Friday, October 31, 2014

Long Island Landscape: All the Colors of Fall

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."~ Albert Camus 
Sometimes the simplest of things in life are best.  Enjoy all the colors of fall! 
 Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit'
 Coral Bark Maple
Astilbe and Lamb's Ear
Montauk Daisies
 Woodland Path Autumn
 Autumn Foliage
Ornamental Grasses
                 Tree Bark Pumpkin and Fall Mums
Fall Mums     
Seed Pods
         Mill Pond Autumn Colors
Mill Pond Autumn Colors
Mill Pond Autumn Colors
Mill Pond Autumn Colors 
  Visiting Swans

Swans at Mill Pond
Fall Foliage
Autumn Sunset Long Island (View of North Fork)
Pale amber sunlight falls across
The reddening October trees....
Are we not better and at home
In dreamful Autumn, we who deem
No harvest joy is worth a dream?
A little while and night shall come,
A little while, then, let us dream...

~Ernest Dowson, "Autumnal"

Linking up with Floral Friday Fotos and Today's Flowers.

As Always...Happy Gardening and Happy Halloween!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2014. All rights reserved

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up: October 2014 Garden - Autumn Blooms!

As the daily temperatures drop into the 60's with nighttime temperatures in the 50's and a sudden briskness in the air it is time for a walk in my Long Island October garden for this month's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-up.  There are still many reminders of summer visible in the garden as the changes of fall slowly creep in causing the landscape to burst into an array of color which I have enjoyed photographing. Come along with me and take a stroll in my October garden.  
Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' with Canon Telephoto Lens
During the more brisk days of fall the sky is often a surreal deep blue which acts like a canvas behind the colors of the blooms that are still around.  Here Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' is proving to be one of my favorite additions to the garden this summer as it is still blooming in October.
Echinacea PowWow ® 'Wild Berry'
Echinacea PowWow ® 'Wild Berry', also a new addition this summer has been providing lots of enjoyment.  I am hoping both these varieties fair well over the winter for I have really become attached to their profuse blooms.
Monarch Butterfly October Garden
This beautiful Monarch Butterfly has landed on my lantana just in time for bloom day.  I have seen a real decline in butterflies this season, probably the least number of visits in a long time and have been missing them.  It is such a delight to enjoy the beauty of this one as he has made an appearance in my gardens.
Knock Out Rose 'Double Red'
Here are my reliable Double Red Knock Out Roses as they are still very much in bloom.  I love how they profusely bloom all the way into winter and continue to have buds even as the first snow arrives.
Bumble bee on Nepeta Bloom
The bumble bee population is up again and has been doing fine this season. They have been frequenting the nectar of the blooms all summer long...
Bumble bee on Sedum 'Brilliant' Bloom
and are in their glory enjoying the fall blooming nepeta and sedum.
Hemerocallis 'Stella D Oro' Daylily October

The Stella D Oro daylilies are showing the last of their blooms for 2014.  I had rejuvenated them back in early August and have been enjoying their extended season.
Crape Myrtle 'Sioux' Bloom
After blooming for three months my Crape Myrtle 'Sioux' has one lone bloom on it that held out just for Bloom Day so you could see it here as the rest of the landscape leads into fall with a whole new look.
October Perennial Border
  Shades of oranges and gold now grace the garden as the perennial border by the back  patio goes into fall mode.
Viburnum 'Summer Snowflake'

Viburnum 'Summer Snowflake' is showing its delicate second round of blooms for the month of October...
Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica)
and the colorful seed cones are now very prominent on the Blue Atlas Cedar.
Front Driveway Garden-Coral Bark Maple behind Oriental Spruce 'Skylands'
The fall foliage on the Coral Bark Maple is changing from pale green to hues of orange and golden-yellow.  Soon the bark will be turning a bright coral-red as the name of the tree implies.   Plumes from grasses nearby sway gently in the breeze and you may notice remaining hints of yellow and purple-blue from Coreopsis 'Zagreb'  and Nepeta 'Walkers Low' against the maroon of Barberry 'Royal Burgundy' to the left.
Maiden Grass 'Yaku Jima'
The larger plumes on the 'Yaku Jima' Maiden Grass make a much bigger statement in the backyard...
Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo)
as dainty white flowers on the Nandina turn into berries that will appear in the upcoming months.
Hydrangea 'Tardivia'
The panicle hydrangea along the side yard continues its show as its elongated white blooms start to transform into shades of pale pink with the arrival of cooling temperatures.  There is also still a faint fragrance that can be noticed as you pass by.
Front Meandering Walkway and Garden 
There is change in the gardens along the walkway as well as the variegated liriope's purple blooms turn into tiny black berries and the foliage is very full.  There is also a hint of October orange from the Caramel Heuchera up ahead.
Miscanthus 'Yaku Jima'  (Dwarf Maiden Grass) and Sedum 'Brilliant' Combination
The plumes of the Maiden Grass remind me somewhat of a horse's mane as it cascades over the sedum below it, making for an interesting fall foliage combination.
Norway Spruce (Picea abies) Cones with Canon Telephoto Lens
In the distance cones are forming on the Norway spruce signaling fall is here.
October Garden-Echinacea Digital Art
I hope you enjoyed the walk through my October garden. Please visit our hostesses Carol at May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for Foliage Follow-Up.   I am also linking up with Creative Country Mom's Home Sweet Garden PartyToday's Flowers, Floral FridaysMosaic Monday at Lavender Cottage, I Heart Macro and Macro Monday 2. Thank you so much for visiting and if you leave a note I will know you dropped by to say hello and I will be sure to visit you as well! 

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2014. All rights reserved

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October Garden Chores - 10 Helpful Tips

October Garden Chores
Autumn has arrived in the northeast and there are several important chores to get accomplished in the garden before winter arrives and to give your landscape a good start for next spring. Here is a to-do list to help get your started.  These tips apply to USDA zone 7 but can be useful for other gardening zones as well.

(1)  Remove those weeds!  There is nothing more annoying than starting up a new gardening season and being inundated with weeds.  Removing weeds now in the fall will rid their seeds so they won’t be able to multiply over the winter season. Dandelions have long tap roots that can be difficult to remove, but I have found the perfect tool! This garden weeder to the left effortlessly removes the entire root.  It also works well with those nasty clover that have been widespread this season. Being proactive now will save time later.

(2)  Plant Spring Bulbs & Wildflowers: Now is the time to plant those spring flowering bulbs and wildflowers!   Some popular bulbs planted in the month of October are Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus, Allium and Hyacinths. Some northeastern wildflowers include Rudbeckia, Coneflower, Cornflower and Poppies.  For self-sowing perennials, biennials and annuals leave the seed heads on existing plants so they can drop to the ground and re-seed for next spring.

(3)  Tree & Shrub Protection: Remove any diseased or dead branches from trees and shrubs to prevent winter damage.  Also remove water sprouts and sucker growth. 

(4) Insect Control: Now is the time to apply dormant oil onto trees and shrubs for winter protection from insects.  Insects such as scale and aphids lay their eggs in September which overwinter causing early infestations in spring.  Dormant oil is prepared to be safe for beneficial insects, birds, mammals and humans and smothers out harmful insect larvae before they hatch. Certain plants are sensitive to dormant oil so be sure to read all specifications carefully.

(5)  Clean Up Garden Beds: Remove infected leaves from perennials and herbaceous shrubs. Faded peony, roses, hosta, daylily and coneflower leaves are very susceptible to fungal infections and powdery mildew.  Once the foliage has died back for the season cut it completely back to the ground and make sure the ground is clean around the plant.  Cover with a fine layer of mulch after clean-up to protect the roots and dispose of the infected leaves into the trash, not the compost pile.

(6)  Prune Perennials:  Prune certain perennials to a couple of inches above the ground once they are done blooming for the season. Perennials that benefit from winter pruning include salvia, coreopsis, sedum, gaillardia, nepeta and daylily.  Liriope is somewhat sensitive to cold and can be pruned half way but not all the way down.  Some perennials are very cold sensitive such as Heuchera (coral bells), astilbe, liatris, lavender, perovskia (russian sage) and lupine are best to be left until early spring.

(7)  Clean up Leaves: At the end of the month remove leaves from the lawn and garden. Leaves left over winter can harbor fungal disease and damage your lawn or perennials.  Either add your leaves to a compost area or shred them.  A fine layer of shredded leaves can add valuable organic matter to your garden and can be used as mulch protection for your plants.

(8) Dig Up Tender Bulbs: Dig up tender bulbs such as gladiolus, canna lily and dahlias that do not survive the winter at the end of the month (before frost) and store them in a cool dry place such as a crawl space or garage in either a paper bag or in a container of vermiculite.

(9) Mulch Garden Beds:  Check and apply mulch to your gardens around perennials and shrubs in areas where the temperatures fall below freezing for long periods of time. The mulch serves as insulation for the plants and provides some important protection during winter freezes and thaws and also helps to prevent moisture loss.

(10) Continue Watering: Continue to water evergreens, trees and shrubs until freeze warnings (end of October-beginning of November). It is important that prior to winter that there is significant moisture around your plants before the ground freezes in order to ensure their health. Evergreens are especially prone to desiccation and winter burn caused by drying winds and lack of moisture during the cold season.

Have you started your fall garden chores?  I hope you find the above October gardening tips to be helpful.

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2014. All rights reserved

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fall-planted Flowers for Extra Splendor

Planting Bulbs and Wildflowers
Fall is an excellent time for planning the spring garden. I hope you enjoy this guest post and find the information to be useful! 

The first and most important step to having a beautiful garden full of flowers is their planting. If you do not properly plant the seeds and then perform the required care it is very unlikely that the flowers will grow as beautiful as you want them, if they grow at all. That is why it is very important to follow certain rules when planting your flowers, especially if you are not an expert in this field. Most people underestimate the fall, but it’s the perfect time to plant many wildflowers, long-lived flowers and flowers’ seeds. The following tips are aimed at helping you to plant the flowers you want during the fall so they will delight you with their beautiful blooms and scent next season.

The first step is to define whether your flowers are annual or perennial as the two types of flowers require different types of maintenance. For example annual flowers such as forget-me-not and violets can grow only from seeds while perennial flowers can grow either from planting seeds, bulbs or cuttings from the stable, the roots and even from the leaves of another, already grown flower of the same kind. And flowers that cannot form seeds for some reason can be planted only in a vegetative way.  

Purple Crocus
Planting bulbs
Plant your bulbs early enough (late September-October) or before the first frost. Don’t forget that the winter is coming and your bulbs need time to grow roots before the temperature falls. When planting your bulbs it is better to use a garden spade as the bulbs look their best when planted in groups. Lesser the space-bigger the effect!  Bulbs grow best in a well-drained organic soil and the best depth for planting is two and a half times the bulb’s height. While planting, mix some fertilizer (bone meal or super phosphate) in the soil around and under the bulbs and water. Maintain light watering to keep the soil moist but do not over water. Daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, allium and tulips are good examples of fall-planted bulbs.

Autumn is the time when Mother Nature plants, so it’s the best period to sow your seeds. Take your time and choose a sunny spot. You need to ensure that the growing season is over so plant your wildflowers around the same time you would plant bulbs. Any type of soil is suitable for planting (except a completely sterile one) and it helps to plant your wildflower garden near a water resource. Clean the chosen area from roots, grass and other plants. You need to choose the right wildflowers for your garden. Pay attention to the fact that most of them are annuals and “self-sowing”; for example: cornflowers, poppies and cosmos. If you want perennial wildflowers, you will have plants that will come back every year and can last for decades. Daisies, coreopsis and purple coneflowers are good examples of perennial wildflowers.

How to sow your seeds?
The seeds should be spread on bare soil. To achieve a more natural look, you can leave a little grass. The best way to plant wildflowers is to mix the seeds with clean white sand (the type that is used in children's sandboxes) and distribute evenly onto the soil. You should remember not to cover the seeds. You only need to press them into the bare soil, which can be achieved by walking on it or using a roller for larger spaces. Once your seed is “squashed” into the ground, your work is finished. Birds may arrive and start eating the seeds but don’t worry. They won’t ruin your project.

And do not forget – if you are hesitant about about a certain kind of flower you can always visit the local flower shop or simply search online.

Bio: Christine is a professional blogger who is engaged in organizing her household and raising her 2 kids. She has extensive experience in writing about different matters related to home maintenance. Currently she is sharing useful garden care and maintenance tips.