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.