Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fall gardening

It's been way tooo long since I've really gotten my hands in the dirt and done any serious digging and planting. Oh, I've cleaned out a bed or two, but I haven't planted much lately. I've missed the dirt under my fingernails, the feel of the trowel, the ease of using my old favorite spading fork, the color of aged compost, the smells of earth and plants. I was way overdue for a good gardening afternoon. So today, since I didn't have a football game to go to, I made a trip to Bradford's Nursery in Concord where Andrew and I feasted our eyes on the colorful array of pansies, snapdragons, pinks, mums, and other fall favorites. Andrew helped me pick out three flats of pansies and some snapdragons. I also bought three ornamental kale plants and a couple of perennial Baptisia plants to replace the one I lost a year ago.

Then I noticed, over on the side beyond the perennials, something I've been wanting for awhile. Pink muhly grass has gorgeous floating, waving, subtle pink plumes. They "bloom" in the fall and are very appealing for their airy, feathery movement in the slightest breeze. If you ever drive on Harris Boulevard near Sharon Amity, you might have noticed the thick drifts of delicate pink waving grass plumes in the median strip. That's pink muhly grass. They are stunning right now. If you haven't seen them and are near that area, drive by and take a look! Anyway, I am now the happy owner of one specimen of pink muhly grass. This is my first foray into growing grasses and I HAD to start with this one since it's my very favorite! I am imagining a portion of my back terrace with this, and perhaps several more grasses. I was pretty intrigued by a miscanthus with curlicue stems, but I was already over my alloted plant funds so I resisted. Anyway, I've still got to get that terrace finished before I get any more plants!

Once home, I cleaned out the front garden, moved a couple of perennials, and forked over the open spaces in the bed. I spread composted manure, sprinked the free fertilizer that they give out at Bradfords, and had a delightful time planting the fall annuals. My garden does not look like the very orderly beds of pansies and snaps that you see all over the area right now. Oh no - no suburban neighborhood entry garden look for me! Mine is much more free form, with pansies, snaps, and ornamental kales snuggled in amongst lantanas, black-eyed susans, and coneflowers that are on their way out; a butterfly bush that gives a bit of structure to the garden in winter; a past-prime bronze fennel whose seeds attract the finches; foxgloves, foam flowers and heucheras that are a promise for next season and lemon thyme and lemon balm whose scents waft into the air whenever I brush by them. Mmmmm.

I still have pansies to plant in the back top terrace, as well as the perennials mentioned above that will go in the back. I also bought collard seedlings which really should have gone in a month ago, but then I couldn't bear to pull the tomatoes that early. I'm also planning to move all the daylilies to the back and dig some Lenten roses from a friend's garden for the shady side of the front bed.

Of course, the evening drew on much too fast. Hungry stomachs called and I reluctantly went inside to cook dinner. This morning the bright faces of the pansies greeted me on my way down the walkway on my way to church. I'm looking forward to greeting these new garden friends in the months ahead. Smiling flower faces - that's a southern fall and winter pleasure.

5 comments:

the Olsons said...

Yep, smiling flower faces sure are a southern fall and winter pleasre! We're hanging on to our mums at the barn as long as possible, but all the other flowers have long since succumbed to the cold, and since we're up on a windy hilltop, almost all of the leaves have already blown off the trees as well. Oh well, they make a lovely crunching sound underfoot and fill the woods with that lovely fall scent when we go on trail rides.

I can't wait to make gardens at our new house! You'll have to come up next spring to help me plan and put gardens in. ;)

michelle said...

Sounds like a wonderful day! I didn't ever go out back when I was at your home last month...I guess the broken foot kept me in. Can you post some pictures of your gardens?

Nicole said...

Sounds like a realxing and fun day! Can't wait to see the additions!

Melanie said...

I wish I had your green thumb! Your fall flowers sound really pretty as do their location in your garden. I agree with Michelle - you should post some pictures!

Kelly said...

Sounds lovely...