That’s a Wrap — A Growing Season “Summer”y

We got our first snowflakes today! Overall, this weekend has been very cold, but after snowflakes flew this morning, it ended up being nice and sunny, so I went out and took a hike in an area park to get some nice autumn pictures.

Ellicott Creek in the fall.

Ellicott Creek in the fall.


Because it was so cold, I am thankful I got most of my yard work done when I did, even though now I am questioning myself as to whether or not I planted my spring bulbs too early this year. My parents came up to visit us (the first time since my daughter’s birthday in April– their social calendar is busier than mine), and I wanted to show my mom all my work that I had done in my back yard, and I came across this:

My bulbs are confused by the warm fall weather we are having!

My bulbs are confused by the warm fall weather we are having.

I noticed that in the new extended spring bulb bed that I made, that some of them are popping up. I hope this doesn’t mean that I have lost them until the following spring. Western New York has had an unseasonably warm October, with temps in the 60s and 70s, I have even notice that my clematis and a few of my coneflower varieties have new blooms!

I just hope they still manage to come up in the spring. Good thing it was only a few bulbs and not a lot. After seeing this yesterday, I went out this morning with my daughter and noticed that the deer ate a good part of my ryusen weeping japanese maple. That depressed me a little, but I know it’s too early to start wrapping things up, so I will do the “wait and see” for the next couple of days. If it becomes more frequent, I will have to start covering things earlier than I would like.

The deer are now taking a liking to my little Japanese Maple.

The deer are now taking a liking to my little Japanese Maple.

Looking at this carnage somehow got me thinking about the past growing season– what I did right, what I did wrong, and I what I would do better next year.

Most Improved Duty: Watering 

Yes, I must say, I worked really hard this year, especially after purchasing three trees, to make sure everything was watered. I learned my lesson last year when I didn’t water my arborvitae enough and they died over the winter because they lost more water than they had. I want to make sure everything has an adequate water supply as we go into the winter. I am even watering in the fall here, when we go without rain for extended periods of time.

What I Need to Work On: Plant Placement

Ok, so this one is kind of a misleading title. I mean, gardening itself is a process where you are constantly moving things to another place to see if does better, or transplanting because they are outgrowing their place, etc., etc. I think sometimes I get so plant crazy that I end up planting things too close together and then there isn’t any room for them to grow when they actually mature. Maybe I am just worrying too much, but I just want everything, and with such little space to plant things, I wonder if I am crowding some out!

What I Need Work On: Taking Better Care of my Containers

I will tell you I need to water these better than I do. Containers always dry out faster, and I somehow seem to neglect them. I must be better with this next year!

What I Did Well On: Creating Balance

I can honestly say that I feel I have finally created zen with everything that I have planted. It feels good, nothing is lopsided like it used to be, and it genuinely makes me happy. Even after tearing out everything behind my garage for a third time in two years, I can now say I am satisfied. I actually feel like I know what I am doing.

So, how did your garden do this past growing season? What would you like to do differently next time?

Fall for Some Autumn-Blooming Plants!

I can’t believe this is the last weekend in August! Actually, I can, because fall is in the air. The past week or so, the mornings and nights have been much cooler. We are now in Indian Summer, and everybody’s gardens are winding down– veggies are being harvested, flowers are exhausting themselves. I look at pictures of my gardens in the early half of summer, and I’m sad to think it’s almost over. I can’t be too sad though– I do have to remember that I have a few fall-blooming plants that will keep that waning summer spark alive for just a little longer. I am constantly striving for a four season garden!

Move over, mums and asters, there are a bunch of great plants for fall interest!!!

So, what are some fall blooming plants and flowers you should consider for your landscape?


Toad Lily (above) – this is a beautiful orchid-like flower that blooms in later summer to early fall. I had been on the hunt for these and was lucky enough to find two different types. This will definitely give me something to swoon over for the fall season!

Beautyberry — I LOVE this plant. I was so happy when I found it. This plant has these beautiful purple berries that develop during the fall. The berries on my plant have already started to turn purple! This is a great accent plant for any landscape!

If there is one plant you should have for fall color, the beautyberry is it!

If there is one plant you should have for fall color, the beautyberry is it!

Morning Glory- this beautiful annual vine is just about ready to bloom for me. They tend to bloom in late summer to early fall. I can’t wait to see this beauty.

**Something to consider when it comes to a four season garden is using then same “venue” for climbing plants such as the Morning Glory. Now that my Clematis has exhausted itself, I planted Morning Glory seeds behind the trellis I had for it. I now have a Clematis for the summer and a Morning Glory for the fall– I will always have a visual interest in that spot.

As one vine dies away for the season, another one is ready to bloom!

As one vine dies away for the season, another one is ready to bloom!

Japanese Maple – I own two different types of these trees, and the one thing you can count on for this tree is great fall foliage. If you have a small yard like me, These trees are the way to go! I am so happy my little Crimson Queen Japanese Maple has leaves again! It was fried in the sun when construction started on my house.

My little fried Japanese Maple came back to life with beautiful red leaves!

My little fried Japanese Maple came back to life with beautiful red leaves!

Other trees and plants to consider for a great fall show:

  • Monkshood — beautiful, showy blooms, but a very poisonous plant. I am looking into purchasing one of these if I can find it!
  • Oak-leafed Hydrangea — the hydrangea is a beautiful plant to begin with, but add some beautiful leaves that turn a bright orange during the fall, and you have showstopper as part of your “yard-scape”.
  • Japanese Anemone/Fall-Blooming Anemones — it may take a year or two for these plants to get established, but when they do, it will be worth it! They love part sun and will become a 12-inch ground cover.
  • Sugar Maple — These big shade trees have the most beautiful colors.

Don’t Forget:

  • Goldenrod– you aren’t allergic to this. You are allergic to the ragweed that happens to come out at this time, but does not flower.
  • Joe Pye Weed
  • Sneezeweed
  • Sedum— I have the Autumn Joy Sedum and the unique texture of this adds a different element to your garden.

There are many more fall blooming plants out there that I have listed, or don’t even know exist, but what every single one of them will do for you is bring you great joy right up to winter!