Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall Equinox and New Plantings

Friday a week ago the weather changed after a front blew in, leaving no doubt that fall is on its way. With cooler temperatures, it's been perfect for work on the garden. Herb and I spent a week digging out and preparing a new bed for the pink bush roses I had ordered from Jackson & Perkins. I chose the site for maximum sun and scenic appeal from the street, but the soil in that patch was the worst I've seen so far: hard as concrete after the recent dry spell, we dug out eight buckets of large rocks before mixing lots of peat moss and composted manure. On a glorious Saturday afternoon I finally planted and mulched the new roses--voila!

New rose bed.

After that was done, I moved on to finish digging out the circle around the base of the red maple tree. I had put in some yellow day-lilies during the summer, but I needed two more plants to fill out the circle. I selected some lovely hybrid varieties on sale from Wayside Gardens--one peach and one pink. The plants arrived bare root this past Thursday, and I planted them the next day. I can't wait to see what they will look like next summer.

I also began to dig holes in the back yard for the saplings I'd gotten from the Arbor Day Foundation last spring. I'd been keeping these in pots all summer so I could water them easily, but now they need to go into the ground. The soil back there, though rocky, was not as compacted and hard as where we put in the rose bed; a couple of evenings were enough for the first two holes--for a dogwood and a redbud tree.

Showers were in the forecast for yesterday afternoon. I went out right after lunch to plant the saplings before the rain. A light drizzle began before I was finished with the first one, but I kept on working--it was not enough rain to get wet. Later in the afternoon and into evening we finally got some real showers--the first good soaking in weeks. This morning, the garden is resplendent with droplets in the sunlight!

My new saplings in the back yard.

The front garden.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Orchid Pencil Sketches and Nature

Purple Fringed Orchid Flower details
Showy Orchis Flower detail

I've been working on refining the details of the orchid flowers for my botanical project, and trying to come up with the color palettes for these. I seem to have approach-avoidance towards the final project at this point.

In the meantime, the roses I had ordered for fall planting arrived, and the past two evenings have been spent digging up a new bed for them. It's such a rocky spot I've hauled away five or six buckets of rocks so far, and still have another 4 feet or so in length to dig. The weather is so lovely at this time of the year that even this back-breaking work is still enjoyable. Just being outside working on my garden is a pleasure. Looking forward to next spring's display keeps me at it.

Admiring the results of last year's plantings, some beautiful combinations like the one below seem noteworthy. The contrast of the magenta flowers of this aster against the yellow-green of the Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' and even yellower dwarf Hinoki cypress is a wonderful study in complementary colors and textures. If I could only be as perfect as nature when I paint!