Hello! What a fun time I’ve had, going through photos of the garden from the past year. For the past 11 years, I’ve continually added to the nearly blank slate of a garden that was here when we moved in. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve done a lot, and I continue to learn and do! It’s my happy place, and I don’t need the proof from the studies that show ‘gardening is good for you’, I already know it. This last chapter is mostly about fall vibes and a tiny bit of winter. Enjoy!
This first collage starts in September. Look at all of our red eating apples! I don’t actually ‘pick’ them to eat, but instead I use the ones that have dropped to the ground. We didn’t have any major wind storms this fall (rather unusual) so I was able to gather apples at a reasonable pace. It’s harder when they all are knocked off at once!
The Buddleis Buzz ‘dark pink’ butterfly bush is covered with Tortoiseshell butterflies. We might also get Peacock butterflies, or Red Admiral butterflies, or Painted Lady butterflies. The butterfly bush is a dwarf variety, so it is quite a manageable size, and with lots of vibrant color. This one has quite a sweet scent as well.
The Monarda Fireball (red Bee balm) is new for me and was planted in a container. I really want to get it somewhere in the garden, but I’m not sure where just yet.
The top left picture is just to show you the contrast of the yellow dwarf sunflowers with the tall Claret F1 burgundy sunflowers. I loved the look of this flower bed! And just a few steps away is the pumpkin arch, which still had mostly green pumpkins in September. The blue Delphinium was quite a treat for me as I grew it from seed. That was a new flower for me to grow from seed, and I’m glad it not only survived but it thrived. Fingers crossed that it will survive the winter and we can enjoy it again in 2022!
I added the picture of the Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Little Spire’) as it looks really nice with the roses. The birch tree bed now has Rudbeckia goldstrum (Black-eyed-Susan) and Persicaria Blackfield just starting to bloom.
Staying in September, these David Austin ‘Eustacia Vye’ are relatively new to my garden. Not only are they beautiful, they have a delicious scent, too!
I made an outrageous flower arrangement with Pink Parrot gladiolas. While I do love the bright, shocking pink color, it is rather difficult to pair with in an arrangement. 🙂
The pumpkin arch update, at this stage, shows that the pumpkins are starting to turn orange, while the Red Kuri squash are turning their final color or burnt orange/red. The Green Hokkaido squash, which are more flat than the rounded pumpkins, remain a dark green color. The Claret F1 sunflowers always had a flurry of activity with birds. I was happy to capture this Great Tit (the largest of the Tit family) in this picture. The sunflowers have been enjoyed by the birds for most of the season. I did save a couple of flower heads for seeds for me, but the rest are there for the birds to eat.
The ornamental grass is the feature item in this bed. But the Asters put on quite a show in September. In the same bed, but in the bottom middle picture, is an Astilbe (marked pink, but it sure looks red to me). This is just a single plant that I think is still getting established. We’ll see how it does in 2022 and determine if it needs a new location.
The bottom left photo is of the Persicaria Blackfield, which pairs really well with the Rudbeckia, and birch trees. They also fill in quite nicely. Something I did this year that I probably shouldn’t do again, is that I bought my bulbs early in the season. So by the time my ‘normal’ time for ordering bulbs rolled around, I wanted to buy more (and did)! These are some of the early purchases of tulips being planted.
September still, and just an update on everyone’s growth: the apples, both eating and cooking, the pears, the new chickens, the delphinium, the sunflowers, they were all thriving at this stage! Those are pink Asters in the top left photo, with the ornamental grass. They really steal the show in September! One final picture of my compost in the tumbler, which you can see is filled with worms (and eggshells that probably should have been broken down more before being added). This is great stuff, and as it becomes ready – completely broken down – I add it to the garden.
October is all about orange (including the sky)! We had a great haul of pumpkins and squash this year. If nothing else, I like growing pumpkins simply for their orange coloring (including their flowers). Of course we enjoy eating squash, too, but what a bonus for it to look pretty in the garden, too!
I’ve included a couple more pictures of the pink Aster because they really are fabulous, and require no maintenance. I love easy to grow plants and this is one of them! This is also a better picture of the Astilbe with the Aster. I think they will look pretty together when the Astilbe fills out more.
Another first for us this year was planting raspberry canes. While we only had a few raspberries – and they were really tasty – the canes have definitely established themselves in the bed. So fingers crossed that in 2022 we’ll not only have a nice crop, we’ll figure out the best way to cover them from the birds.
October is also when I planted our winter growing garlic. I’ve grown the same variety, ‘Vallelado’ Organic Garlic, for a number of years because it is really good for our Irish weather. The rule of thumb is to get it in the ground before Christmas. (I get mine at Fruit Hill Farm in Cork.)
I have two different color pink Asters in the yard. These fuchsia pink and are super vibrant! The roses are still going strong – this year was really super for roses. Also, I had some super big, late blooming marigold flowers. The top right picture is of my dogwood tree. Although it doesn’t flower – this variety needs hot weather (so why on earth it is sold in Ireland is beyond me) – but I find the leaves to be quite lovely, especially as they turn red.
Now we’re on the cusp of November with the Dahlias are finally blooming. Dahlias are relatively new for me, and I’m still learning. You’re supposed to cut their main stem a short time after it starts to grow, to prevent one big heavy stem from growing, and instead have multiple stems to balance out the weight. I did this quite late in the season which is why they bloomed so late for me. Lesson learned! These are in containers, as they need to be protected in the winter and that’s the easiest way for me to do that. Given how pretty they are, I’ve ordered some more for 2022. I have plans to plant them in the ground, which means I’ll have to dig them up next November. I’ll keep you posted.
The blueberry shrub has the pretties fire-red leaves in the fall. It is such an extra bonus after enjoying the yummy blueberries!
A shrub with berries for the birds is the Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan honeysuckle). These have long dangly flowers with berries. The main stems of this lovely plant look like bamboo, while the shorter stems with the flowers are great for using in flower arrangements.
Here we are in the last two months of the year. The pink and red Hesperanthus (formerly known as Schizostylis) is such a treat to have in November, when there aren’t many other flowers about. This year, though, I also had roses. The Anemone can often be found in the winter garden, as can the Hellebore ‘Winter Sunshine’.
I’ve been patiently waiting the past few years for my fig tree to produce fruit. While it did grow fruit this year, they didn’t properly ripen enough to eat. I’m really hoping that next year will be the year!
I made a few wreaths during this time, too. I just like using my hands, and not letting anything go to waste. All of the greenery and plant materials came from my garden.
And that is a look back on my garden for the year! I’ve really enjoyed reviewing everything, and reminding myself of all that we’ve done in the garden. Being and working in the garden is simply something that I love to do. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour!
Take care, and stay safe 🙂