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Falling – Gently

After a chilly, even cold, week we are now enjoying a sunny warm spell.  Autumn begins tomorrow but the fall into the golden season is now a gentle one. I am looking forward to a mild week because there is a lot to do in the garden.

In spite of the chill, I did get to observe the eradication of the Mile-a-Minute vine in Greenfield, and visit some other gardens last week.

Mile-a-Minute vine

Mile-a-Minute vine

I cannot stress how dangerous this invasive weed is. Seeds that look like little blueberries are ripening right now. The little barbs are vicious! If you find this plant growing in your neighborhood email our state botanist at  bryan.a.connolly@state.ma.us.
Dahlia - giant

Dahlia - giant

While I was visiting the Purington family at Woodslawn Farm I got to admire  some maginificent flowers like this giant pink dahlia. It’s about 6 feet tall and the blossom is more than 8 inches across.

Balsam

Balsam

I know about balsam evergreens, of course, but this balsam flower was new to me. It was just one of the many flowers in a garden that allows Barbara Purington to keep the house filled with gorgeous bouquets.

Katsura

Katsura

There is always a lot to admire at Tony Palumbo and Mike Collins’ garden. The Greenfield Garden Club visited and were in high admiration mode. Tony showed us his long tall zinnia border which I loved, hibiscus, an exulting hydrangea and a secret garden with a splashing fountain.  Tony and Mike have planted  wonderful trees over the years. My favorite is the Katsura with its heart shaped leaves.

Magnolia

Magnolia

Of course, there was this stunning magnolia tree that looked so exotic and tropical, but Tony said it is a native variety he bought at Nasami farm.

After visiting gorgeous gardens it is time to come back to earth.

Lasagne garden

Lasagne garden

Under the warm Sunday sun it was a joy to work in the garden.  My husband mowed and cleared the tansy, goldenrod and mint filled area between two of my ‘new’ wood chip paths.  (You can see the wood chips on either side of the cardboard.)  I don’t know quite why we never got that area covered. Once Henry cleared the space I put down some unfinished compost and covered that with lots of cardboard, two and three layers deep.  Then more chips.  Last year, when I was making the Potager, I put compost on top of the cardboard, but right now I don’t have enough to cover such a large area. My plan for this year is to let chips cover the cardboard until it is spring planting time.  Then I will push aside the chips to make winter squash hills. I’ll break through the rotting cardboard, pile on some compost and rotted manure and plant the squash seed.  Over the summer the squash vines will cover the wood chips which will continue to cover this area. My theory is that this will be a weed control and in the spring of 2011 I”ll be ble to put in vegetables that need more attention.  Remember, worms love living under cardboard so they’ll be adding their castings to the soil this fall, and in the spring as soon as it begins to warm up. 

sweetpeas

sweetpeas

Before we leave the Potager I have to show off my Zinfandel sweet peas from Renee’s Garden. Because of the poor soil in this spot, and the bad spring weather they got off to a slow start. They also had to fight the tansy that kept coming through the cardboard. In spite of all my weeding they are still fighting the tansy, but they have won.  They are climbing on the metal crib ends I found at the Transfer Station, part of my White Things strategy for keeping away the deer, and my desire to do as much Reusing before I got to Recycling.

7 comments to Falling – Gently

  • Fortunately, Mile a Minute Vine isn’t a problem around here. I wonder if it would be good as a biofuel? Your Sweet Peas are lovely, too bad you had to wait so long for them.

  • Sarah

    Where did you find tansy? I’ve been looking to find seeds, I hear it will keep away ants, mosquitoes and squash vine borers.

  • admin

    MMD – The whole biofuel issue would be less complicated if we could just round up all the bittersweet, knotweed, kudzu and Mile-a-minute vine.
    Sarah BEWARE OF TANSY! I don’t know where I first got it 25 years ago. I planted it exactly for your reasons, and because I read it was a good companion for roses. Now I have a field of tansy – tansy that comes up through layers of cardboard and woodchips. Maybe you can grow it in a pot, but the seeds do fly. I also have tansy along my road sides.
    Pat

  • Leaves are turning while I wait for the first frost. So far we’re a week past the average.

    I’ve never seen Mile-a-Minute vine but I will keep an eye out. Hopefully it won’t like the cold winters here.

    Tansy was one of my first gardening mistakes. I should have known better when I dug some up to bring home. A patch a couple acres large should have been a good clue it was aggressive.

  • admin

    Wiseace, Every day I am grateful for no frost, but historically (well, recent history) we have gone into October in our garden with no frost. The wind blows the frost right down our southern slope to our neighbors. As for tansy, I bought mine, if you can believe it.
    Pat

  • Kate

    Wonderful post! I love the giant dahlia and your funny self deprecation about the tansy.

  • I love your pictures of a new bed starting. Makes me itch to start a new one myself 🙂

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