October in the Garden

Yesterday during a reprieve from the rain we went out to examine the state of the garden. The past two weeks I’ve been mostly concentrating on the greenhouse project and I felt it was time to see what I’ve been missing.
The celosia I planted from seed this year did really well. It’s a virtually no maintenance annual unless you consider the weeding of extra seedlings I may not want next year. 

The Dusty Miller I planted in the spring has finally emerged from behind the purple sweet potato vine. The Potato vine took over the location beside the arbor covering the Dusty Miller, Columbine, ‘Purple Homestead’ Verbena, and variegated liriope. The Dusty Miller is a semi-hardy annual to tender perennial here. It can handle some of the cold temperatures we get and may come back the following year. It’s cheap to replace and usually gets treated as an annual.
Beside the back deck I planted a ‘Shasta’ Viburnum. It didn’t bloom this year as it was probably protesting being moved from it’s previous location. In the background is a ‘Firebird’ Penstemon. ‘Firebird’ Penstemon is rated to zone 7 cold hardiness but I planted this one last year and we live in a frost pocket so I would guess that it’s relatively safe up to zone 6. It’s easy to take a cutting from and overwinter indoors or in a pot in the garage.
My ‘Dale’s Strain’ Heuchera is doing great. I bought it last year and divided one of the two plants to make a grouping of three. The two that were divided are smaller but still doing well. ‘Dale’s Strain’ has a nice green and white variegation that turns into caramel coloring in the winter.
If we hop over the wire fence into the vegetable garden we can see my strawberries have run amok! It must mean that it’s time to expand the garden. I hope to add some more raised beds then transfer the rampaging strawberries over. After the strawberries were done fruiting in the spring I fertilized them with bloodmeal which combined with the rich soil in the raised bed spurred lots of runners (don’t fertilize strawberries before fruiting since that will produce green growth and not fruit growth). Strawberries need rejuvenated every couple of years by eliminating the mother plants and replacing them with the young runners. Every runner will eventually turn into a new mother plant and the process can be sustained indefinitely. This strawberry bed began as 3-4 plants from a pot and 6-8 plants from a plant swap. 
My grass is green and shiny thanks to all the rain! I haven’t fertilized the yard yet in the two and a half years we’ve lived here and really have no plans too with anything other than sifted organic compost. I believe that a lawn can be environmentally responsibly grown. I overseed with a new variety of grass every fall. Now if they would just come out with a riding reel mower…
My ‘Daiblo’ Ninebark (Physocarpus) has grown a little. It’s a new addition to the Birdbath garden this year and is paired with a pair of ‘Powis’ Castle artemisias. I’ll need to keep the artemisia trimmed lower to prevent it from completely enveloping the ninebark but that will just give me an opportunity to make more free plants! I don’t think you can go wrong with planting silver and purple foliage plants as companions.  In the background you can see the current state of the greenhouse shed. It’s coming along!
And here’s a closer look. The plantings in front of the greenhouse will need some reworking but I’ll worry about that after construction is complete!

7 thoughts on “October in the Garden”

  1. Hi Dave, my 'Dale's Strain' didn't do so well this year. I think it got alittle too much sunshine. I moved it to a shadier spot so hopefully it recovers and bounces back next spring. I love the burgundy foliage of your Shasta Viburnum and the greenhouse is looking great. 🙂

  2. I use Dusty Miller as a white accent in my garden and love how it lasts and lasts. I let the Celosia grow this year. Last time I planted any was 1994. Even with saltwater flooding we had seeds that remained viable year after year. I think Celosia will take over the world in multi-color!

  3. I really like that variety of Dusty Miller. It reminds me of something Christmasey in the garden what with the way it's shaped and its silver coloring.

    I love strawberries but find it too labor intensive to have a patch (I blame this on the aging process).

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