October Yardworks

I got a new t-shirt, seeds and digging gloves at North Haven Gardens yesterday.

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Today’s yard projects consisted of: planting coreopsis, Thalia narcissus bulbs (I found only one from my last planting of daffodils), Snow-n-Summer Asiatic jasmine, garlic cloves, and larkspur seeds. I trimmed back the bicolor salvia in the blue bed before adding another bag of soil to level the bed.

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While the man went to work on mulching the blue bed, I got to work cleaning my pruning tools. Naval Jelly worked wonders on these rusty shears. I made sure to spray them down with BP50 lubricant before covering them up and bagging them.

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Had a little time after drilling holes into pots to smell the roses.

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Salvia transplants and cuttings

Early in the year, I gifted my friend Kathy with some salvia cuttings and transplants. She lives in a rental home in Lewisville, whose lawn and yard is mostly tended by very friendly and considerate neighbors. She swears she has a brown thumb, but I was quite certain that she couldn’t kill these plants. Her front yard is a steep grade (nearly 45 degrees) from the street to her front door, and she swears anything she tries to plant in it gets washed down and away.

I provided her with two red salvia greggii cuttings, 2 Hot Lips salvia cuttings, and 2 sets of Coral Nymph salvia coccinea seedlings that volunteered from my own garden. We planted them into a bed just in time as the onset of the summer heat. Her yard gets the benefit of some high shade during the early morning and afternoon. She refused to mulch because, again, she was concerned that it would all wash out of the bed down the slope toward the house. She watered deeply during the drought, but I’m certain her watering schedule was infrequent. During the summer heat wave, I visited once a month; she lost one of the greggiis, but the rest survived.

On Friday afternoon, I visited her house to tend to her pups while she was out of town and beheld this:

10/30/2011 Kathy's Salvia Bed

The remaining plants I gave her were in bloom. The Coral Nymphs appear to have multiplied (crazy reseeders that they are); the Hot Lips were a solid red, but I was sure it would revert to the bicolor blooms sooner or later. Next spring, I expect them to grow 2x to 3x their size.

Salvias thrive on neglect–which makes them perfect plants for xeriscaping and forgetful gardeners. The occasional rain perks them back up again and ¬†guarantees a flush of blooms every time. I love these plants!

Winter prep

The pups and kitty help out with the winter preparations…

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…or not.

Ornamental peppers, basils, hostas, etc., are potted up! Had to bring them indoors last night in case of frost.

Half a hale o’ bay

There she is, Miss Midnight Blue!

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The rose has at least 15 buds on it and promises to give us another show before the onset of winter.

The orange mums in the lily bed have aged into a beautiful golden color. Notice the new tenant (Oertel’s Rose yarrow) is putting on new foliage? It seems to be happy in that spot, but then again, it appears to adapt to any situation I’ve thrown at it so far. The two cuttings I planted in the full shade bed appear to be thriving as well

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The sedum basket appears to be doing well despite the danger of frost looming in the distance. It sits in the rosemary bed along with the ornamental kale, who are still homeless. ¬†The rosemary topiary has filled out, but there are some dried out/dead patches–mostly located at the base–that have not filled out. I am considering trimming the base to coax it into a topiary shape, maybe a ball on a stick. Geez, my camera still can’t capture that true yellow bloom color of the Moonglow salvia.

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The salvias on the opposite wall are bloomin’ crazy. The intense red and multiple whites are stunning. They will most likely continue to bloom with the occasional rain we get in the next few weeks.

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The Licker decided to finally sit and poise for me after much coaxing.

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I couldn’t resist the $2 sale on these new Cherry Pie Coreopsis at Calloway’s. I read up on these Terra Nova introductions and learned that they had some frost tolerance and therefore suited to fall plantings. So I am eager to give them a test drive in the front flower bed.

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Yes, I also did purchase “half a hale o’ bay” while I was at the store. I caught myself repeating it again–then questioned whether I should have skipped breakfast. To my relief, the cashier made the same error too and we were both chuckling at the tongue twister. I installed it on my Halloween porch display along with the obligatory holiday signage (also 50% off, I might add).

Wishlist plant of the day: Coreopsis Cherry Lemonade.

It’s starting to look a lot like…

…well, it looks like fall, but feels a little bit like winter. Today is the first day that rain and cold collided to form a prologue to winter, with highs in the 50s and lows in the 40s. I dispensed with tank tops and flip-flops today, working the garden in sneakers, sweatpants and long-sleeved thermal top. Most of the work involved finishing the man’s mulching job. He had added another layer to the front flower bed, the shade bed, purple bed, and began the camellia bed. He happened to leave nearly half a bag of cedar mulch left…so I covered up the rest of the camellia bed.

I also ripped out some of the scraggly vinca in the front flower bed. As much as I dislike removing still-blooming plants, the vinca grew into an unattractive shade of yellow and flopped around due to the lack of support. A stand of vinca still remains; I’ll be ripping that out soon. Hopefully, we’ll have a good amount of re-seedlings next year.

I got around to repotting my new Dallas (?) red lantana–not sure if this specimen is winter-hardy. No freezes yet, but I’m slowly transplanting the tender perennials and tropicals into their winter pots. I’m fairly confident I have all the pepper plants and basils I’ll need to carry me through winter, but I wouldn’t mind some color and variety either. (Remind self to bring sedum planter indoors during first freeze.)

I did get to observe a new bloom on the Midnight Blue rose, but it was yet too early in the morning to take a proper picture of it. If the weather permits, I’ll try to post it tomorrow. This may be the last flush of rose blooms before we prune it back.

Tomorrow’s forecast: highs in the 60s, lows in the 40s. Good-bye, flip-flop weather, for now.