Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall's Fungi

"I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds that cherries, and very frankly give them fruits for their songs."

Joseph Addison

What a month it has been - full of all sorts of changeable weather. Days start out warm and sunny but by mid-day the clouds roll in, the sky turns to pewter, and then the heavens open up sending folks scrambling for shelter. This means that garden chores are still waiting to be done, for you go outside, start to clean out the beds, then run for cover. I don't know where that beautiful Indian summer they predicted went but we certainly didn't get it here. But strange things are happening - can you believe it but my some of my hostas are blooming for a second time. And my roses are in full bloom again - global warming maybe??

Yesterday our hiking group from church hiked the Beetle Lake Trail at Oxtongue Lake just west of Algonquin Park. Up there the trees have already peaked in their autumn colouring and many of the trees are already bare of leaves. The wet weather this month has resulted in a great variety of woodland fungi as evidenced by the photo above in all manner of shape, colour and textures. But even then, the wetness has made many of the fungi turn to mush.

Today when I went to my yoga class the Mountain Ash tree outside by instructor's home was filled with birds, sparrows, robins, goldfinches chowing down on all the luscious berries. And when they weren't consuming berries, they were filling the air with chattering and chirping.
Carol was complaining that the fallen berries make quite a mess especially when you step on them and she's constantly having to sweep them up. But she commented that at the rate the birds are eating the remaining berries will only last another day or two.

Back at home I've started by autumn decorating by purchasing a couple of big pumpkins for the porch and a basket of ornamental gourds to brighten the table. I've put up the fall wreaths and will replace the spent annuals with some lovely fall mums. But not today, for as predicted the sky has clouded over and rain seems iminent, so that will wait for another day.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Summer's End

"The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown,
Lest I should be old fashioned
I'll put a trinket on."

Emily Dickson

Wow! It's hard to believe that summer has come to an end and today is the first day of September. Schools will start next week and routines will get back to normal. This week the weather has been hot and humid, a reminder of the dog days of summer, as if this season wants to linger on and not move into autumn but the gardenscape shows a different story. Although with this type of weather I can imagine what it must be like to live in America's deep south or a tropical country like Panama or the Caribbean.

On the ground the gardens are starting to show decline but up in the air the colour show is just beginning. The leaves are shifting from green to yellow, orange and red, a branch here, a whole tree there. And with the recent lack of water for the past few weeks, brown leaves have already been falling from the trees.

Back on the ground, it is time to remove those tired and dying annuals and spent perennials and repplace them with some fall annuals like chrysanthemums in shades of dark pink, gold and burgundy, tall willowy millet and purple crinkly ornamental kale and cabbages. Taking a few minutes to clean up the garden will give your garden a renewed look to take it through fall, especially if we have a lovely Indian summer. Just remember to dispose of any diseased plant material in the garbage not the compost pile so you won't transfer disease throughout your landscape.

There is still a good month or more of time in which to go outside and enjoy days and evenings with wonderful friends in the pleasurable pastimes of dinners in the garden.