Archive for the ‘In the Garden’ Category

Coming to Fruition

Ilex verticillata 'Winter Red' Oct 31 2011

When I first decided to divide my fall posts into flowers, foliage, and fruits, I chose to leave the fruits for last, figuring that I’d have several more weeks to capture the bounty of berries and seedheads. Unfortunately, the unusual cold and snow event at the end of October flattened much of the garden and meadow, bringing the 2011 gardening season to a screeching halt. That was disappointing, of course, but since then, a new twist to this topic has come to mind. I still have some autumn shots to share, but after them, I’ll reveal the new point of this post.

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Leaves Alone

Fall color in the front garden at Hayefield: Acer palmatum, Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra', and Iris 'Gerald Darby' October 2011

For the past several years, Dave at The Home Garden has hosted The Fall Color Project, giving bloggers an opportunity to share links to their posts on peak fall colors in their area. This year, I didn’t even have to leave Hayefield to find lots of showy autumn leaves.

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The Garden on Ice

Quercus dentata

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

We’ve just made it through our first serious snowfall of the winter here in southeastern Pennsylvania. In past seasons, I’d be out with my camera capturing snow-dusted stems and seedheads, but not this year, because I cut pretty much everything to the ground two months ago, in hopes of encouraging the voles to look for winter homes elsewhere. The strategy seems to have worked, but missing out on the winter beauty of the garden is a high price to pay. Fortunately, I have lots of photos from previous years, and I’ve been wanting to rework this old post for a while, so now I have a good excuse to sort through some of my favorite icy images.

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Filling in for Fall

Front garden mid Sept 06

No matter how carefully I plan, no matter how perfect the growing conditions, it’s inevitable that I find gaps in the garden in late summer. Clearly, I’m not alone, or there wouldn’t be such a market for potted mums in September. Thing is, it’s tough to find holes exactly the right size for big potted fillers, and the dense, mounded form of container-grown mums make it hard to have them look loose and comfortable, instead of like blobs dropped into the garden. With a little advance planning, annuals can be a much better-looking option for filling spaces and adding fall color.

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It Started with a Cow

Happy the Cow

And it’s all Mom’s fault. She has a knack for finding quirky things that she knows I’ll like, and that’s how I ended up getting a cow for Christmas. Not just any cow: a 2-foot-tall recycled metal cow with kind of odd ears and a paint job guaranteed to catch the eye.

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Looking Forward

Polemonium Veronicastrum Erica Baptisia Screaming Yellow May 23 10

This has been the best gardening spring ever in my world. Sure, we’ve had some weird weather – a hot week in early April, and a late freeze in mid-May– but overall, it’s been perfect working weather. And that’s a very good thing, because I mostly neglected my own garden while caring for another over the past two years, and I had a whole lot of work to do here.

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Cats on the Dogwoods?

Dogwood sawfly Aug 09

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

For years now, I’ve noticed these white critters on my shrubby dogwoods (Cornus) in August, and I always assumed that they were some sort of caterpillar. I never worried all that much about them, except for noticing that there seem to be more and more each year. Even though they quickly demolish the leaves they’re feeding on, the plants don’t seem much weakened by the damage.

The other day, I overheard a customer asking our retail manager about the same insects on her dogwoods, and I decided I should do a little research to find out what they are for sure, in case I got asked the same question. Continue reading