Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Autumn: Bursting With Blooms

There was a time when the first day of fall brought a deep melancholy. The cooler temperatures could only mean that it was time to resign oneself to pots of mums.

Don't get me wrong: I adore mums. I love the way they look on my front steps. I love their distinct fragrance. And I love the feelings they invoke of warm, cozy nights by the fire, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and all the other delights autumn has to offer. But over the years I have learned that mums aren't the only options for fall blooms.

Two Toad Lily "White Towers" are blooming for me for the first time. Purchased last fall at an end-of-season sale, it's absolutely thrilling to see them at their best just as everything else in the garden is going kaput. Best of all, the plants are bursting with buds suggesting several more weeks of flowers. I can definitely see adding more of these to the shade garden.

The bugbane looks quite lovely covered with hundreds of tiny, round flower buds. The arching flower stem is beginning to straighten up and reach for the sky. I knew that bugbane was a late bloomer but I had no idea how late. I'm hoping for something very impressive come October. Like the toad lilies, the bugbane was a late-season addition last fall.

The hot pink of the sedum spectabile "Neon" is starting to fade. Here it is growing next to the extraordinarily fragrant calamint. I didn't plan this combination but quite like it. The sturdiness of the sedum is a nice contrast to the airy calamint.

Another plant that produces a very delicate and airy effect is white snakeroot. This native has really won me over for its carefree attitude and its irrepressible fall display. A warning though: I left the seed-heads on the plant last year. It reseeded itself everywhere. And I do mean everywhere!!! Fortunately the seedlings were easy to pull. I plan to keep growing it and to use it in some garden trouble spots but I will definitely take the shears to the spent flowers to prevent an all out invasion.

As the sunshine begins to make itself scarce, Black-Eyed Susans provide the perfect sunshine supplement. I have had mixed feelings about the Susans. I haven't always appreciated them for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. This year, however, they are looking especially spectacular.

Finally, the workhorse of the garden, Geranium "Rozanne" is still producing an abundance of blooms. She's slowing down a bit but even so "Rozanne" is still going strong toward the finish line. I'm just so happy that so many others are right there alongside "Rozanne" keeping the melancholy at bay and making sure that autumn is bursting with blooms.

Friday, September 11, 2009

All About Me(me)

So much blogging to do, so little time. The Nutty Gnome is set to get me back on track though. She has tagged me for the "Seven Things You Don't Know About Me" meme. I can't possibly match the exciting times Nutty has shared but here goes. (By the way, the image above is Jerusalem Artichoke. They look positively gorgeous right now even if I have let them get somewhat out of control.)

1. I don't know how to pronounce "meme" and no matter how many times I look it up, it just won't stay in my head. Okay, I've just looked it up again...rhymes with "cream." Next time I see "meme" though I will be completely baffled.

2. While Nutty has met the Queen, I once shook hands with Princess Diana. A friend and royal watcher begged me to accompany her to the waterfront for a chance to see the Princess during her Toronto visit aboard the royal yacht. We waited for hours and hours pressed up against the barricades. A car pulled up to the dock and Princess Diana emerged. She was so far away. But then, to our unbelieving eyes, she made the long walk toward us. She shook hands with just about everyone in the crowd who could reach her. It may seem silly but shaking her hand was pretty special. She seemed to sparkle and her smile was completely genuine. I love a good celebrity sighting but Diana was different. There was no ego there. She seemed to really care about all those people on the waterfront that night.

3. My worst summer job ever was working (very briefly, thank goodness!) as a receptionist at a limousine company. The job was very boring until it took a very scary turn. One day a guy swinging a baseball bat showed up and took out the door frame while looking to collect on some sort of debt from one of the bosses. I didn't stick around long enough to find out what happened but pieced enough together to know the drivers were running cocaine more than they were running passengers around.

4. I can't eat eggs. Hard-boiled, scrambled, sunny side up...all their various incarnations get my gag reflex going.

5. The Who and Simon and Garfunkel top my list of music favourites. Ask my husband, though, and he'll tell you I have a thing for dancehall.

6. I played flute (badly) all through elementary and high school. It made school bearable.

7. I credit Arthur Fonzarelli, Richie Cunningham and the rest of the characters in Happy Days for teaching me about so many important life lessons. Happy Days was, is and will always be the best show ever. Let me reiterate: Best. Show. Ever. Ayyyyyyyyy!!!

So there you have it. A few interesting, ridiculous and even embarrassing things about me. Nominating seven blogs and pasting in all the code for links could take me days so I'll just put out an open invitation to any bloggers who want to share a few "fun facts" about themselves. It's always good for a laugh. Head over to The Nutty Gnome for more details.

The Jerusalem Artichokes probably have about a week of bloom time left. I always consider their faded blooms the official end of summer regardless of what the calendar says. While that leaves me a bit melancholy, it also signals the start of a whole new period in the garden: bulb planting time. Now that's exciting.