Out Galavanting

Yes, there’s bunches of stuff to do around here.

No, next to none of it’s been done.

So two weeks ago I started complaining about all the things on the autumn to-do list which needed be done or at least considered before winter, and what shows up on the to-done list?  A garden visit.  Michael Bowell of Create-a-scene fame hosts an open garden through the HPS each autumn, and since 2014 was the last time this gardener made it, I figured it was prime time for a re-visit.  If you’re interested >here’s a link< to the first visit, which offers up just a tiny bit more info on the garden and the event.

michael bowell garden

Michael Bowell’s house with its two story attached greenhouse.  A winter paradise I’m sure!  


This event is promoted as a fall cutting swap, and it’s a sad commentary that I had dark intentions of leaving with a few new plants, but for once swiping cuttings was encouraged!  Following a tour through the gardens and greenhouse(s) attendees were directed to take a few cuttings and try a few new plants at home.  I still had my reservations, so just to make sure I asked if it would be ok to clip a shoot off a real tempting variegated euphorbia… and before I could even argue a bag was pushed into my hands and clippings started coming off the sides and top.  ‘Did you see this one, do you want this one as well?’  Wow.  For as much as I try to stay inside my shell in a crowd (there was quite a group attending) the garden chat and entertaining stories lured me in.  If I lived closer I would have absolutely overstayed my welcome, but sadly I also had nursery stops and another garden to visit.  Poor me 😉

autumn porch display

The Amish country was overflowing with fall produce and roadside pumpkin stands.  I was restrained and came home with just these two.  I don’t know why large squashes make me happy but they do, so gift givers take note.  


Long story short I was very good at the nurseries and only brought home a few essentials.  No need to ask what they were and to question how they qualify as essentials, but they were and between that and another gardener who forced even more goodies upon me it’s possible I’m headed in the wrong direction as far as lower maintenance and getting things ready for winter.  Whatever.

autumn perennial border

I might be heading toward winter with the front border.  Almost all the fennel was whacked to the ground prior to seeding all over (again) and in general it looks fairly neat.


So I mowed the lawn and chopped down fennel stalks.  Then I looked at the 10-day forecast and with nearly no chance of frost I decided to just walk around aimlessly and ignore nearly all the real to-do list.

iris eleanor roosevelt

The historic iris (1930) ‘Eleanor Roosevelt’ is reblooming very well this autumn and although in theory I’m against plants who rebloom out of season, I have to admit to really liking it this year.  Usually the buds are later and freeze.


The last colchicums are still doing well even though the weather this past week has been cloudy, rain, cloudy, partly cloudy, rain, clouds…

colchicum giganteum

Colchicum giganteum group.  These are stout flowers which last in spite of the weather… unlike some of their cousins… 


One colchicum celebration is the number of double white C. autumnale alboplenum which I have in flower this year.  After a trip to Amish country I shouldn’t like this overly double extravagance but I do.  Very much.  Hopefully they continue to multiply as well here as they have in the source garden of my friend Kathy.

colchicum autumnale alboplenum

Colchicum autumnale alboplenum in a bed of depressingly industrial wood chips.  Creating a blanket of low sedum should also go on the to-do list rather than just allowing the groundcover of sheep sorrel to re-invade this bed.


The rest of the garden continues to crumble into that colorful and seedy look of early autumn.

autumn perennial border

The hot pink of aster ‘Alma Potsche’ is about over for the season, but there’s still some lingering annuals and cannas to keep the color going.  Just yesterday I was eyeing the birch for a power-washing.  hmmmm


For all of ten minutes I thought of addressing the bulbs which need digging, but with highs still into the 70’s I think deadheading might be more useful.

autumn dahlias

The seed grown dahlias are nice enough but I think they’re still going to go to the compost pile rather than winter storage.


There are cannas to think of as well.

autumn dahlias

Maybe the tropical garden doesn’t have as many cannas and dahlias in need of digging as I think.  For some reason the cannas are all stunted this year in spite of a wet summer.  I honestly think a shortage of sunny days is the problem.


Bah.  I won’t even think of digging bulbs and tubers until after the first frost.  I’ll just enjoy the start of chrysanthemum season and let those distract me for the next couple weeks 🙂

mums and hydrangea

I shouldn’t even allow chrysanthemums to bloom until September.  The later flowers are so much nicer!


Well I guess I did do something else this week.  I potted up another dozen or two of new cuttings which followed me home.  Luckily they all went into 6 inch and smaller pots so they don’t even count as new plants.

taking cuttings to overwinter

Begonias, coleus, salvias… I was only being polite when I accepted all these little treasures.


So stop shaking that head.  Yesterday I did chop a few other things down for the season and now I’m considering a little more wood mulch to hopefully hold back the weeds this winter.  I moved a few containers closer to the garage.  There is a little hope.  Don’t you worry, I still have at least ten days.

Have a great week 🙂

22 comments on “Out Galavanting

  1. Oh my goodness, a two story greenhouse attached to your home! What luxury!

    I have brought exactly three of my houseplants back inside so far. I had to spend an awful lot of time cleaning up the bay tree, which was covered in black sooty mold, caused by scale. So I hosed it down, then clipped off all the damaged leaves and wiped down all the others, and doused it in insecticide. I’ll try to remember to give it another insecticide bath in a couple weeks. You did forget to mention that you gave up a full, potentially productive, afternoon giving a private tour of your own garden, lol!

    • bittster says:

      Haha, the key there was ‘potentially’ productive. A statistical analysis would show a less than 17% chance of anything getting done on any given mid week afternoon. The fact that I was able to get rid of three amaryllis pots is much more of an accomplishment than anything else which was even close to being on the radar 😉
      I might give a few of the tropicals a little taste of a pesticide before taking them in. I’m always chasing aphid infestations in the winter garden, and a winter without would be nice.

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    One does need to sharpen the saw, you know. A trip for inspiration is highly rated in my book, esp. if it includes cuttings. 😉
    There is something romantic about the blowsy look of the late summer/early fall garden. I am reluctant to cut anything back unless it’s looking really badly, or is blocking a path. I like the chaos, truth be told. Abundance!

    • bittster says:

      🙂 I’m always back and forth between the late summer/autumn scorched earth cleanup (it looks so neat!) and the tangled mess of beautiful decay and autumnal slumber. Some years I get bored and a certain amount of cleanup happens, other years I look sideways and just head back into the house until March. Either way winter has a way of drying out all the debris and blowing most of it over into the neighbor’s yard 😉
      The other day I was enjoying pictures of last autumn’s chrysanthemum trips. I wouldn’t mind another trip!

  3. Cathy says:

    Wow, a garden visit where you don’t have to beg for just one tiny cutting…. 😃 Loads of colour in your garden still. It is the one time of year where I also don’t mind leaving the garden to its own devices. Have a good week!

    • bittster says:

      I was more than happy to let things go, but then a group of friends asked if they can come by to look at the garden next weekend. I should have pointed out that it’s really gone downhill, but my ego wouldn’t have it, and now I’m trying to figure out how I can shine up the dying annuals, and tired tropicals one last time! At the very least I’ll have to mow the lawn (yet again….)

  4. I’m not shaking my head. I’m wondering if that variegated euphorbia is hardy (probably not) and how successful you are at striking cuttings. That double white colchicum looks like it could be divided and spread around to make a bigger patch. But you already knew that.

    • bittster says:

      Of course the variegated euphorbia is non-hardy. It’s a variegated form of crown of thorns, with the regular red flowers and an awesome leaf!
      I will hopefully divide the double colchicum after the leaves die down next summer. When I do it’s possible I could do the other clump as well and combine them into a double white mass! I’m excited just thinking about it, but I’m not sure where they’d both look and grow well.
      That might be a good thing to think about next time I’m sitting around 🙂

  5. pbmgarden says:

    So impressed with your late season garden–still looking strong. A garden visit sounds wonderful and look at those cuttings!

  6. Pauline says:

    Your garden is still looking beautiful, so much late colour. Your garden visit sounds wonderful, so many freebies.

    • bittster says:

      I’ve been very happy with my tropical cuttings farm. A few have clearly not rooted, but others look like there’s a chance, and even if only half of them make it I’ll still be set!

  7. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    That two-story greenhouse is to die for. It appears to be a true conservatory. Dreaming…. I have always wanted a tree fern. I figured my luck the darn thing would grow and I would eventually need a two-story green house and I couldn’t afford it, so I have never bought one. Tree fern that is.
    I can’t get into the garden clean up at this time either. Seems that we are having the same type of weathers. I will probably be stuck out in cold rain trying to get things accomplished eventually. Your collection of newly potted starts is impressive. FUN FUN…

    • bittster says:

      Hmmmm. I have a four(?) year old tree fern so maybe I should start working out where the two story greenhouse should go! I’ve nearly killed it three out of four winters, so it’s much less tree than it is fern. Actually last summer it was barely fern, so I think I still have a few years to think.
      Monday I was off, and I forced myself to plant a few snowdrops and consider what was and wasn’t going to happen with overwintering things. I decided to wait until Thursday since a cold front is going to make autumn a little more real, but then yesterday on a whim I went around and collected the last coleus cuttings. Potted tropicals will be next, then all the other potted stuff. Dahlia and canna roots will round it out. Then it’s tulip planting time. Wow it all sounds like a lot of work, I far prefer to not think about it until the night of the first frost!

  8. With a still-to-do list as long as mine, and mostly not crossed-off, I would never dream of head-shaking, lol! Not even a teeny-tiny wobble! 😀

    • bittster says:

      heh heh, if head shaking really bothered me I would have finished my to-do list weeks ago, fortunately I prefer to live in blissful ignorance of the oncoming cold.

  9. I was stopped in my tracks with that greenhouse image. Holy moly. Can’t imagine life with a little something like that added onto my house. Your garden is looking good: Perfect front porch display and I love the pairing of the pink mum with the Hydrangea. Somehow it keeps each of them from being quite as sweet as they often appear.

    • bittster says:

      Yes, tempering the sweetness of pink flowers is something I never complain about. It’s not a color I usually crave.
      Yeah, the two story greenhouse is awesome. It’s probably not as extravagant a build as some people might think, but the heating costs… ouch. Plus the interior is filled with tropicals and a huge orchid collection, so it’s gotta stay warm!
      But the idea of going out on the balcony in January and looking down on tree ferns and palms 🙂

  10. […] of lazy, careless watering did in a bunch of them.  This fall I needed backup plants.  A visit to an open garden and a cutting swap started me off.  The Amish country and various nurseries added a few more.  Friends helped.  […]

  11. […] is one of my latest favorite plants.  It was one of those things which followed me home from a late autumn garden visit.  “Take this, you’ll want this” was what I was told as branches were lopped off […]

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