Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Memories of Fall

My antidote to the often gloomy days of winter is to surround myself with brilliant color. This gorgeous picture of peppers was taken by Kas when she and her husband were visiting Grand Forks. I didn't grow those beautiful peppers. They were grown at a local market garden called Deane Farms. Ian Deane claims to grow the best peppers in all of BC. I can't help but believe him.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Calamagrostis Karl Foerster survived the first snowfall

Usually the first snowfall takes down my beautiful hedge of Karl Foerster, but this year I guess the snow wasn't quite heavy enough to take the "bounce" out of the stems, so it recovered to its full glory within a few hours.

I have been dividing my plants to extend the length of the hedge, hence the plants are still a little small. Now that no more dividing needs to be done, I expect it will just look better every year.

This hedge is close to our deck, where we spend a lot of time in the summer. When there is a breeze blowing the Karl Foerster plants sway beautifully! After a rain or a watering, the flower heads droop badly, but it never ceases to amaze me at how they always return to the upright position.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mulching lawnmower

Earlier this year my husband bought a mulching lawn mower with a bag. Initially I was unhappy with the bag because I thought we would never use it. Afterall a mulching mower is all about leaving the finely chopped grass on the lawn.

However, despite mowing every 3 days, there was still an ugly deposit of grass clippings left on the lawn. It helped somewhat to run back over those clippings again and for the most part they got picked up. However I thought I would give the bag a try. It went against my priciples, but after I saw the results I am sure you can guess where the bag's permanent home is. Since I am a fanatic for organic matter, the grass clippings are always quickly employed as mulch for the flower beds.

So then of what use is a mulching mower? Now comes the good part! I had some bagged leaves left from the previous year. I spread them out on the lawn in a thin layer and ran over them with the mower. Wow, it not only picked up all the leaf debris, but gave me a bag of finely shredded leaves! Bag after bag of leaves were chopped and placed in flower beds as mulch. I found it helped if the leaves were dry when mowed. If they were wet they chopped up nicely but they didn't get picked up as well, resulting in some debris being left on the lawn. This is good for the lawn, but you might not like the look of it. A simple solution is to spread out the leaves a couple of hours before mowing. On a sunny day they dry very quickly.

This fall I have travelled with a sheet of plastic lining the back of my Subaru Forester. The back seats are down and I have been trolling the tree-lined streets of my small town, looking for bags of leaves left on the boulevard. People have come out to ask what I use them for. Sheesh I can't believe they have to ask and I can't understand why they are getting rid of such valuable material! Oh well, their loss is my gain.

With my 50-60 bags of leaves I feel like I have money in the bank. Next May, it will be converted to cash. Oops, mulch.

Monday, November 14, 2005


This shrub is always a pleasant surprise in the fall. It has beautiful creamy bottlebrush flowers in the spring, but all summer it allows the other plants to take center stage(s). Then in October it rises to the fore again, to become the most colorful plant in my garden.

As I was dealing with pesky fallen oak leaves I kept uncovering these gorgeous individual leaves. So I collected them and put them on the lawn to photograph. Despite numerous trips between the lawn and the computer, I was unable to really accurately capture them. This shot (with doctoring) was the closest I could come to an accurate depiction.

There are a lot of really nice pictures of the dwarf version, Fothergilla gardenii, on the website of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Garden Sculpture

A couple of years ago I found these two charming sculptures on an Italian website. I believe they were made using willow branches. Unfortunately I have not been able to find the site again, as I would like to give credit where credit is due. How I would love to make a pair like this for my garden!!!

Friday, November 04, 2005

There's gold in them there trees