|Saffron crocus among strawberries.|
Our first frost came last weekend, signalling the end of the growing season. On subsequent warmer days I was able to harvest a few more strawberries from the front bed and while I was poking about, found that the saffron crocuses I had given up on were starting to bloom! So far I've been able to gather about six flowers, and hope there will be a few more to season one or two dishes this winter. It seems hiding among the strawberries didn't hurt them at all.
|Pencil drawing of saffron crocus.|
|Front yard in September|
|Front yard after the frost|
These before and after photos of my front yard show how quickly everything goes from lush to drab after just one frost. It's been a good growing season--the wet early summer helped tremendously--all my trees and flowerbeds made progress, some more then others. The red maple on the west side gained several feet in height and about an inch in girth--I wish I'd taken photos a week or two earlier, when its foliage was fiery, and the narrow-leaf sunflowers by the house glorious.
|West side garden|
The Zelkova tree in behind suffered a great deal last winter with several major branches dying back. Let's hope this winter is not so severe and the tree can regain lost ground next year. This spring I planted a native witch hazel between the two, the small bush you see here. In time this will become a lovely under-story tree.
|The Little Indians|
The Little Indians bed (now eleven) continues to develop--the Amsonia in the rear is just beginning to turn gold and the Stella D'Oro daylilies in front are a bit larger. I'd hoped to widen the bed by another couple of feet this fall, but that can wait until next year.
|New back yard bed|
During the summer I planted a new Kousa dogwood near the miniature lilac Silvia had given me. I eventually joined the two mulched areas to form a new bed. Using the lazy method of newspaper mulch, I killed off the scrubby grass and have been putting in new plants here: a yellow lilac bush in the middle, a deep red hibiscus my neighbor gave me, a Clematis and lavender Bea gave me, an iris and a mum. It doesn't look like much right now, but hopefully, next year the plants will be fuller.
|View of the back yard|
|Shady bed under the deck|
The ferns under the deck are still struggling to get a foothold--the alkaline soil doesn't help. Lots of iron sulfate to acidify the soil hasn't made much difference so far. A Heartleaf Brunnera (B. macrophylla) was added this year; I'll keep working on it but it's a long ways from looking like much.
|Backyard with ornamental trees|
The back yard is still a fairly empty large space-- this year I added a native bottle-brush tree to the other small trees planted at the perimeter (tiny tree visible at left front). It will take a number of years before it attains its classic silhouette and lovely scented flowers. Behind it the Sevens Sons Flower Tree has sprung up to about five foot height and it bloomed lightly this summer. I've yet to see any showy red seed heads on it though--this is supposed to give the shrub two-season interest. The deer kept eating my trees back so I finally fenced in the dogwood and the crab apple--not very scenic but necessary until the trees grow tall enough to be out of the reach of the pesky critters.
I planted couple of new arbor vitae at the edge of our property, just behind where this photo was taken--one fast-growing Thuja 'Green Giant' and a Thuja 'Goldstrike,' with golden-tipped leaves. I'm hoping as these evergreens gain height, they will screen out the worst of the winter winds on this exposed hillside.
|Front of the house.|
There's still some time left for fall planting--I hope to dig in a few more trees and shrubs, and perhaps some spring-blooming bulbs in the coming weekends.