Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Winding Down

The first taste of autumn has definitely arrived. In classic backwards fashion, I spent the recent weeks of sweltering weather working feverishly in the garden every change I got. Now that the temperatures have cooled and a crisp breeze has arrived, I am finding myself much less motivated to work and much more content to just enjoy the garden. Enjoy, for example, the coreopsis that is now in full glory (C. tripteris).
The fungal leaf spot that was overrunning my tomatoes has required near-daily spraying of my 3-1 water and milk solution (as you can see in the above photo of a milk-soaked leaf). But it hardly counts as work. Really, I'd be standing there puttering in the veggie bed anyway, thinking about how some plants turned out to be duds this year (green beans, most of the carrots, bell peppers yet again) and some have been rock stars (tomatoes although they take forever to ripen, chili peppers, lettuce earlier this summer). And I've enjoyed how the milk solution has won itself pride of place as an antifungal treatment in my garden. It's made stunning progress on the leaf spot in just a few days, earlier in the season it saved my green beans from total annihilation, and it stopped the powdery mildew long enough to allow my monardas to bloom for the first time ever! Once they stopped blooming and I stopped paying attention to spraying (or rather, turned my attention to fungi infections in the veggie garden), the monardas were promptly engulfed in those damned white spots. If you're looking for a simple, organic way to control mildew and fungus, you really can't beat three parts water to one part milk.
I'm definitely pleased that the hyacinth bean vines are finally blooming, even though they're not really vining up the front porch poles. They're making a late-season effort and they're lovely. I know now these vines just aren't right for this location because they clearly don't get enough sun early in the season. In my unrequited pursuit of vines on these ugly white poles, I have decided to try morning glories next year.
I'm eagerly watching as the goldenrods bloom in tiny burst by tiny burst of yellow. These elm-leaved goldenrods (Solidago ulmifolia) were gorgeous in their first year, and their robust height and arching sprays of buds seem to promise more of the same this year. The zig-zag goldenrod (S. flexicaulis) is a little pummeled from rain, but it's still got plenty of flower buds.
These harebells (Campanula rotundifolia) are barely 6" tall with delicate, almost ferny foliage. It's hard to appreciate them by this solitary flower, which is one of the last ones left. I added five to my Border of Misfit Plants, and they've re-bloomed all year in the terrible soil and unpredictable sun patterns. I am happily enjoying this rare success in my most problematic border and hoping they keep it up next year. Soon, I will have to stop just enjoying and return to the important activities of fall. Spring bulbs are already on order and will require much digging in the garden and potting more for forcing. The inevitable frost will lead to extensive clean-up and composting of vegetables and other spent plants (the ones that just look ugly, with no real "winter interest"). Containers will have to be emptied and cleaned. But until then, it's nice to take a look around and enjoy before it all goes away.


Rose said...

Rose, you've surely posted before about your water/milk solution, but I had completely forgotten about it. I'm writing it down in my garden journal now so I don't forget next year. I love the idea of a natural fungicide like this.

I can understand your wanting to just enjoy the garden for awhile. Now that it's cooled off, I'm a lot more motivated to get some work done in the garden. Lots of fall projects to accomplish!

Congrats on your hyacinth bean blooms. I'll have to show you mine sometime--I didn't think the seeds had germinated, so I kept planting a few more. I now have a monster crawling up a trellis. I told the grandkids (including the youngest named Jack) that there might be a golden goose at the end of the beanstalk:)

Mary mom said...

Beware of morning glories. I found them to be very invasive and have tried to rid my garden of them but they just keep coming back. Despite the trellis they had to climb it seemed they preferred vining out and strangling other plants. I have replaced them with clematis vines and now have four varieties. Love them.

Hannah said...

Wow, I am impressed that you kept the Harebells going. I tried them from seed last year and they seemed OK and even were blooming some, but I planted them where I have trouble with grasses invading, and found the foliage hard to distinguish from grass, and also none seemed to make it back the next year.

We must have very different climates, I don't have much trouble with fungi on beans, and not on tomato foliage usually unless I get blight. I enjoyed growing some Italian beans this year, bush Marconi and pole yellow Shrimp beans, Annelino Giallo.

garden girl said...

So glad the milk is working Rose!

This is such a pretty time of year. Even though the garden is winding down, the light is just so pretty.

I have a bunch of stuff to move, but have been too busy being lazy, enjoying the garden instead of working in it.

Sissy said...

Rose, thank you for sharing the success you've had with the mild solution.
I love that you call that bed the Border of Misfit Plants! I have a few that could go there! (I always think of that Jack in the Box from the cartoon!)
I wonder if you have a good source of spring bulbs that would share? I am afraid to pull the trigger, I have heard so many bad reports!

Carol said...

Its certainly true that we become less obsessive about our gardens this time of year. I'm perfectly happy with mine looking overgrown. I think of my garden as being volumptuous in the autumn, and proud of it.

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