Sunday October 25, 2009 Puttering In Helen’s Haven

Pumpkin faces

This was a short week in Helen’s Haven.  The kids had off from school so we made our own fun.

We went on a “field trip” to Judy and Bob Allen’s bee hives in North Raleigh. Wow, we learned a lot.
Book of Six © Six Facts About the Queen Bee

Book of Six © Six Facts About Worker Bees

Next week, I will post six facts about drones and bees in general.

Elizabeth Galecke came to Helen’s Haven to do our family photo shoot.  Lucky for me, the frost didn’t make it past the windshield.  The gardens generated enough heat to say clear.

EG Photo shoot

We attended and ate our way through the NC State Fair

Hosted the Coley Forest North Garden Club,  my neighborhood garden club, here.  Lots of fun.  Great to see my friendly neighbors.

Still climbing the learning curve from PC to Mac.  Almost to the point I don’t need both computers open at the same time!

Wondering what maintenance to do now ?  Visit – This Month in the Garden October maintenance

I began the fall maintenance in Helen’s Haven on Saturday.  Putting Helen’s Haven to bed each year is a big task, but to manage it, I fill 6 yard waste cans and stop.  This is a forcing function for me to stop.  Due to time constrains and other things to do, I don’t like to take it all down at once.

This garden waste is not composted.  I put  it into yard waste cans and haul to the curb.  I’m OK with doing this  since Raleigh has a terrific yard waste pick up system; I use it in the spring and fall. Otherwise, I compost.  If had more acreage, this would not be necessary; it would all be composted.


The fall cleanup does not mean a bare garden.  Not all of it is taken down; I leave a lot up, such as the grasses and seed heads for winter interest and wildlife.

The date to clean up the fall garden varies.  The time is based on either the predicted frost date, or if the date is late, then it is done slowly, six cans at a time, as my scheudule allows.  Once the frost hits, all the herbaceous plants melt and I can’t stand the look.  If this happens, I would have to stop what I was doing, and put the gardens to bed.  As such, it is better for me to take her down to be a planned event.

Admittably, putting Helen’s Haven to bed is a big task each, but it is the only major maintenance (save the annual mulching) done.  Very little weeding is neccessary leaving the only big job each week to be deadheading and deadleafing.

The Chestnut looks to be done dropping seeds.  We don’t call these ouchy balls for nothing!

Chinese Chestnut fruit
Chinese Chestnut fruit

Copy and photos by Helen Yoest

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening With Confidence Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her Facebook page, the Gardening With Confidence fan page. Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum.



  1. Beautiful children, Helen;-) Your hard work certainly rewards you with garden beauty. I’m not so organized and tend to sporadically do what I ‘feel’ like doing rather than what ‘needs’ to be done. I know I should be more particular about doing what could make my yard and gardens much nicer, but I’ve become kind of lazy. At the same time, I don’t feel the need to do so and am personally just a recreational gardener and love color and experimentation alone. I admire your professionalism!

  2. Nancy Locker said

    Great info on garden maintenance, Helen. I think I’ll take my leggy impatiens out today, before they “melt”. -Nancy
    PS- You have a gorgeous family!

  3. […] This garden waste is not composted. I put it into yard waste cans and haul to the curb See original here: Sunday October 25, 2009 Puttering In Helen's Haven « Gardening … […]

  4. […] Sunday October 25, 2009 Puttering In Helen’s Haven « Gardening With Confidence ™ – view page – cached October 25, 2009 at 10:39 am · Filed under Helen's Haven ·Tagged gardening, Helen Yoest, Helen's Haven — From the page […]

  5. Janet said

    Good morning Helen, what a busy weekend. I have enjoyed reading about the bees. How nice that Raleigh will take so many cans at once. We can compost via the recycling center if we take it up there ourselves. That means trading vehicles….he takes the truck to work.
    Nice looking picture of the kids. Mine get silly for pictures…. but that can be fun too.

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