Monday, October 29, 2012

Wind, vegetables, and falling leaves

Apparently, the winds here and in the mountains of North Carolina are secondary to Hurricane Sandy.  Amazing.  There's been snow around Asheville already at high elevations, with more rain and wet snow to come.

The lows in Asheville (located in a mountain basin) are supposed to dip to 31° on Wednesday and keep those overnight lows through Friday.

Hmm, that'll take care of the pizza peppers!  I haven't been there to tend the mountain raised beds for quite awhile, because traveling and then staying home with Woody, recovering from knee surgery (no stairs for him!) has limited my mobility.

I'm thinking that we might be able to get up to the mountains this weekend, if Woody's cleared for stairs, or maybe I'll just scoot up on my own, to check on things. 

I had pulled out all of the remaining tomatoes, beans, and tomatillos in September, so happily won't face a lot of clean-up (aside from the peppers!)  Some might actually be still OK, if I process them them right away.

I'd sown lots of greens, not anticipating Woody's surgery, in late August, so may have beet, turnip, and mustard greens to harvest, depending on how hungry the woodchuck that Tim (my gardening companion) spotted on his last visit has been.  I sowed lettuce and spinach seed, too, in a bit of late season enthusiasm.  It'll be interesting to see what's doing well.

Here's a view of one of the front beds from two years ago.

October, 2010
I love how leeks will sail through (even) tough winters looking great.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Storm time

I've been reminded again today, as Sandy approaches the northeastern U.S., of the power of storms.

We've had nothing but some strong winds and a bit of rain today, mainly from a Gulf-based system, not Sandy.  But leaves blew off, raining down on the lawn and mulched beds. I wish we'd got some more rain, as it's been dry for weeks.

But, it's been a glorious fall so far, and the reds have deepened on the dogwood leaves, the sassafras and persimmon leaves are striking, and the hickories and oaks are holding forth, too.

No yellows in our ginkgos yet -- they're late.  I just searched ginkgo in previous posts and these came up, all mentioning the clear yellows in November!

This image was from Nov. 20, 2010.

Ginkgo biloba, SCBG
It's one of a pair of ginkgos near the nature center at the South Carolina Botanical Garden planted at the same time (one is a lot larger than the other).

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Evening porch view

A wonderful September day (in late October) found the porch a perfect spot for dinner.  It's still normally nice at lunch, but at dinnertime -- how pleasant (although a bit unnerving, too).

The reds and purples have been deepening noticeably over the last few days, along with the yellows and oranges becoming more evident.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall color

 A beautiful fall day had me admiring the purples in the dogwoods and the exuberance of the (non-cut-back swamp sunflower) in the border that we see from the porch.
from the porch
Normally, I would have reduced the stem height in June, but didn't this year.  The tall stems are now flopping dramatically, but are really quite pleasing.  And the buddleia to the right continues to host an abundance of butterflies, including the last push of monarchs, as they're moving south.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall saffron crocuses

It's been busy, trying to keep Woody calm (ha!) and tidying and planting as I can.

But I was glad to see the first saffron crocus in flower.  I'd noticed their foliage a couple of days ago, and made a mental note to watch.  The fun of having a blog is I can search and realize that I posted in previous years, too, about them.

I snagged the stigmas (the 'saffron') of this flower to dry.  There will be more to come.  These are plants were established quite a few years ago.

Here's a photo from 2008, from a post on Oct. 26 of that year.

Saffron crocus (2008)

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

A tidier garden

Happily, even with a recovering Golden in tow, I've managed to clean up quite a few more of the seedling/sapling volunteers (think redbud, magnolia, sassafras, Althea, lacebark elm, American holly, Chinese privet, nandina, English ivy, etc.)  Not to mention the runners - Bermuda grass, vinca (major and minor), air potato vine, and morning glory.

And the entrance to the front door actually looks like a flagstone path again, and not the entrance to a mysterious house in the woods.  Woo-hoo!

Hmm, there's still LOTS to be done, but I'm feeling better about it.  Geez, nothing like talking about and showing images of your garden in better times to help kick-start things.  And a dear friend's suggestion that we visit together while we garden was encouragement, too.  She's the original energizer bunny of mulching and weeding, so her suggestion helped me out of my gardening funk!  Major garden cleanup involving pruners and heavy cutting is NOT on my list of favorite gardening activities.

I'm hoping to get out and get my garlic in the ground in the next couple of days. It's the perfect time, and my beds are ready.

The satellite vegetable garden is being nibbled on by some sort of herbivore (deer? rabbit?) I managed to harvest the turnips ahead of it, but didn't get a chance to check on the arugula today.  I don't think it's a woodchuck, because, next to my potting bench, all the Tuscan kale in a tall ceramic container was eaten, right next to a container of cilantro, which has been a favorite of woodchucks in the past.

Thankfully, none of the normal nibblers care for garlic!

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mid-October gardening thoughts

My garden(s) at home need some attention.  We've had delicious Hakurei turnips the last few evenings, with plenty of arugula and cilantro, too, along with bright red pizza peppers, too.

But helping Woody (our sweet rescue Golden) recover post-knee surgery is a primary focus currently, returning from traveling, while Tim is finishing up fall field work for his second book.

Woody needs to be quiet as he heals (uh, that means that one of us needs to be with him, as he's so averse to being alone!)

Happily, he rested comfortably as I weeded the main vegetable garden here in the Piedmont this afternoon, and attended to the woodland wildflower patch in front of the house.

I had sowed all sorts of greens in our mountain beds, thinking we'd be up there more this fall, but will need to depend on my gardening companion's harvesting, as Woody isn't supposed to do any stairs for at least 6 more weeks.  (We have three levels in our small mountain house).

Tim will be looping through at our mountain house on a long field work trip, so hopefully, he'll be  bringing back more peppers and greens....

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I've been reviewing photos (from my trip for a program tomorrow) and it's been amazing to review some of the images from the gardens I visited.
celebrating senescence

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Street view
(Another post that apparently didn't go).

I'm ending up my trip in this amazingly well-preserved (and famous for it) medieval town. Even with a lot of tourists, fewer now than there would have been in summer, it's fun to visit.

Market place from tower
There's more than enough to see and enjoy here, so I'm spending a couple of days (without driving) before heading back to Frankfurt and home.

View from Rathaus tower
This has been such a great trip, with lots of diversity. I'm looking forward to sorting out pictures and doing a more complete reflection on my experiences seeing gardens big and small, plants in public places, travel in general, etc. after I get back to my desktop.

view of town from wall


Heading home and Jakob's Weg

Way sign
Jakob (St. John)
It's been a great trip, and I found it meaningful to end up with a photo of Jakob (who was a pilgrim, and maybe is St. John? That's what the leader of a city tour said today.)

Rothenburg ob de Tauber was a wonderful place to try to experience what it was like (many centuries ago).

I've been on a bit of a pilgrimage myself, so I've connected with the Jakob's Weg.

These paths connect eventually with the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route in Spain.

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A cloud of Monarchs

Monarch on Helianthus
It's been cloudy and cool the last couple of days, but Friday and Saturday were sunny and mild. 

There were clouds of Monarchs and other butterflies visiting the Buddleia and exuberant Helianthus (Swamp Sunflower) in the border that I see from my study window. (The Helianthus hadn't been cut back this year).

Taking a turn outside with Woody (who's recovering from knee surgery and needs to be kept quiet), I enjoyed the show.

There were over 15 Monarchs (it was hard to count) visiting flowers, along with Gulf Fritillaries and Sulfurs.  Quite nice!

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

I'm ending up my trip in this amazingly well-preserved (and famous for it) medieval town. Even with a lot of tourists, fewer now than there would have been in summer, it's fun to visit. I'm spending a couple of days here before heading back to Frankfurt and home.

This has been such a great trip, with lots of diversity. I'm looking forward to sorting out photos and reflecting on my experiences when I get home.