I haven't got around to posting too many pictures of the garden this year, but the grasses at this time of year are just fabulous so I just had to!!
Those are groups of calamagrostis (feather reed grass) 'Avalanche' that are acting like vertical exclamation marks in the garden. That's sedum 'Autumn Joy' looking pinkish in the bottom right corner. Both plants I highly recommend for a fall garden. Closer up, echinacea purpurea adds colour on the left side:
...and on the right,a pot tucked in behind the grasses adds extra interest.
The pot also makes a nice view from the house:
To see this garden at other times of the year, click here and scroll down.
This garden area up beside the front steps is all new this year. Eventually, shrubs and perennials will dominate the garden, but for this year, I planted some large annuals (from seed) to fill the space while the shrubs and perennials are still small. They're doing a great job, I'd say! Too bad there is snow forecast for this week...
Pretty soon the flowers will be gone but I'll be enjoying the memories all winter! I am especially happy about my new view of the garden from inside the house:
and even though the nictotiana will be cut down after frost/snow, I'll be able to enjoy the view of the grasses all winter long.
Garden views from inside the house are such an important consideration when designing a garden - especially in Calgary when we're typically look out from inside for at least half the year! Here's what this view looked like last year before and after I took down 2 spruce trees from this area - what a difference!
To see how this garden looks at other times of the year, click here and scroll down.
I'm starting to run out of gardening steam for the year, but I did want to get those irises in the Adventure Garden thinned out a little - I've been planning to for months. (The irises all found new homes with friends, BTW!) Now there is more space for the beautiful blue oat grass to be its rounded, arching graceful self. It is one of my favourite plants! Great texture, unique colour, and very low maintenance.
Also blooming in the photo above is sedum 'Matrona', purple liatris, and echinacea 'White Swan'. These plants all bloom for a long time in late summer/fall, and are some of my other favourites for this time of year. They even look good left standing in the winter!
It's bulb-planting time! I don't care how time-strapped you are, you can find time to put in a few bulbs and I promise you that you'll be glad you did come spring!
My own best piece of acvice for you - skip the "bulb planter" devices and use a shovel. Dig a large hole and plant groups of 7 or more bulbs in the same hole. Your spring flowers will make a much bigger show this way than a few isolated bulbs scattered around with big spaces in between them.
Here's some more good info for you:
from Garden Buzz - good, local information on bulbs that do well in Calgary (hint: there's more than tulips!):
Hallelujah! It is finally done! This is the entrance to the back corner of my garden which my family fondly calls 'England', where most of my edibles are grown. I am especially loving the difference the blue colour makes - zing! What an easy way to add colour to the garden! Hmm, what to paint next...?
Before: When we moved to this house in 2004, my husband (without asking!) immediately took the top off this old brown arch because it was too short and he kept bumping his head. This is what it has looked like ever since! It was an eyesore. It was also too narrow and we could barely get a wheelbarrow through, not to mention that the clematis macropetala vine on the right side is so vigorous that it made the entry even narrower.
After: A new, blue (of course!) arch, wider and taller so you can comfortably and safely enter 'England' without getting attacked by a wayward clematis branch. I bought the arch 2 years ago at an end-of-season sale, and it's taken me this long to get it painted and installed. That's the way things go around my house! I had to cut the clematis down to the ground, but I'm sure it will come back just fine next year. There's a honeysuckle vine on the left side, which I also had to cut back by about 50%. By next year those vines will have recovered and the arch will look like it's been there for ages.
What do you think? Are there any structures in your garden that could use a little paint?
This sudden change in weather may be making you feel like the end is near. But it's only the beginning of September and the garden still has a lot of life left if you've planted with fall in mind! In fact, I enjoy being out in the garden at this time of year when it's not so bloomin' hot. And I have plenty of ornamental grasses and fall-blooming plants to keep the show going into October. Also, if you're not happy with some aspects of your garden right now, this is a great time to make changes while ideas of what worked and didn't work in the garden this year are still fresh in your head. And it's easier to get the spacing of plants right when they are full-size at the end of the season, rather than teensy little sprouts in spring, so get out there and start digging!
Personally I am feeling a little rushed as there are plenty of things I want to get done before the end of the season. I am still plugging away on my to-do list that I posted last month (the cooler weather is another reason why it's a good time to be moving plants - less stressful on the plants.) Here are some other things to be doing in the garden this month:
TREES & SHRUBS
Slow down on any watering and definitely don't be fertilizing or pruning trees and shrubs at this time of year! In fact, stop watering trees by mid-September to allow them to start to get ready for dormancy. See this article for more information.
Eat, eat, eat! Man, I'm going to miss my fresh garden veggies this winter.
Plant garlic ASAP.
Pull up vegetables such as peas and beans as they finish, to save time later.
Top up vegetable garden areas with compost as plants finish.
Not much to do here except maintenance unless you're making changes - a little weeding and a little edge-cutting, and that's about it.
A few shade plants such as bleeding hearts and ferns have already gone dormant from the summer heat. Cut down their browned leaves to keep the garden tidy.
It's an especially good time to move/plant spring bloomers such as peonies.
Start planting bulbs - I'm putting in some orange tulips in the front garden this year, so will have to be vigilant with the bloodmeal or cayenne pepper to keep the squirrels away.
Don't ever ask me for lawn advice. My lawn is in such bad shape I've only had to mow it twice all season! If I cared, I might aerate, topdress with compost and overseed. But let's face it, it's not going to happen. Some day when the major garden re-design work is "done", I'll give the lawn some TLC...