Tuesday, October 2

Flower of the week is: Chrysanthemum

I look for myself but find no one. I belong to the chrysanthemum hour of bright flowers placed in tall vases. I should make an ornament of my soul.  Fernando Pessoa

Sunday, September 23

Garden projects I am doing right now-Portland, OR


This has been the strangest gardening season ever. It was a nice hot summer,  but a little too hot for my liking. You would think a hot summer would supply a nice harvest, Well, you would be wrong. Even though the hot weather plants put on a nice display early, they were already past their prime weeks too early. Oh well! That is what is so great about gardening. There is always next year and a new chance to have your best garden ever. With that thought in mind I thought I want to show you  what I am doing right now to get my garden ready for fall. I also will include any thoughts I have on what I will do better next year.

My Patio

The patio garden needs some work like everything else. Most of the bulbs and perennials have outgrown their containers and need to be transplanted into the garden. The patio is covered. and a future fall project is to spray down the furniture and do a general clean up. I will leave it to the spring to transplant the perennials and summer bulbs like lilies. I can generally leave the furniture set up until the rains here get bad which is generally in November.

Summer vine annual now flowering

This is a annual vine that I don't remember the name of (sorry).  It is quite common and grown from seed. I usually use plant labels, but  they often disappear. I need a better plant identification system. Back to that vine, it did pretty good except it is only now flowering. I like it because it is delicate and not over powering. I think it is supposed to flower earlier, but perhaps it hates hot weather.I will definitely grow it next year and maybe I can find what it is called latter. 

Problem tomatoes

This was a heirloom tomato variety that I never got to eat. It produced well, but all the tomatoes had large black bottoms. No, they are not supposed to have black bottoms. I had to get rid of the plant and its fruit. I am not sure if it is another heat victim. I just don't do good with heirloom tomatoes. Other types I do fine. Lesson learnt! Next year I am only going to grow a heirloom that someone recommends and will grow well in our short usually cooler summers. Other problems were cucumbers that tasted horrible. My mistake. I grew them too close to the squashes. Now I am wondering how my squash will taste. I just harvested them.It was too hot for the beans. They produced a handful of beans instead of the usual bucket full. Peas? What peas? No peas this year it was not cool enough. Just a few of the challenges this season.

The way to my secret  "Gulch Garden"

A side view of the entry into the "Gulch Garden"  The rose bed is against the fence.The roses look like they are going to flower again as they are budding up to bloom. I am going to  leave them be for now. They are not a priority in my garden for right now. There are too many other projects. Our winters are mild here so I usually prune away the dead twigs and blooms. This fall I would like to add some mulch around each rose. My biggest problem will be keeping the soil from getting water logged. Roses like to have their roots dry I have read.

Dusty Miller Annuals

Dusty Miller is one of the garden annuals that I love. I think I remember leaving a few of them in the ground last year and they came back in the Spring. Again we are lucky to have a mild climate and the ground rarely ever freezes in the winter in the city anyway. I have been keeping certain annuals like snapdragons in the ground for a few years now. This year I am leaving in my dahlia too see if it will be okay. I have one friend that has a dahlia garden and she never takes hers out. 


Side future succulent garden

This is a view of my future succulent garden. I did make a start this year . It is also where the goats next door escaped into the garden. As you can see the fence is learning over, so my neighbor propped part of it up with bricks that his goats latter removed. A new fence is on the agenda for next year. Luckily I rent, and it is my neighbors responsibility. Hopefully the propped up fence is only a quick fix.

Tulip bulbs ready to be planted

Spring bulbs get planted late September through November here in the Pacific NW.  I am getting an early start. My theory is that there is plenty out there for my animal visitors to eat so there is no need to dig up and eat my bulbs. I  often feel all eyes upon me when I have plant in the garden. Like they are waiting for me to leave to have a nice meal. That reminds me of another project. I packed too many bulbs in a patio container last year. It looked lovely at first with the first burst of blooms, but then the parrot tulips did not have any room to grow more than a few inches. I guess I will include that in my cleaning up the patio list.

View of "Gulch Garden"

This is the back "Gulch Garden".  I spent most of today in this part. Projects including cutting down lemon-balm, oregano and other herbs to dry inside for home use. This is also the area that I started planting the bulbs. I also topped off some of the beds with my homemade compost and planting some perennials  that I bought on sale,  but had never planted like bee balm. I love using my own compost, courtesy of  Cha Cha my rabbit. For next year I want to make more and also I liked having the small compost heap  close to where I needed to use it.

Home made compost

Here is a photo of the compost I was talking about. It took a year to breakdown, but basically I did nothing to it all year. I have tons of other fall projects so I just made a big list and work on the most important projects done to conserve energy and time. I still have to prepare my community beds for fall. Last year I covered them with black landscape material and it was great! No spring preparation. I just removed the fabric and planted right away. 

 This year I bought some buckwheat as a green manure or cover crop. Have you ever used it? You
sow this one in the fall . Then a few weeks before you want to plant in the spring you  chop it down and work it into the soil. It improves your soil by adding needed nutrients. I did it one year and I found it hard to pull out. I also hated waiting 2 weeks for the plants to die before I could plant. This time I will plan the removal better. So that is it for now, what fall projects are you doing now?


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