The unbelievably colorful fall foliage has come and is just about gone.
The squirrels have just about eaten all of my pumpkins on the porch.
The air is getting a wee bit cooler.
Small children are being enticed by many sparkly, loud toy commercials on the TV.
I sit with amazement each evening as I see another store advertising that they will open for holiday shopping at midnight tonight.
My husband begins to remind me that he received one gift each year for Christmas. At least that’s what he says, I still need to confirm that with his sister. In other words – he’s telling me not to buy too many gifts for the kids.
My hands are tired from chopping and peeling multiple root vegetables for side dishes and apples for the perfect apple pie yesterday.
The neighbor across the street is preparing to blow his leaves all into a big pile on the side of the street so he can use the power of car tires to mince them to pieces and have them fly into everyone else’s yard.
My gnomes seem to be much happier and more active this time of year. I’m always finding them face down in the garden and in a slightly different spot than the day before. Is it early celebrations with huge mugs of garden made root beer?
My 19 year-old kitty, Aspen and our two spotted dogs, Violet and Porter want to be closer because they are cold at night.
And last, but certainly not least, my favorite holiday decoration, osage oranges have begun to fall. It’s time to go about the neighborhood collecting the greenest, roundest ones for my festive creations. What will I do with them this year?
I will remember this Autumn as the year of extremes. With the wretchedly hot, nearly rainless summer we had, I was expecting little or no fall color.
All the science and plant physiology classes I had prepared me for no fall color. Plants don’t have the sugars to express into fall color when they’ve been through such a horrific summer. At least that’s what they taught me.
I know I have some horticulture professors who read this e-letter regularly. Would you mind explaining to me how, with no rain all summer and many, many days over 100 degrees, the trees and shrubs and even perennials were able to make quite possibly one of the most glorious falls I’ve seen?
Inquiring minds want to know. I think even the most seasoned gardener or gardening professional could use a “What makes fall color?” lesson.
I really want to know.
It goes against everything I learned. Everyone predicted no fall color this year, but I swear, it’s one if the best I’ve seen in the last 6 years here in Baltimore.
That being said, I am really grateful for the colors. I really enjoyed them this year. They were so magnificent, they often stopped me in my tracks. The maples were especially brilliant. Even my hostas had really great fall color.
It’s still unseasonably warm here. It was 65 on Tuesday, and a bit colder yesterday, but I’ve still got Tartatian aster (Aster tartaricus) and perennial ageratum (Eupatorium colestinum)in full bloom. How exciting is that?
I’m really thankful for the fall color this year. We most likely will not be living in Baltimore this time next year, so it was a great year for memorable color. We’re preparing to move north to Massachusetts, north of Boston, for my husband’s job before the 2011 school year begins. It’s such a great time to move.
It’s never a great time to move, but this is an especially crappy time to try and sell a house. If you know any plantweenies looking for a nearly 100 year old, mostly restored house (2 brand new bathrooms and a new kitchen all made of recycled, sustainable building materials) with a great collection of plants and amazing hardscaping on nearly 1/2 and acre in Baltimore city, please send them my way. Selling another garden will brake my heart once again. Selling it to someone who just might appreciate it a little, would be a much better deal.
Speaking of moving and leaving a garden behind, have you seen the new podcast series from Horticulture Magazine called Horticulture Radio?
My friend Andrew Keys, from Massachusetts is the host. His voice is amazing and the show is quite NPR’ish in it’s presentation. In the first episode, he interviewed Lynn Felici-Galant about how hard it is to prepare for and leave a garden you love.
Check it out. They plan to have a new topic each month that connects people with plants. I’m sure some of my readers have experienced a move. It’s hard to leave all of your hard work behind. It’s even harder to go back and see that no none is taking care of your garden. Never go back…it’s way too painful.
What will happen to Plants Nouveau when we move, you ask? Not much.
We’ll be broadcasting and flying from Boston instead of Baltimore. That’s the beauty of the Internet. I can run my business anywhere, as long as there is an airport and fast Internet access.
I will need help finding some wholesale nurseries to buy plants. I’ll certainly be making another garden (this will be my fifth since 1996), so I’ll need many, many plants.
What else am I thankful for?
I have a supportive, wonderful husband and two very bright, inquisitive kids. Without them, life would be boring.
I suppose I’m thankful for my garden, although; after last winter’s hellacious snow storm and this summer’s heat and drought, it might be nice to start over. I was nearly in tears in August and September, looking at all of my worn out, tired plants and then seeing the nearly $500 water bill from the City.
I worked tirelessly all summer to keep them alive. We had no rain. Maybe it is time to retreat from the desert and reload with another garden. Don’t mind the minor Palin pun there, it is six in the morning on a holiday and I’m up writing. It was bound to happen at least once.
One thing I’m not thankful for is the complete and utter disrespect the neighborhood squirrels have for my very expensive, gourmet pumpkins on the porch. I tried everything from pepper spray to rosemary and peppermint oil and hairspray to keep them away. I finally gave in and tossed the pumpkins this week. They were supposed to last until Thanksgiving. Apparently, I forgot to tell the squirrels.
Evil rats with tails…
I hate them and funny enough, that hate has rubbed off on my kids. My eight year old can’t wait to get out of the car each day after school to chase them away, throw things at them and screaming to try and get them to stop devouring our fall decorations.
Squirrels. Do they really have any benefit? Can you eat them?
I’m also thankful for all of the wonderful breeders and small nurseries I represent. Without them, I would not have a business and the world would be void their exciting new plants. I love representing them and having the confidence in their new plants to market them to the world, knowing it will be a better place with them planted in many, many gardens throughout the U.S. and Canada.
I’m very thankful for you, my readers, who endure my rants and join me on my crazy plant related journeys. Thank you for loving plants and the people who make, grow and sell them.
I have a great life full of great people who appreciate me. What more could I ask for besides a little rain in the summer?
Happy Thanksgiving to all and Happy Weeding!
President, Plants Nouveau
P.S. Did you know Astilbes had fall color? Not may do, but out tough, long blooming Astilbe ‘Delft Lace’ from AB-Cultivars turns a brilliant rusty orange each fall.
Delft Lace is quickly becoming one of the most trusted, popular astilbes on the market. The blooms are a crisp, clear pink and they fade to clear pink, not a dirty mauve, like most pinks. The blooms are long lasting and even when they finally fade to a tawny color, they last for months. Mine still have great bloom architecture on them and it’s Thanksgiving!
This is the one astilbe I have not killed in my dry, shady garden. It is tough and it looks great in the garden all summer. The more sun you can give it, the more burgundy the leaves become. They are so dark in some gardens, I’ve mistaken them for the darkest bugbanes.
This is one astilbe you must try. I promise you won’t be disappointed!