodils this fall, but obviously the “More” part was a problem, and in this case it amounted to $65 more.

limelight hydrangea fall color

Nice pink highlights on ‘Limelight’ hydrangea this fall.  They may be floppy from all the rain, but at least they’re not heat blasted and brown.

I haven’t been entirely innocent in the plant department either.  Most of the summer passed far too quickly to spend time at the nursery, but my foggy memory does recall going over on a gift certificate (the amount of which does NOT count) by about $38 and then returning a few days later to spend another $18.  Those plants may or may not have all been planted, but I have to say it would be stupid to buy them and HAVE to have them and then let them sit next to the garage for weeks unplanted.

mammoth mum seedlings

Each fall I’m fascinated by the variety of mum seedlings which have arisen from the double red ‘Mammoth’ mum towards the back.  Each spring I forget about mums and never get around to separating these out.

If I do admit to neglecting full price purchases on the driveway for weeks, I probably shouldn’t suggest that I went back for a 40% off sale and spent another $49.  Just in case that happened though I’m going to add it to this year’s tally and not mention that more pots have joined the driveway crew.

tropical border in fall

The overflowing tropical border.  The Seven Sons Tree (Heptacodium) is in full bloom and has put on quite some height over the last few years.

Speaking of pots I bought a nice ceramic one on clearance for $15.  Like everything else I didn’t need it but maybe I will, so better to just bring it home.

migrating monarchs

The Monarchs have surprised me with an early appearance.  They’re enjoying the flowers of the Seven Sons Tree, you can almost make out the namesake flower buds which have a number one son bud surrounded by six more sons.

That might be it on budget confessions.  Over the last few weeks I’ve probably forgotten a few receipts here and there, but in my opinion a quickly fading memory is one of the greatest benefits of the aging process.  Perhaps in hindsight writing it all down wan’t the best thought out of plans.  Better to throw in a distraction such as one of my fantastically edited cinematic masterpieces which I call “All the Monarchs which swarmed the Heptacodium last week”.

I loved watching all the Monarchs.  My parents were in and marveled at all the bugs and butterflies which they just don’t see any more in their more suburban lot.  I hope it’s just a one season anomaly for them, but when you hear the stories of disappearing bees and bugs, and vanishing bird populations, and crashing amphibian numbers, you can really worry.  As the afternoon rolled into an amazing sunset, we watched the lingering insects wander off and several bats move in to swoop and ambush the careless, while all the nighttime crickets and katydids started to ratchet up their chorus.  It wasn’t bad at all.

sunset in PA

September sunset on the deck.

The Monarchs have been just like the weather.  They swarmed the yard and then disappeared.  A few came back.  More came back.  They disappeared.  Today there are dozens again and the temperatures and humidity make it feel like we’re in the South again.  Who knows?  At least it keeps me off the streets 😉

$63 for a questionable colchicum purchase
$65 for a quality colchicum purchase
$38 for additional unnecessary plants
$18 for two more unnecessary plants
$49 for clearance plants which also unnecessary, yet irresistible
$15 for a ceramic pot which made the trip to the box store worth it

$992 total so far for the 2018 gardening year.

28 comments on “General Seediness

  1. This is like two posts in one–your commentary and then the pictures and their captions. The beauty in the pictures belies some of your words! Your hedge looks fantastic! Everything looks great in spite of the stoopit weather!

    Next summer will be better, right? Please?

    Hey, if you keep yourself from spending any more, you’ll come in under $1000! (The Burlington Coat Factory in Eynon is moving, and they had great clearance sales in August. I bought 3 ceramic pots for less than $20!!!)

    • bittster says:

      Well it sure is green, isn’t it!? Things have done really well, but I feel like I’ve run a lawnmowing marathon, and it just grows back in a couple days, so it’s so frustratingly pointless! And the weeds… You know what that’s been like…
      Under $20 for three pots? That’s a great deal, plus they last forever! A few of mine must be pushing 15 years.
      I don’t think I ever expected it to get anywhere close to $1000. I better not complain about not having any money, because if the family finances investigator starts checking my books I’m cooked! No fall bulbs for me this year 😉

  2. Hope you’re feeling better. It’s pretty typical for a garden to be a seedy mess this time of year. Don’t beat yourself up over it.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks, I’m on the mend but don’t appreciate the downtime…
      Half of me wants to mow it all down. The other half loves all the birds which show up each morning to pick through the seedy, insect bonanza.

  3. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your garden is nearly perfect. You want all the seedy buggy goodness in your garden. Like those Mums. I can’t even get mums to live more that an year or two let alone multiply. I have tried to keep a total of my $$ spent in/for the garden this year. I am afraid to add up the consequences. Your additions of Colchicums is a sound investment. A neighbor of mine is always saying to me ‘You are always in the garden.’ I have also tried to keep a total of time spent in the garden. It isn’t so much and it shows. It was way too hot this summer for me. I hope you are feeling better now.

    • bittster says:

      Ha! I couldn’t even start to keep track of how much time I spend out there. I would probably have to include the time I spend looking out the windows as well I’m sure… that’s probably a good hour each day as well 😉
      Now if I only track the time spent working that’s a different story. I can easily be out there on a hot day for hours and not do a thing other than find the shady spots and curse at bugs.
      I think you still haven’t found the right mums. I kill plenty, but these mammoth mums and a few rare roadside leftovers are the only ones which have been reliable.

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    I was thrilled to see all the Monarchs visiting your yard. Numbers just like in the old days. 😉 It gives me hope. (And here I was excited to see 3 at once on my 7th Son). You must be in a migratory flyway.
    I have no luck with mums wintering over, let alone having them self-sow. I think yours are pretty. Your gardens still look good, even full-blown. Must be the result of that generous budget. 😉

    • bittster says:

      Yes, the Monarchs are exciting but it’s been a weird season. Last year they were much later and seemed to stay a while. This year they came and went in a matter of just a few days, and only arrived in two major flushes. Maybe there are still more on the way though!
      Last year was the first year we had anything worth noticing. Before that it was an occasion to see two at a time…
      The mums all come down to having the right sort. I’ve killed plenty along the way before settling on these survivors 😉

  5. Christina says:

    Your garden is looking very good, don’t be modest! You must also be doing the right things to have so many Monarchs, fantastic! As to over a $100 dollars for Colchicums – ouch! That is a lot for something that lasts such a short time and often don’t look that great anyway. I haven’t been adding up what I spend but maybe I should, I probably spend about the same as you, which seems quite a lot for a garden that is already full (mine, not yours).

    • bittster says:

      Isn’t it amazing how much we can still fit in a garden which is full 🙂
      The colchicum expense seemed like a nice treat at the time, but after getting the one set of bulbs I was quite disappointed. I’ve already complained to the supplier, but damaged bulbs and a likely improper ID are not what I was hoping for. Fortunately I had the better order to keep my spirits up!

  6. Nothing like hedge trimming and mulch to make everything look perfect! I really should buy some mulch but have not done so for a while because that is probably where we all got the Asian jumping worm. I have the worms so I guess I don’t have to worry but …. Tropical garden is looking superb. Loved the little video. I had never thought about monarchs in regard to that late-blooming tree. Obviously they love it. We have kept tabs on everything we spend in the garden each year (maybe I said this before). It’s divided into categories like plants, tools, hired help etc. We do an annual total and then add that in to the 20+ years’ total and average out the annual spending. I won’t divulge that rather large number.

    • bittster says:

      Gardening expenses are my main vice, so I really don’t ever feel bad about treating myself. Plus it’s really not bad at all compared to a night out or new electronics. A friend just spent more on a phone than I spent all year for my little goodies… and they won’t be outdated a year from now 🙂
      Those worms. I keep wondering if I have them yet…. and the key word is yet. Unless there’s some program in place to wipe them out I don’t expect anything will stop their advance. The spread of earthworms probably ranks pretty low on the list of invasives which the powers that be will bother fighting. Just this weekend I spoke with a neighbor who is just as proud as can be about how well his bargain priced pear trees are doing. I hope I didn’t burst his bubble when I pointed out the thicket of seedlings which is taking over the nearby embankment…

  7. Cathy says:

    What a stunning sunset Frank. Your potager is looking delightfully dishevelled, except for the immaculate hedge and edging! My garden is beginning to let itself go now. Autumn is definitely here – we had a frost already!

    • bittster says:

      I can’t believe you’ve already had a frost. We’ve been known to get them around now as well, but I always thought you were later on the frosts and earlier on the warm-up.
      Last year our first frost was exceptionally late, and the garden just seemed to give up waiting for it. Except for a few last annuals everything was already done by the time we got hit.
      I loved the sunset as well. We had two nice ones in a row as the next evening was just as explosive!

  8. Honestly, $992 is not bad at all. Think of the kind of money that people throw away at casinos, racetracks, and taverns. Love your Monarch video. Good to know that they like Seven Son Tree. Beautiful sunset.

    • bittster says:

      Agreed. My budget practically disappears when compared to a night out on the town or some bad idea at the casino. Maybe I should break it up into pre-season and post-season, why make it look bad with a whole year number!

  9. Great post and photos as always. I agree with Jason. Buying plants is money well spent because it brings many rewards. Just think of all the mouths you are feeding and helping the cycle of life continue. From one year to the next we can see a decline in species even in our own yards. I normally have a lot of toads, even babies, and this year I have only seen one. The Black and Yellow Garden Spiders are definitely making a comeback though.

    • bittster says:

      I’m glad to hear you have plenty of Yellow Garden Spiders, because here I suspect a bird found mine… That’s the downside to having all that life in the garden, not everyone makes it for too long!
      It is more interesting that looking at a boringly dead, empty lawn though.

  10. Fun, fun, fun at your house. It’s clear that you are not spending near enough on your garden. Strongly suggest doubling next year.

    • bittster says:

      Jason has me thinking that if I just cut my budget up into spring, summer and fall expenses, then it won’t look nearly as bad and I could easily double it 🙂
      Hope things are off to a great start in the new place!

  11. pbmgarden says:

    Bargains for such joy. Lovely monarchs.

  12. It’s all in the semantics, you know. 🙂 A mere tweak of wordage! “Seedy mess” —>”luxuriant growth”. “Unnecessary plant purchase” –> “nascent inspiration.” “Random ceramic pot” –> “emergency backup container.” (I have spent many decades trying to perfect the fine art of garden-expense rationalization; I may be getting close!)

    • bittster says:

      Now that is an excellent idea. I can start calling it my retirement fund, or my growth investments or hedge fund. People will think I’m a financial genius!

  13. Peter Herpst says:

    Hope the cold is getting better. So happy that you’ve found some great new additions to your gard…oh look butterflies and blue sky… en and admire how well you keep track of your purchases. What a gorgeous sunset – were there plant purchases this year? I don’t recall.

    • bittster says:

      I think I finally kicked the cold this weekend, I didn’t even realize how much it was dragging me down until I got over it!
      So my distractions worked? I may run with that and use it to cover up the receipts here as well 😉

  14. Kevin says:

    Your garden is hardly boring. 🙂 It’s clear how much you love it and tend to its needs. When I lived in NY, though, I had those same feelings about an August and September garden. The plants always looked overgrown and overly lush — and the change in sunlight hours often meant fall clean-up and colder weather. It looks like you have enough plants to provide winter interest. Beautiful!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Kevin. We are trapped in some loop of gloomy weather, and I don’t think that’s helping my opinion on the season at all. The idea of sunshine and sunsets seems like a long ago memory…
      Maybe it’s time for a move south! lol

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