Sunday, October 13, 2019


This week we had our first cold front of the season which blew in overnight dropping our morning temperature into the 50s. Unfortunately for gardens further north it meant a frost and for the Dakotas a lot of snow, but so far I am not ready to move tender plants into a safe place for the winter.  Plants had already started to respond to the shortening days even when it was in the 90s. This clump of Fall aster, Symphyotruchum oblongifolium, was a discard/plant rescue from our entry neighborhood landscaping.

This cooler weather should really get fall plants moving and I will try to add more of this plant by taking some cuttings.The disappointment was that the promised rain did not materialize. We only got 2/10"
The cobweb tradescantia, Tradescantia sillamontana, lives in a sheltered corner of the herb garden. It makes a low growing ground cover blooming in the fall.

It begins to look as though I will be removing the Zephirine drouihin rose this winter and replacing it with another rose. This summer has killed much of the growth. Such a pity as for the first time I decided to intertwine a clematis though the rose. The clematis, Brother Stephan bloomed in the spring with a blue flower. Now it is blooming again with a much darker flower. Plants that bloom in the spring and fall are always an added bonus.

 Will it be blue again next Spring?

The good news is that I have been able to get out in the garden a little more this past week. The week before chemo I can eat more, many side effects have worn off and I generally have more energy. Almost all the work outside involves taking things out and cutting things back. I am trying to clear all the plants out of the pathways in the vegetable garden. Why is it that so many plants like the gravel pathways. All the gomphrenas, be the globular pink, purple, strawberry flowered as well as  Gomphrena globosa 'Fireworks' are the main summer/fall flowering plants which seed among my vegetable beds. Fireworks has a large tap root which is very difficult to remove and even overwinters in many places.

The flowers on the candlestick plant, Cassia alata, or Senna alata, are finally opening. Only 8 weeks since the seedling poked its head through the ground. I shall have to find a place to grow this in the garden next year but not in the vegetable bed. I wonder if it is deer-proof? Its absence from neighborhood gardens may answer to that question.

There is plenty of Gregg's Blue mist flower, Conoclinium greggi, but there is an absence of Queen butterflies or for any other butterflies this year. The garden is usually filled with butterflies in the fall.

Both the perennial shrimp plant, Justica brandegeeana and blue plumbago, Plumbago auriculate, are  rather rambling plants but they arrive late in the season and die back during the winter.

The surface of the stock tank garden had become overcrowded with parrots feather, Myriophyllum aquatic.

I cut back many of the water lily leaves covering the surface of the water and pulled out parrots feather, with its enormous long dangling roots.  I feared for the little fish and how dark and tanged their summer must have been. But they were soon swimming about on the surface and I gave them some fish food. All the water iris need repotting as they are bursting out of their containers and the sedge has taken a beating this summer. New growth around the edges needs to be removed and repotted. As soon as we get freezing temperatures I will move a couple of the plants into plastic buckets in the greenhouse so they survive the winter.
There's plenty of work to do out in the fall garden before I can begin to plant the starts of broccoli, kale, chard and pakchoi seedlings waiting under grow lights in the house. Maybe later this week. And the iris need dividing and their leaves cut back the thyme bed needs renewing. One job at a time.


  1. To my way of thinking, gravel paths and cracks in the sidewalk are the original crevice gardens. They keep the soil moist and cool. Asters are just so wonderful this time of year, I am going to divide my single plant, too. Do you know which works better, cuttings or root division?

    1. You are right, they are. I know that many enjoy the cool root run under the Arizona sandstone pavers in my sunken garden.

  2. That's a lovely aster and I adore the Clematis. I'm glad to hear that your temperatures have moderated and that you're able to get outside in the garden more often. Best wishes Jenny.

  3. The Cobweb Tradescantia is lovely! My understanding is that the other Senna's--S. hebecarpa and S. marilandica are rarely browsed by deer or rabbits, so perhaps that's the case for yours, too. I planted S. hebecarpa this year, and the rabbits didn't touch it. Regarding the low numbers of butterflies--perhaps they're just later this year? We had mild weather here in the north until a few days ago. I'm glad your weather is much more comfortable now. :)

  4. It is so nice so hear you feel strong enough to be about in your garden. I am so sorry you are going through this rough patch. Iris are my favorite old garden flower - they are so strong and resilient. I am often amazed as I drive through small towns during the heat of summer to see the old iris faithfully soldiering through summer - green blades standing tall. Oh that I will be so fortunate! If you have the time, would you take some pictures and show us how it is done? Hoping Austin gets rain soon - it is so terribly dry there!

  5. No matter what the season there is always something to do in the garden. I am envious that you are just getting ready to start planting seedlings. Will be well after Christmas before I can get some going. Have fun planting.


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