The end of the season

Summer rolled on into fall.  I coaxed along the new additions to the garden and weeded, weeded, weeded.

The summer was initially hot (90F+) and dry. Of course, this was exactly at the time we were away in Spain. Most of the plants survived, thanks to some watering from our next-door neighbor.

It then proceeded to rain, rain, rain throughout the summer and fall. This hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing for the new plantings — except the serviceberry near the house. As their leaves yellowed and dropped, I consulted the landscape design company who had put them in, and they confirmed it was orchard cedar rust. They promised to bring some spray and never did — which was actually a relief, since we’re attempting to be as close to organic as possible. I tried spot applications of Neem oil as an environmentally responsible fix, taking great care to avoid any insects. Any progress was challenged by more rains. We can only wait and see what happens come spring.

Come fall, with local greenhouse sales, the next job was designing and adding a small woodland section in the area up next to the front bed, mostly green-leafed coral bells (huechera) and maidenhair ferns.  That’s just a starting point and there’s more envisioned next year.  Add another item to the list!

The area behind the house surrounding the barn was the last big project of the year.  It’s mostly wooded, and the former residents obviously must have followed the motto, “out of sight, out of mind.”  What a mess.  It’s been a major, ongoing project. We discovered a junk pile that doubled as a grass clippings mound hidden in a weedy tangle of wineberry and honeysuckle when we moved in last year. The piece de resistance:  a toppled garden shed was uncovered once the tangle was cleared. We had help from a few guys digging out the shed, but the job of removing the brush and garbage pile was all ours.  A contractor doing work for us let us use his dumpster, and in went the array of junk:  electrical piping, a bent and rusty outdoor laundry rack, plastic house plants (mind-blowing for a gardener!) and unrecognizable small metal parts, beer bottles, baling twine, and other dubious finds.

The area would still benefit from a delivery of soil or compost, as it also appears to have been a rock dumping pile for at least a couple of decades. Add another task to the growing 2019 list!  But in the areas we’ve cleared, the end of the season focused on planting ostrich fern (no, we won’t be harvesting them!) and a couple of other natives (‘Little Joe’ Joe Pye weed and big leaf aster) to begin to restore the woodland. There are two magnificent, old black walnuts directly next to and behind the barn, so you now know the drill regarding plant selections.

That just about wraps up our 2018 newsletter report. As we entered into the second year in this new home, I’d like think we did a respectable amount — and I didn’t even list the continued battle with woodland invasives, one of M’s ongoing projects.

Today we ring in 2019. Some time for a long winter nap and a break? Not likely. The season never truly ends for those who love to garden