From my window I can see my homemade compost bin, unfinished as it is, with our poor ole jack-o-lantern resting its big orange head on the grass clippings from my last mowing. That relic of a Halloween come and gone will come around again next year in some way. Either as broken down black gold or in the seeds that he left behind. His progeny will most likely grace us next season with lots of little orange gourds ready to be carved and given personalities of their own! Soon I'll add some leaves to the top of the bin and won't be able to see our old friend Jack, but he'll be there. In fact he might even be in my tomatoes next year, who knows?
With the growing season coming to a close its time to start planning for next year's landscape. Every now and then I like to design landscapes for people. Here is a sample of a small garden design that I made for a couple friends of ours. Its actually a memorial garden and is suitable for almost any corner of a yard. Its small so its also perfect for small yards. It uses one of my favorite trees, the Yoshino Cherry! The spruces in the picture could be replaced with a yew that has a conical shape.
It's the invasion of the lady bugs! Or really the Asian lady beetle. They are coming! As I write there is one on the windowsill in front of me. These beetles are great in the garden, they eat pests like aphids but when they invade they home they can become a problem. They go everywhere and leave yellow stains behind. Not to mention they shells when they die. As for what to do about them try vacuuming them up or preventing their entry by sealing up cracks around your house. I wouldn't personally go so far as pesticides for them but it is an option. The University of Kentucky Department of Entomology has a great article for more information!
Today my little 2 year old daughter and I went out and planted daffodils. She did pretty good, dropping the bulb into the hole after I dug it out. Initially Grace kept trying to rearrange the bulbs all over the bed. Then she started taking the spade I was using to dig the holes. Eventually we got a process together and soon we had planted 40 daffodil bulbs. Now if the squirrels and other critters don't get to them we'll have some great flowers to look at in the spring!
I enjoy periodically just walking around the yard and seeing what there is to see in my landscape. Today was a bit of an overcast day probably in the lower to mid 60's F. Its always a good idea to walk around your yard so you know what's happening. Today I took a camera and shot a few pictures. The fall colors are out on some of our trees.These pictures are of our backyard. We have about an acre with a tree line to the south, a bit of a wild field area to the west between us and our neighbor's yard, and another neighbor on our eastern side. In the Spring we planted this maple tree in and attempt to add some future shade to the yard. Its an October Glory maple. It has some good red color with some hints of orange.This tree is just a nice maple…
Time to gather your seeds! Get a good paper or clean plastic bag and head out to the garden. If you have more than one type of plant to gather seeds from you should grab some extra bags. After your perennials or annuals have finished for the fall, collect the dead heads on them to use next spring. Just cut the dead flower heads off and let them fall into your bag. Keep only one kind of seed per bag and label them with what the parent plant is. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee the seeds will be true to the parent plant, but sometimes the variations can be interesting. Clean off the dead flower petals and let them dry if needed, then store in a cool, dry place. It is important that they are well dried before storing. It may help to add a moisture reducing…
The colors are out and some trees are spectacular! There are all sorts of colorful trees for the fall that just can't be beat. The maples are some of my favorites. Here are some suggestions for trees with great fall color:Maples: Sugar Maple (Acer Saccharum): beautiful yellow orange foliageRed Maple (Acer rubrum) red foliage (of course)Japanese Maples (Acer Palmatum).Sweet Gum (Liquidambar): Purple to red are common but beautiful to look at.Oaks: Red Oak (Quercus rubra)Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)Ginkgo Biloba or Maidenhair Tree has a bright golden color.There are many varieties of the maple trees to choose from including October Glory and Sunset maple. A mature Ginkgo tree can't be topped for its golden colors. Just make sure you find the male of the species, the females drop very messy fruits.
Since summer has now officially come and gone and I only started this site a week ago (give or take a day or two), I thought I would share an easy project that I did this summer from another old wooden palette. Originally I was going to turn it into a compost bin, but after using the palette laying on the ground for potting plants a new idea came to mind. I gathered some other scrap lumber and sanded them down real good. Then put them together to make a potting bench. After it was all pieced together I got a small can of cedar colored wood stain and stained the bench. It won't last forever but its a pretty good use of scrap wood.Here are some views of the potting bench.
Tonight the weather people are expecting our first hard freeze in Tennessee. It will then officially end the growing season! This is not entirely true though. The plants are still growing roots. Plants planted now will grow strong root systems though the winter and should have great foliar growth in the spring.Good IdeasRemove all hoses from the nozzles to prevent pipes from cracking. Any water left in the nozzle could be damaging so its best not to take chances!Time to clean garden tools and get organized so that everything will be ready to go in the spring. Clean and sharpen shovels, pruners and other tools and also perform any lawn mower maintenance needed.Put excess leaves in the compost bin. NEVER throw out or burn leaves! Put them in the bin or mulch them with your mower into the grass. Composted leaves are some of the best sources of organic material…
Fall in Tennessee is known for its wonderful color displays. We have a variety of trees both of deciduous and evergreen trees that usually make spectacular displays of colors. Unfortunately these trees have suffered with the drought this past year and have not fully shown their colors. Here are some pictures of past autumn colors in the Smokey Mountains. We used to make fall pilgrimages to a place called Cades Cove. It's a great place for a hike or a picnic and is nestled in the Tennessee side of the mountains. Some of the pictures are taken from the top of Clingman's Dome, another great stop in the Smokies.