Yes, FINALLY, we did get some rain: a few blessed inches at the end of September. We’re still about 8 inches behind for the year, and it doesn’t look like there will be more soaking rain for a while, but it was better than nothing. It was enough, at least, to freshen things up a bit over the past few weeks.
Still not anywhere near the glorious abundance I expect to see this time of year, but well….even with the difficulties posed by this growing season, there were a few new stars.
Speaking of seeds…I guess I should mention at this point that I won’t be doing my usual seed giveaway this year. With the lack of rain and all, I just wasn’t able to collect much. Sorry to all who were looking forward to the supply of free seeds; maybe next year.
Though blooms were sparse for much of the summer, there are some now. Hooray for the asters and goldenrods, especially.
The colchicums certainly didn’t mind that the soil was so dry while they were dormant.
A few other odds and ends in the bloom category include…
Though the warm-season grasses are significantly shorter this year, they’re still part of the October show.
Some early bits of colored foliage, along with fall fruits and seedheads, are also making it worthwhile to get out into the garden and meadow.
The garden as a whole is nothing to brag about, but a few parts don’t look too bad from a distance.
What pleases me most is that the pasture grass is growing, so the boys can spend their days grazing again. Bored alpacas are not happy alpacas.
Ah, seeing the solar panels reminds me…I don’t often endorse products or businesses, but I want to give a special thanks to the folks of Exact Solar in Yardley, PA. After 3 years of trouble-free solar production, my panels started producing erratically this summer, and I discovered that the company who had done my installation has since disappeared. After trying to get help from several other companies, I finally found Exact Solar. With one phone call, they were able to fix the problem for me and didn’t even charge for their time: amazing! If we’re not going to get rain, at least I can be happy with sunny days again.
Since gardening as a hobby hasn’t been much fun this year, I’ve been working on some garden-related crafts over the past few months, in preparation for some upcoming artisan fairs. I’ve been finishing some more of the botanical castings I made in spring and summer, such as these two.
Then I got intrigued by other possibilities for “printing” with plants. I made a few cyanotypes, then tried my hand at solar printing: painting wet silk with textile paint, placing bits of leaves and flowers on it, and then setting it in the sun to dry.
Then I got immersed in a technique called eco printing: using steam to transfer flower and leaf colors and shapes. I tried it first on silk and the results were intriguing.
It’s very difficult to predict or replicate results with the process, so each attempt gives surprising results. It requires a lot of patience but is an interesting option for dyeing fabric without using chemical mordants.
I was even more excited by the results I got from eco printing on heavy watercolor paper. It was fascinating to discover which plants worked particularly well and which didn’t.
Then I remembered something else I wanted to try, based on an idea that was featured in Gardens Illustrated magazine a while back: an advent calendar composed of pressed flowers, leaves, and seedheads, with Lexicon cards on the back to spell out a holiday message as you turn over the mini-herbarium tags. It took ages to make two of them but I am thrilled with the results.
Besides getting ready for these shows, I’m going to be very busy for the next few months writing and gathering photography for a single-issue perennials magazine, so I’m going to be taking a break from blogging for a while (probably until March). I wish you all a glorious rest-of-the-fall and a peaceful winter. And in the meantime, don’t forget to check out the list of participants in this month’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day at Carol’s GBBD post at May Dreams Gardens.
I am passionate about collecting and growing seeds. In the links below, you can find out more about why I started my own one-person seed company and how it works. The library page is a collection of articles I've written on seed-related topics.
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23 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – October 2016”
What a really talented lady you are, love your Botanical castings! Also love your Celosia, what amazing foliage! You have so many beautiful flowers for this time of year, the bees must love your garden.
Good morning, Pauline, and thank you! Yes, that ‘Dragon’s Breath’ celosia is outstanding just as a foliage plant. We had a hard frost overnight, and I’m disappointed that I won’t be able collect seed, but I will be sure to buy a new packet for next year. And the number of honeybees around right now is a happy sight: The asters are quivering with all of the activity.
Wonderful and inspiring photos as we, too, (in Southern Maine) just had our first hard frost this morning. Love the eco printing – and the advent calendar is stunning! Unfortunately we did not get the rain others did recently – no significant rain since May, so we’re officially in “Extreme Drought” yet many of the perennials (especially natives, even ferns) are doing fine, even with no watering recently. Recently planted shrubs, though, have gotten special treatment with the hose. Many thanks and Bonne Hiver!
I really feel for you, Ginny. This is the first year since I started gardening that I was happy to have frost signal the end of the growing season. Winter brings its own challenges, but at least we can use the time to look forward to a better summer next year. And you’re right: the natives have been the real stars throughout the drought!
Ah – lama-girl :-)
Dear Nancy, I remember you from way back. Good to see that you are so happy. This post radiates joy. All your endeavours and your Oudolf style fields are a pleasure to see. Just keep your camera steady, will you :-) or use a tripod. Your subject-matter is worth it. Glorious stuff.
Hey there, Joanna! So glad you stopped by today. I hope you’re enjoying the end of the season in your part of the world. Happy Bloom Day to you!
Hi Nan – Those eco prints are lovely !!!! One more thing to add to my ‘spare time fun’ list. Thanks for the continued inspiration.
Hi Tiiu! You can find lots of info on eco printing on Pinterest. I particularly recommend checking out Cassandra Tondro’s site: her leaf prints are gorgeous.
Hi Nan, another fabulous, interesting and idea-filled blog! I love all the new crafts you have been up to. I especially like the advent calendar idea. What a great gift for a gardener. The clematis casting is gorgeous! Such great ideas and you’re right, a great way to pass a summer with lots of drought. Your cotton looks awesome! I really enjoyed starting them from seed (thank you!) and the dark leaf color never disappointed. We’re going to have another warm-up next week and I’m curious to see if the bolls open. It was very slow going and then finally started ramping up very late in the summer. Beautiful plant. What a comeback your grass paths made. Isn’t grass great that way? Knows just what to do! Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden.
Good morning to you, Susan! Hooray for the resilience of grasses, at least. I’m glad you enjoyed seeing some of the non-gardening projects; the post would have been pretty short otherwise. May the warm spell be enough to get your cotton matured. I kept mine in the greenhouse again the year. It was so hot that even the heat-loving cotton stopped flowering for a while, but at least it got the bolls that did form to ripen a bit sooner than usual.
Tea at 4 in the morning and spending time with your post…..what a lovely way to start my morning…and always giving me new inspiration and ideas. Love seeing the mature deschampsia and being able to say, “hey, I have that !”…many thanks to you.
That’s wonderful to hear, Sherry; thanks! I wonder why Deschampsia is so often overlooked: It’s such a nice size, stays in clumps, and complements so many other plants.
Sorry to hear you are not doing your seed give away. I have ordered from you in the past and have added some interesting new plants to my gardens. In regard the Salvia Reptans you are correct in thinking what plants it should be placed with. I forgot I even had purchased and planted it and then mid August they started blooming in among the Blanketflower and Glorioso daisys. It is a wonderful combination. Good luck with your holiday shows.
Mmmm…I can envision how good your salvia combination must look: well done! Sorry about the seeds, but I wouldn’t have had much of anything new and exciting anyway. I have hopes for a more abundant and interesting harvest next year.
I’ve never had luck with asters as they seem to be a favorite of ‘critters’. I agree that this hot summer was not a gardener’s delight.
Hi Denise! Yes, rabbits, in particular, seem to enjoy nibbling on asters. Even though there are a lot of rabbits here, there are enough asters for all of them and lots to spare. I can’t even remember the last time I actually planted one; I just let them seed around or blow in from the meadow.
It may not be what you were hoping for but it is still an inspiration as your garden pix and posts always are. And what a wealth of other ideas and ways to use our gardens as the springboard for art.
Aw, thank you for that, Linda. And yes, it was so fascinating to discover and experiment with some of the many ways folks have found to capture and preserve the beauty of plants beyond traditional photography.
Your fall garden is beautiful, Nancy. How did you frame the clematis seedheads casting? I’d like to do that with the one I purchased from you. Did you glue it into the frame? P. x
Hi Pam! The one in the photo here is a rosewood trivet frame from Dick Blick: http://www.dickblick.com/products/wood-trivet-frames/. They have other finishes and a variety of sizes. If you’d prefer to finish the frame yourself, check out Nasco: https://www.enasco.com/product/9723856?gclid=CI3wn6GJ3c8CFYUehgodfqkLKg. Searching for “trivet frames” on Google will bring up other sources and sizes. Another option is to check online art-supply stores (like Dick Blick) for cradled wood painting panels; you can mount the tile on the flat side or reverse the panel and use it as a shadowbox-type frame. Yes, I used a touch of Loc-Tite to attach the casting to the frame.
You have a gift for turning lemons into lemonade. I appreciated reading your post and seeing you images. Hearing from you is always a treat. However, knowing that the next Hayefield post will not be until next year will make for a long winter. May you have great success at the next two festivals!
Good morning, John! If I make it through the magazine project with a few brain cells left, I might be back in February. But yeah, it’s going to be weird not blogging for a while. Thank you for the good wishes. I’m very excited about the shows. The events at Linden Hill always include some really talented crafters and draw great crowds. My best to you and the family!
Celosia really seems to be having its moment. I’m trying a few and have seen lots on Instagram this year. I trialed Salvia reptans a few years ago and thought it had promise too — but then the bog sage is the toughest, easiest blue vertical for me that I’m relying on it for the moment. Have a great winter working on all your amazing projects. Looking forward to the magazine.
Funny, isn’t it, how plants come in and out of favor? Nice to know that celosia is having its moment. I should give bog sage a try; it would probably like it here. Thanks for the reminder!
Yeah, Nan! Delighted to see your blog back. Sad to hear it’s the last until spring. Interesting about the purple leaved peach. Also the Lespedeza capitata. I web searched the latter as I had heard of it but until your pic hadn’t seen it. Looks like it grows in a sort of spike formation? Anyway, happy fall and winter to you, too. Summerhouse glass roof on, now figuring out the gables.
Hi Barbara. There’s a commercially available selection of the peach called ‘Bonfire’, if you’re interested in trying it. Mine is a seedling from someone else’s seedling tree, and it seems to match the description of ‘Bonfire’; it just doesn’t have a spiffy name. I’ll be interested to see how this year’s seeds turn out next year. The Lespedeza capitata is more of a meadowy plant but could be interesting in a border where it could come up through sturdy grasses or other plants that would support the slender, upright stems. It’s very different than the fountain-like habit of Lespedeza thunbergii.
Great to hear that the greenhouse is progressing well. Have fun with the finishing stages!
Despite your difficult growing season, your garden is still an inspiration for me! I am gleaning ideas for plants to add to my garden that can take drought conditions. I’m glad to see asters and goldenrod can handle whatever the weather throws out.
I never took note of Lespedeza bush clovers before. As a result of your posting today, I now have a plan to place one near the purple smoke bush I just added to my border. I think the colors should be complementary. Warn me if you think it’s not a good idea!
While I’m disappointed that there won’t be any seed offerings this year, I enjoyed the Celosia Mega Punk seeds you sent me last year. I took so many pictures of them and my favorite companion plant for them was a Coleus ‘Florida Sun Rose’ it leaned into. I have collected much seed from my plants and will scatter them all over the garden next year. Thank you so much for sending them! Each year,I will remember the generous gardener who shared them with me!
I will pass the long winter by re-reading all your past articles and taking notes!
Hi there, Debbie! I think Lespedeza thunbergii would look beautiful next to a purple smoke bush. Be prepared for the bush clover to get big over time. Mine–which is in not-great soil and has a lot of competition–gets about 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide by fall each year each year. But I’ve seen established plants in rich, well-watered sites easily fill a space about 8 feet across. It’s so good to hear that you enjoyed last year’s seeds, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that next year will be more conducive for seed-gathering here. Until spring…
I was pleased to see your post pop up and I’m glad to hear you got some rain – and that the boys are once again grazing happily. The drought here is no fun either but at least the state loosened watering restrictions (for a time anyway). I’m enamored with the ‘Dragon’s Breath’ celosia and will have to see if I can get it to grow here. I love your advent calendar too. Best wishes with the perennials magazine work and your craft shows!
It’s so good to know that conditions are a little better in your region, Kris, and we’ll hope that positive trend continues. Thanks for your good wishes, and Happy Bloom Day to you!
Nancy, Thank goodness for the rain, I so missed your last posting because of the drought. That is something that many people in Australia have to contend with all the time. However, in Tasmania (an island off the bottom of the mainland) we have a much milder (think cooler, more rain) climate and I am able to grow a lot of the plants you feature. I am really looking forward to reading your new magazine. Do you think I will be able to buy a copy in OZ? Keep it coming, a very grateful Karen
We’re used to about 40 inches of rain here, so conditions as dry as this year are unexpected. The odd thing is how hit-and-miss the rain has been; other areas in this part of PA have had soaking rains while we missed out. I don’t think the magazine will be available for sale outside of the U.S., but I guess I will find out when it comes out in March!
The colchicums weren’t at all fazed by summer drought. I believe that’s what they get in their native land. I am glad you are getting some paying work, even if it means we miss out. I will have to keep my eye out for that Dragon’s Breath celosia. May Daniel and Duncan live long and prosper!
Yep, it’s been great to have a break from writing work, but it’s good to get back in harness again, especially with an interesting project like this magazine: a perfect winter project. The boys thank you, and so do I. It has been a rough year, but they just turned 14 this week, and we’re hoping for a healthy year ahead. Our best to you!
I really liked seeing your cotton plant. We recently relocated to the sunny South, maybe I’ll try that one. I didn’t take a single plant from the midwest, kind of going through withdrawal. Thanks for sharing your garden crafts, looks like fun! Enjoy the holidays!!
Oh my goodness – you get to start with a fresh plant palette; that’s so exciting. You have a lot of fun ahead of you; enjoy!
I am glad to hear that your area finally got a bit of rain. You do have some color in your garden. I am surprised you don’t like blue flowers. ha… I love em. You have plants in your garden that I have never heard of such as the Ping Zing Limas and the Cinnamon Vine. Your craft/art projects look like a lot of fun. Most interesting. Best of luck with your magazine. I will look forward to seeing it.
Hey there, Lisa! I’m glad I could show you a few new things, and a blue flower too. (I don’t have anything against blue; I just gravitate toward bright colors, I guess because they’re easier to see.) Thanks for the good thoughts about the magazine. I have high hopes that it will turn out well!
You sure are one busy and talented lady!
Even with a lack of rain you manage to make everything beautiful! So enjoyed this post and love the new things you are trying – such inspiration – thank you! Can’t wait to see what is next. Blessings to you!
You’re so kind, Deb. Thanks so much for checking in today. I wish you and yours a peaceful, happy fall and winter!
Thanks for sharing this Nan. The flowers are very stunning! I love them. I enjoyed every inch of your post. This is worth sharing. Awesome!
Thank *you*, Paul. Happy Bloom Day to you!
Bloom Day, October 15, was worth the wait! I read my email on a visit to Texas which explains my delay in commenting. The photo of New England asters with goldenrod jumped out as I scrolled down. I have been reading Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book, “Braided Sweetgrass” subtitled “Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.” When I read the chapter on “Asters and Goldenrod” I thought of you and hoped that you might share a photo to match her description:
“If a fountain could jet bouquets of chrome yellow in dazzling arches of chrysanthemum fireworks, that would be Canada Goldenrod. Each three-foot stem is a geyser of tiny gold daisies, ladylike in miniature, exuberant en masse. Where the soil is damp enough, they stand side by side with their perfect counterpart, New England Asters. . . . Alone, each is a botanical superlative. Together, the visual effect is stunning. Purple and gold, the heraldic colors of the king and queen of the meadow, a regal procession in complementary colors.”
A perfect illustration!!
Welcome back from your travels. My goodness, you’re right: That photo of the purple New England aster with Canada goldenrod is a perfect complement to that text. The only difference is that here–even this year–Canada goldenrod easily reaches 6 feet tall!
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