Yesterday was forecast to be a gloomy day of rain, with strong winds and a good chance of thundershowers, but the morning surprised me with scattered sun and a breeze almost strong enough to blow away the swarms of blackflies and keep the mosquitos grounded. It was nice. It was warm. I took some pictures and actually did a few things rather than sit inside, and then when the rain and wind did finally come through it happily matched afternoon break time, so win-win!
Now I’m not going to promise I did anything important or essential, but I did do a few things which have been haunting me like moving Lycoris bulbs and repotting some plants for winter. Now if that gets you thinking this is a good time for moving Lycoris bulbs, think twice. It’s probably not, and summer dormancy is probably better, but they’re moved now and that’s something which didn’t happen in August.
Beyond that I just spent the morning enjoying the autumn garden.
The breeze from the approaching cold front must have been carrying a few Monarch stragglers, since every now and then I would disturb a bunch hidden amongst the flowers. They were all hungry and focused on feeding, not like the lazy floating through the air which the earlier crew was doing a few weeks ago.
I think there were enough flowers for a little rest-stop but with the clock ticking all the Monarchs were gone by early afternoon, riding the winds in front of the approaching rain. Safe travels!
On another note, a few years ago a box or two of Minnesota-hardy mums came to this garden and did exceptionally well in spite of neglect and poor planting locations. During dry summers their seedlings would spread freely and this gardener was quite pleased with some of the results. Only about four of the original plants survive but only about two of the lost ones are missed, so in spite of the money spent this gardener feels like he made out better than he usually does.
I guess this is where I say mums make nice porch pots and I’ve bought my share of tight pots of perfectly budded plants, and then enjoyed them completely until they dried out one time too many. If they’re hardy enough they will also do well in the garden, making a nice lump of color for a few weeks anywhere between August and October depending on the cultivar.
My confession is I find them kind of boring. They’re very neat and uniform, but I like flowers that sway in the wind. I like to see the bees working through them and plants which keep putting up more buds with larger flowers and unusual petal types. Once again the dream of a perfect garden with ribbons and pools of fall color falls to the wayside in favor of ‘interesting’. Oh well 🙂
Let me just add that ‘interesting’ isn’t always as beautiful as the perfect pots from the nursery.
I transplanted all of these in June and chopped them back to sticks and worried a little that they would recover. They did, but then the endless rains of August brought on overly lush growth which ended up nurturing disease and killing off much of the foliage and blooms. A note for the better gardener is that chrysanthemums appreciate good air circulation and full sun, and dislike a crowded bed with overhanging sunflowers and milkweed.
Of course there’s little chance I’ll address the disease problems. I’m more of a thoughts and prayers kind of gardener, not one who acts on these things, so maybe next year will be better. On the other hand I will rip out a few of the ones which don’t thrill me, since new seedlings are much more fun than seeing all the same ones returning next year 😉
Here’s just one more which I like.
Hopefully no one is overly impressed with my seed-growing adventures. To put it in perspective there are often seedlings which just show up on their own, and are often much nicer than anything I nurture.
…and don’t think I’m too good for buying and saving a few potted mums and seeing if they survive to bloom another year…
Speaking of surviving for another year, the pots are starting to migrate closer to the garage and their winter housing. The new bed on the side of the garage has been perfect for keeping things off the driveway… sort of… as I realize there are half a dozen fairly large pots sitting alongside the sand pile…
So that’s the mid October update. Chrysanthemums and the wait for the first frost pretty much sum it up and given the ten day forecast both will be around until at least the end of the month. I’m fine with that and I won’t even mention those other things which are starting to preoccupy my every other plant thought. The first ones are starting to sprout and of course new bulbs have been planted.
Have a great week 🙂