Monday, October 31, 2011

Frost on Digitalis grandiflora

  Perennial yellow foxgloves (Digitalis grandiflora) is pretty even in ice. I am glad that they decided to join us again this year by reblooming in September on the Shade Path.

 More on Gilmore Gardens' new season soon.

I have my work cut out for me this week in the garden... and as long as l can keep my fingers and toes from freezing, I will enjoy every minute of it!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Frost this morning...

Clematis on the butterfly trellis by the Circle Lawn
I am encouraged this morning by remembering that this frosty beauty is part of the process of  
               creating art in the garden.
                                                All must fall for spring to rise.

There are reports that Sissinghurst Castle is likely to have its frost any day now too. There is also comfort in commonality. All gardens, big and small, ancient and new, will face this fate: to live through the harshest part of their year in order to enjoy the season to come.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall Gardening Task #4: Save the Cosmos!

Somehow I cannot keep myself from running around trying to save every little flower that still has life from the impending frost.

My garage is stuffed with potted ferns, flats of begonias, a few choice impatients and a couple of large fushias.  And in the house, we have some bouquets for the weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Eric Peters in concert at Gilmore Gardens

At the beginning of October, our garden was one of the stops for Nashville singer/songwriter Eric Peters on his Under the Radar concert tour. We enjoyed meeting Eric for the first time back in May. (Go here to see one of his songs featured on WMG.)

Friends seated around our small backyard for an afternoon of music.
Our patio did a great job disguising itself as a stage for this event.

Some fall cookies & cider for extra cheer.
Music for the finches and nuthatches to dine to.
Thanks to Eric and Sam Smith from the Rabbit Room for making the trip up to PA to share a Saturday with us! Oh, and for appreciating the garden tour! 
(You do not think I would let them get away without that, do you?!)

Next up on the Gilmore Cultural Series: 
"Doe a deer, a female deer" performed by Anna, my dynamic three-year-old. Inspired by her first viewing of The Sound of Music.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dahlia 'Peaches 'n Cream'

Dahlia 'Peaches 'n Cream'
 I could not let October go by without posting a few more of the photos I have from this garden beauty, Dahlia 'Peaches 'n Cream'.

She is situated in our Driveway Garden and has reached nearly 6 feet (her tag said to expect 48 inches). She just started blooming this month, so I am glad that our frost held off so that we could see some blooms! (Though I see today that it is expected on Oct 28th in our area... *sigh*. All good things must come to an end, until heaven.)
Dahlia 'Peaches 'n Cream' in her early days
Sited in our Driveway Garden by the sidewalk and strapped to the trellis
Catching the morning sun... you might remember this shot from GBBD October
I love all of the variation in her coloring.
Perfect coloring for October, especially in front of our yellow maples.
I started all my dahlias this year (also see D. 'Heat Wave') in pots in our basement in April. I placed them on my little pot rack, gave them a little water and brought them out into the ambient light from the window bit by bit as they started to send out shoots. They were over a foot tall by the time they went in the garden in June.

Hope you can enjoy a sunny day today wherever you are in the world!
It is rain for us, which is not all bad... perfect planting weather, if you can convince yourself you do not mind getting a little wet.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Glimpses of the Driveway Garden in October

Purple Aster 'Peter III' above our pumpkin and a nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) blossom from the Front Woodland.
Foliage contrast with Lavendula 'Munstead', Sedum 'Acre', Fescue 'Elijah Blue', pixie lilies and a dwarf arbor vitae.
Aster 'Peter III', salmon hardy mum Dendranthema 'Sheffield Pink' and dwarf miscanthus grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Dixieland').
Rose OSO Easy Paprika
Dahlia 'Peaches 'n Cream' reaching up to 6 foot by the sidewalk.
...note my little garden pixie peeping out the window.

Just some photos to savor more of fall at Gilmore Gardens.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Hill Garden on an October morning...

View down the Front Walk to the Hill Garden
Canna 'King Humbert' with Echinacea purpurea and tufts of shasta daisy foliage (see July).
I love it in front of  the yellow fall foliage!
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) will be left up for the whole winter.
Still some rosy glow, thankfully!
I am scheming some succession posts for the winter months... but if you want to take a look for yourself, I have a rough outline in the Hill Garden in July post.

I hope those of you who garden in the cool areas of the northern hemisphere are able to savor these last fleeting garden moments of the year! Take an extra walk around your garden or the park today to drink it in!

Once you have finished enjoying this foliage for October, you might enjoy going on to Christina at Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides to read about more foliage across the world for Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day, which is the 22nd of each month.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Gardening Task #3: Move and Thin Perennial Seedlings

Oh, what a wonderful sight!
Columbine (Aquilegia) seedlings around the Circle Lawn
Baby flowers everywhere. But we want them all to thrive, instead of smothering each other.  And there are some areas in the garden that are void of these Columbine (Aquilegia) beauties. The solution is simple: pluck them out with a japanese knife (my favorite tool) or a trowel and set them to growing in the bare areas.

This is my favorite kind of gardening. Leisurely.
Here, there and everywhere amongst the geraniums, sedums and turf.
Firstly, it is always better to transplant little babies like these on cloudy or rainy days in spring or fall. 

Do not be afraid to pop them out, even large sections of seedlings. I usually put them in a large pot (steer clear the holes or use a box instead!), divide them apart from each other and then walk around the rest of the garden thinking about where a nice patch of columbine would add some color at the end of May. 

Be sure the soil in their new home is loose, not compacted. Dig tiny holes and be sure that, when you put them in, they are not planted too deeply.  Their tiny crowns need to be just at soil level. If you do not have the advantage of rain after planting, then give them a gentle, tiny sprinkle for their new tiny hole.  I prefer swaths of flowers, so I often plant several seedlings in the same area... some times dozens in a larger area.

Columbine, forget-me-nots and foxglove foliage in May this year.
In the fall, I thin my columbine (Aquilegia), forget-me-nots (Myosotis) and foxgloves (Digitalis). I might also find other little babies that I would like to have more of around the base of their parent plants. Large sections of my garden were covered in just a few years with the extra care in moving these seedling babies around.

You will be richly rewarded for your cold, rainy work come next year!

Read more from the Fall Gardening Tasks series:
#1 Planting Lavender in wet climates
#2 New perennials for fall planting

Monday, October 17, 2011

What is my plant hardiness zone?

A wonderful web resource for finding out what plant cold hardiness zone in the US you are gardening in:

Go the the page and type in your zip code, or select your state in the index list.

For instance, when I looked at the map of Pennsylvania, I was able to see that it is not all my fault that some of my plants did not survive the winter! Negative 20 degrees F (-28 C) is pretty cold!! Since I am in zone 5, I can see that I should expect to use plants that will survive temperatures down to negative 20 degrees F.

The caveat to counting on plant hardiness zones is that one must remember that they are averages. There will be times and places which will experience colder or warmer temperatures from the rest of the area.

For example, if you garden way out in the country it will get colder than if you garden in town.
In town, with lots of buildings and paving around your lot, you might be a zone warmer.
Another twist might be that a sheltered area in a warm spot of your yard (called a microclimate) might only be warmer for summertime; it may also be a frost pocket because the winter wind funnels into it (advice stolen from one of my favorites, C. Lloyd).  

Each garden - and even each spot in your garden - has its own characteristics.

But still, this is very useful information for getting you into the ballpark, so to speak.
Gilmore Gardens in October in Zone 5

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day ~ October 2011

Dahlia 'Peaches 'n Cream'
Some floriferous views from Gilmore Gardens!
Welcome to our Pennsylvania, USA garden (hardiness zone 5). We are fortunate not to have had our first frost yet this month. Sometimes the snow flies on October 1st! Most of the plantings are similar to those from September, but the asters are not to be missed this month. And my favorite are on the Shade Path garden, which lives between our home and the sidewalk...
The Shade Path:
Begonia 'Big Rex', white-flowered native aster (Doellingeria umbellata) and Digitalis grandiflora.
Our Shade Path is still stuffed with flowers. I know that its days are numbered, so I am trying to soak up the color so that it will last me until March. The native flat-topped aster (Doellingeria umbellata) floats like a cloud over the rest of the pink and yellow planting. The yellow perennial foxgloves (Digitalis grandiflora) have been blooming strong since I first sighted them in September (see their first bloom in June).
Sedum 'Frosty Morn' under Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium).
Dark-leaved annual begonias with chartreuse Sedum 'Acre' and under hung by the white flat-topped aster.
Evening light through the trellises around the Circle Lawn, at the end of the Shade Path.

Cherry Corner & the Front Walk:
Reds and purples have been the themes in the annual plantings this year for these gardens in front of the house.
Dahlia 'Heat Wave' has over three dozen blooms in the Front Walk this weekend.
Canna 'King Humbert' and Dahlia 'Heat Wave' with pink cosmos at their feet.
Canna 'King Humbert' in the October morning light.
Catmint (Nepeta 'Walker's Low') re-blooming under the dahlias. (See it in June.)

The Hill Garden:
View of the Hill Garden from the driveway.
Our Hill Garden gets the "best transformation" award (see it before). I so enjoy walking all the way around it and appreciating how the plantings have filled in the past three years. The bushes have more substance, as well as the perennials I have divided and seeded here. It is amazing to remember that it all came from about a dozen pots!
Rosa 'The Fairy' is pop pink in front of Sedum 'Acre'. Last year it bloomed for Thanksgiving in the snow (see it here).
Purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) that I seeded here, in front of Sedum 'Autumn Joy' and Canna 'King Humbert'.
Another shot of the pink tapestry on the Hill. Purple barberry bushes behind Rosa 'The Fairy'.
Seed heads of Allium tuberosum leaning over the lamb's ears, Sedum 'Autumn Joy' and barberry bushes.
Stachys byzantina, Sedum 'Autumn Joy', purple barberry, Canna 'King Humbert'.
My giant patch of lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina) all came from one pot just two years ago. It is happy here... very well drained and sunny.

The Driveway Garden:
A brilliant yellow backdrop for the Driveway Garden.
I could not resist adding a foliage photo for this garden. All of the mature maples in our back yard turn a brilliant yellow in October, which makes the perfect setting for the flowers that are blooming.
Miscanthus 'Dixieland' in front of purple Aster 'Peter III'
Loving my last grass purchase! I can't appreciate enough the lightness added to this boarder by the white variegation of Miscanthus 'Dixieland'... especially in contrast to the vibrant purple of Aster hybrida 'Peter III'.

Dahlia 'Peaches 'n Cream' soaring over the Driveway Garden.
We have one more dahlia in the gardens this year, Dahlia 'Peaches 'n Cream'. My girls prefer calling it the "candy corn flower", as the color graduation on its petals matches that of the beloved fall candy. (The front of this flower can be seen in the opening photo for this post.)

Pumpkins brightening our walk to the car.
Thank you for joining us for the October garden walk!
We are really happy with the garden this fall and hope that you have enjoyed it too!

A big THANKS to Carol at May Dreams for hosting GBBD! Visit her to see more flowers from gardens around the world!

If you are interested in keeping up with Gilmore Gardens at Wife, Mother, Gardener, just take a look at the right-hand column. 
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