Monday, October 15, 2012

The Last GBBD of 2012


We were walking along the road with the dogs the other evening when my husband took my hand in his.

"Oh, your hands are soft!", he said with surprise.

"Hmm...", I acknowledged, though with an undercurrent of sadness, "I haven't been gardening."

Usually, my hands are rough sandpaper, but the last few weeks have been busy ones with little time for pulling weeds or mucking about in the dirt.

The gardening season is almost over, in fact this will be the last Garden Blogger's Bloom Day that I can participate in this year. 

My blooms are down to a few roses, some hydrangeas and a few perennials that are sprinkled throughout the garden.


What a wild ride this gardening season it has been, eh?

June weather in April, then a cold snap that sent everything into shock, followed by a summer with relentless heat, and little, if any rain. 

Thankfully, fall rains made up for summer's lack of generosity. The garden recovered somewhat at least. Fruit and berries were sacrificed however, as tree and shrubs held themselves in reserve. 

No pretty ornamental crabapples to put in fall arrangements this year! 

I usually pick up tubs and tubs of black walnuts off the lawn. This year there wasn't enough walnuts to fill even a single bin.


Fall has not been without a few surprises as well. 

On the weekend, it was like Mother Nature was turning off and on a fall light switch. Friday night, temperatures plummeted and we had our first hard frost. 


By Saturday morning, everything was covered in tiny ice crystals. 

As if on cue, the enormous black walnut in the backyard dropped almost all its leaves in the space of a single day. By evening, the snowstorm of falling leaves had covered entire lawn in a golden blanket.

Then... just to keep us guessing as to her intentions, Mother Nature graced us with a mild, humid day on Sunday.

Will winter be this unpredictable? I guess we will soon see!


So what remains on this, the my last Garden Blogger Bloom Day of 2012? 


My velevety-red coleus and the one above perished in the cold snap. My potato vines are mush. 


On Saturday morning, I discover a dopey half-frozen bee on the blue Agastache (left). The sky-blue calamint (right) continues to bloom in the front garden, although the tiny flowers have faded to light mauve in the cold.


Up until Friday night's frost, there were still a few Lavatera flowers.


And a bedraggled clematis that I got at an end-of-season clearance sale was so happy 
to have found a loving home that it flowered late last week as a thank you.


 My harvest of carrots was again a little meagre this fall, but I am still at that novice stage of vegetable gardening where any kind of a harvest, no matter how humble, is still exciting. 


I am very glad that I grew more annuals this year, especially sunflowers.


The chickadees feasting on the sunflower seeds were a joy to watch in the first weeks of fall.


There are still a few chores to do in the garden before all is said and done. 

I have some tomato plants to remove, bulbs to plant and leaves to rake. 


Then I will have the winter to think about what worked and what didn't... 

to consider the lessons learned...

and to dream about what I want to grow next year.



Seeds are set. With or without me, the garden is preparing itself for next year.


Just a hollow husk of its former glory, this poppy has dispersed its seeds on the wind.

 Next year's garden has already begun...

I am going to link this post to May Dreams Gardens GBBD
To see other beautiful October gardens in bloom, please click the link.

44 comments:

  1. End of season, happy and sad. Still very colourful pictures to show us and I loved the chickadees feasting on the Sunflower. Did you mean to say a bedraggled Clematis?

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    1. Thank you Alistair. I meant to write clematis not columbine.

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  2. Such a beautifully illustrated post - especially the photo of the pitcher of flowers. The spring and summer were strange out here as well, and what the weather didn't ruin, the deer got, so we are without apples or plums....off to the farmers' markets!

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    1. I am sure the lack of apples and plums are a disappointment Pondside, but a trip to the Farmer's Market is always an enjoyable chore. Here's hoping the deer lunch elsewhere and the weather behaves itself next year!

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  3. Como siempre, hermosas las fotos!! Parece que por allá es imprevisible el otoño y por acá lo está siendo la primavera, que hasta ahora es demasiado lluviosa.Un abrazo grande.

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    1. Hi Silvina, I envy you just a little. I wish spring was right around the corner and not a winter away.

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  4. Wow you must have a pretty big garden to accommodate a walnut tree, I hear they grow pretty large. Pity the meagre amount of walnuts that must be such fun gathering a big bounty of scrummy walnuts

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    1. We are lucky enough to have a 50 ft w x 200ft long residential lot. The black walnut towers over the house and yard. I am often told that its precious hard wood is worth a fortune, but have no plans to ever cut it down!

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  5. I am so not ready for winter to start!!! Bring back summer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Lovely photos - as always.

    Happy Monday!

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  6. Your pictures are captivating and your words so expressive of my own feeling regarding the changing season. Our hard freeze came last week. Saturday was clean up day. So sad to see the flowers go.

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    1. I agree Carolyn. It is always a little heartbreaking to see the gardening season end!

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  7. I like the way you put that - next year's garden has already begun! I was a bit sad when I read this will be your last GBBD for the year. The frost is always such a party-pooper! I, too, wonder what the weather will bring this winter. I'm hoping for a normal one, if I could only remember what normal was!

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    1. Holley, I won't be able to participate with flowers, but I will enjoy visiting other gardens like yours where the flowers continue into the new year.

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  8. Yours are the first frost pictures I have seen this season. I hope I won't be sharing any of those for at least another month. Happy GBBD, even if it's your last for 2012.

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    1. How lucky you are Les to have frost still a month in the future. I look forward to seeing what's blooming in your garden.

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  9. So true, next year's garden has begun and it doesn't take much on our part, does it? I smiled when reading of how you enjoyed the birds feasting on the sunflower seeds. The black-eyed Susan's have set seed and I can't wait to watch the goldfinches feasting soon. It always amazes me how many finches can gather on one plant without weighing it down!

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  10. The delicately frosted hydrangea photo, with all those shades of dusty pink, is simply superb and yea, you included a wonderful photo of my favourite weed of all time - Milkweed! Seeing those wacky seedpods takes me back to my youthful jaunts along the Bruce trail. As always, top notch photos, thanks for sharing!

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  11. I love the pictures of the flowers covered in frost.

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  12. Great pictures. That frozen rose is beautiful. We haven't had frost yet.

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  13. Beautiful post - though your hubby´s comment about your hands made me giggle! :-)

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  14. At least you can always open your files and look at the previous growths and colors. That will sustain you enough till winter. But those lovely frosts in very colorful leaves are what we are deprived of in the tropics. But we have colors all year round, even if they are not like your autumn colors. So during you cold months, we invite you to always visit our posts, because we don't run out of colors, warm colors!

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    1. Andrea, I will be sure to visit your blog in the winter months and am sure to warm up when looking at your wonderful tropical pictures!

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  15. Beautiful!
    You could do a little indoor gardening this winter. The plant that comes to mind is Cyclamen. Perhaps a florist shop would have them where you live. Set in a pretty pot as a centerpiece for your dining room table, you could have blooms through the winter.
    Have a great day!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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    1. Hi Lea, I always have pots of cyclamen on my kitchen window in winter. Forced bulbs, florist's flowers and the gardens I visit on the internet keep me going through the long Canadian winter!

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  16. Such a beautiful post, Jennifer! We have had much the same weather, and I've been busy once again pulling out dead annuals and planting a few bulbs each day until my knees can't take anymore. In some ways it is sad to see the gardening season come to an end, but seeing all the seedheads is a reminder that the cycle will begin again in spring. Winter gives us all a chance to recharge and dream up new ideas for the coming season.

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  17. Looks beautiful, Jennifer. Your "to do" list sounds like mine - tomatoe and eggplants to remove, a last bit of basil to harvest (somehow it survived the frost) and bulbs to plant. Waiting for a sunny day for that one, so I'm hoping next week. As for leaves - that's an ongoing thing as we have 5 big maples on the property that lay a carpet of leaves daily. Oh, I'm not complaining. It's always been my dream to have a ton of leaves from big trees.

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  18. A frost already? Wow. The bouquet of flowers is beautiful!!!! Wasn't this year just bizarre? Here as well- hot then cold then humid - just bouncing back and forth. Confused everything. I have a Texas Red Bud that I found blooming last week. (spring bloomer....). Just nuts. Bummer on the walnut harvest but great carrot batch!!! In spite of it all you still had several beautiful photos to share this post. Who knows, you might have one next month....

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  19. Frost always means end of season, but until now we had not any frost, but we have lots of rain and wind. So the garden also is almost on the end, romoved already some annuals, cut off long branches of roses and I have to make place for my tulip bulbs. I could not help laughing about your 'soft hands', I have the same problem my hands look awful at the moment.
    Thanks again for your beautiful pictures.

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  20. I have no post this GBBD - and my frost wasn't even as pretty as yours. Just cold temperatures, wind and rain.

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  21. A feast for the eyes! You are such an artist with the camera. The icy hydrangea with its shades of caramel and lavender is lovely.

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  22. Jennifer, it's so sad to see frozen roses! Mine are under cover now. Nice photos of your harvest!

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  23. The frost gave you some pretty photos! We have been having weather at 70°. I have not been outside, but I don't think we had a frost as of yet.

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  24. Gardeners hands, i have gloves that i wear sometimes, but they are a bit of a hindrance. Lovely photo's too. I seem to be running around like a chook with it's head cut off on GBBD, so many blogs to visit. I do hope you will still be posting even though the weather is getting colder for you there, and perhaps not much gardening to do!

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    1. Karen, When the snow is flying here it is always comforting to visit a garden somewhere else in the world, where the sun is shining and the flowers are in bloom. Other than a two week break at the end of December, I will be continuing to post and pay visits to other blogs. I hope you have a nice week too Karen!

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  25. I actually really love the photo of your red rose, beautiful colour. Have a nice week Jennifer.

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  26. My hands always return to normal when we go on holiday - they don't take long to going back to being disgraceful once I get back in the garden though. Not much left in my garden either - always a sad time for me but there is always spring around the corner - let's hope next years weather will be a bit more settled.

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    1. Elaine, I am with you on the weather. Less heat and a bit more rain would be appreciated. Are you listening Mother Nature?

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  27. Gorgeous collection of "last blooms!" I love this time of year, saying goodbye to my flowers as they die off, one by one, time to recharge my own batteries, my mind's already racing ahead with plans for the spring... I love your shot of the ice crystals on the faded hydrangea, so beautiful!

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  28. Nice that your husband noticed how soft your hands are. Sweet. Beautiful poppy seed head shot...dream of blooms to come.
    You have some beautiful photos of the frost. I like the frosty pics, though not the thought of mushy ones.

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    1. Janet, I agree that frost crystals are magical. Mushed annuals...not so magical.

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  29. I have just discovered your lovely blog! Do you mind if readers "pin" your photos? -- with proper credit, of course.

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    1. Hi Cindy, Feel free to pin any of the photos I have taken. There are some images (mostly on the book review pages) that are by other photographers and are protected by copyright. They are clearly identified with a copyright and as they belong to someone else, I can't grant any permissions. Other than that, happy pinning!

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  30. Beautiful photos of your frost! We have only had a light frost here... but my potato vines are mush as well. I love the combining of the poppy photos for the last shot. We must embrace the changing seasons to enjoy them!
    ~Julie

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