Archive for August 2, 2009

Sunday August 2, 2009 A week puttering in Helen’s Haven

Fearington Village, Chapel Hill, NC

Fearington Village, Chapel Hill, NC

If you have ever opened your garden for a fall garden tour, little needs to be said about what I am doing now.  It is a bit more involved opening a garden  in the fall than it is  in the spring.

I have forever been quirky about starting and endorsing fall garden tours.  I believe in a fall tour with all my gardening soul.  In the springtime, everyone is a gardener.  In the autumn, many gardeners fall short of continuing on.  Even the best gardeners.  Where they really fall short, in my opinion,  is realizing that fall gardening in one of the best of the four seasons to be in the garden, for the weather, for the plant palette, and for the planting.

In the spring, we are anxious to get outside and till some dirt, see some flowers.  In the autumn, we are ready to retire our hoe and look to a period of hibernation.  When January arrives, many wish they took advantage of the fall.  Cooler weather, and for the south, less humidity.  There is a freshness in the air.  The days grow shorter, as if the earth is winding down, and so are we.  Still, being outside with the fall colors and flowers is an absolute treat.  The grasses, asters, and sedums are peaking in the fall.  The butterflies animate the garden, birds are making plans, squirrels are storing nuts.

My garden, Helen’s Haven, will be on the  Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tour, also benefiting the JC Raulston Arboretum, as well as the Garden Writer’s tour this September and a photo shoot for Nature’s Garden.  But it is now that I prepare.  I am in the mode of deadheading and deadleafing.  Pruning, trimming, editing.  It needs to be done now, so there is time to adjust, to flush out, to extend the bloom times, to stay tidy.

I don’t mind.  I feel fortunate that we are having the summer we are.  A fresh rain most afternoons, the typical handful of  100 degree days have eluded us,  we are even experiencing low humidity.  The fact that our humidity has been low for this late in the season has delighted me.  The typical summer of hot and hazy skies with a sun offering no relief have been replaced with blue skies, large, fluffy cumulonimbus clouds with a nice breeze.  Did I mention the blue skies?

So in the garden, go about my fun to better prepare me for fall.  Here is what I got going on:

  • Deadhead Shasta Daisies
  • Deadhead Monarda
  • Deadhead Cannas
  • Deadleaf daylilies
  • Mow
  • Moved 2 sky pencil hollies that were crowded.  I know, I know, the worse time to do so, but I had the time now.  So we shalll see.
  • Cleaned up the potting shed area
  • Removed a Buddleja.
  • Mowed
  • Weeded
  • Chased deer and bunnies
  • Refilled feeders
  • Harvested tomatoes, cukes, figs
  • Sowed more Zinnias
  • Deadhead Zuni Crepe Myrtle

Tim Alderton with the JCRA stopped by to help me name some of my plants; especially the interesting ones I have collected over the years (and lost the tags.)  This guy is UNBELIEVABLE.  He is a galloping Google, a biking Bing, or, in general, a walking wonder where plants are concerned.  Thanks for all you do Tim!

Tim and Alderton in the Winter Garden at the JCRA

Tim Alderton and Helen Yoest in the Winter Garden at the JCRA

8 year old Aster with a red-eyed tree frog in Helen's Haven

8 year old Aster with a squirrel tree frog in Helen's Haven

Don’t forget to check out my maintenance guide, This Month in the Garden – August

Helen Yoest
Gardening With Confidence

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