Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Garden in the early days of October

Hey, we Canadians may be the last to experience spring, but we are amongst the first in North America to get frost....

Wait a minute! I guess that is one race we may not want to win.

That being said, it has been unseasonably mild here. Last weekend was our Thanksgiving. While it is usually a chilly, warm jacket kind of weekend, we were thrilled to have shorts and T-shirt weather instead.

Still, there are probably only a few days left until we have our first big frost and the garden finishes the season. This is probably the last time I can participate in GBBD without a trip down a memory lane.

So what is blooming in my garden?

Throughout the garden, the various hydrangea bushes have gone from crisp white to...

soft pink to ...

a deep rose. In the next couple of weeks they will fade to a soft, paper-bag brown.

The sedum pick up where other perennials have left off.

There tiny flowers are quite something on close inspection. Sedum spectabile 'Stardust'

My pink sedum have gradually deepened from soft pink color to a deep rose.

Sadly, my main occupation these days has been to pick up green golf balls off the lawn! Our enormous black walnut that has produced a bumper crop of nuts this year. 

In the fall, crossing the lawn is like strapping on a set of roller skates and going for a ride!

Meet the Nut Wizard!

Normally, I am not one for garden gadgets. Give me a good shovel, a spade, some pruners, a rake and an edger and I am good to go. The prospect of again having to pick up literally hundreds and hundreds of nuts however, sent us shopping for an easier method than the usual endless, tedious raking.

My dear hubby discovered this little Nut Wizard at Lee Valley Tools and I have to tell you that it is just great! 

You just roll the little metal wizard over the surface of the ground and the nuts get drawn into the ball. To empty the ball, you simply part the spokes and let the nuts tumble out. 

If you have fallen nuts or fruit, this may be the widget for you.

Here is another idea. I don't know about you, but my annual containers and urns are looking a bit tired. I gave them a simple instant up date but inserting cabbages that I got at the local grocery store.

These cabbages are really intended for floral arrangements, but I have given them a fresh trim and inserted the stem into my container plantings. Leave about 6" of stem on each cabbage. Then just push them down into the soil. No digging required! As long as you keep the soil moist, I find they do pretty well.

I even added a few somewhat cheesy, fake pumpkins...

Elsewhere in the garden, the 5' tall Rudbeckia still has a few flowers. Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne'

And the roses continue to bloom, but I will save them for my next post as this one is already too long. Until then, Happy Garden Blogger's Bloom Day! 

To see other October gardens in bloom, be sure to visit May Dreams Gardens.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Love your gadget, not sure what I would use it for though as I don't have any nuts. At least you will have your beautiful photos to remind you of what the garden looked like, when winter finally comes.

  2. I am jealous you have walnuts!! Lovely tool, no black fingers )))

    You have more flowers than I do..and I find that so interesting, comparing our weather.

    Your cabbage decorating in urn, is a refreshing display for the season.

    Happy Autumn.

  3. Your pictures show such wonderful flowers and it looks like it´s summer or early autumn.

    here in the south part of Sweden we had our first frost the other night and it feels like winter in the mornings and autumn during the days. the kids are so happy and can´t wait until the snow comes! I can! please wait much much longer.....!!!


  4. aloha,

    love the outdoor floral display...great macro pics, they are beautiful

  5. Your garden is so beautiful, Jennifer . Love the sedums and the cabbages . Can't wait to see the roses !
    Have a nice sunday !

  6. Beautiful shots... love the purple cabbage... we in Seattle are amongst the later arriving seasons too... but the season of rain is always upon us...

  7. Many pretty images of Fall, Jennifer. But I like that Nut Wizard. My neighbor behind us has a black walnut tree and I can really use that tool. You husband made a great find.

  8. Everything still looks so lush and colourful in your garden. Enjoy all of those walnuts!

  9. Stunning photos and seeing your three boys gives me hope that it is possible to eventually restore my back garden to its pre- Bella and Onslow state.

  10. Your garden still looks so wonderful, I'm surprised being you're in Canada...I would have thought the growing season would've came to a close. Everything here is pretty faded.

  11. Your photos are breath taking! I am glad you all are still getting some mild weather! That Nut Wizard is a HOOT!

  12. Great nut picker-upper. The nuts look like Hickories. We have lots of them too. Do you know good recipes/things to do with them?

  13. Your pics are always beautiful. But I absolutely adore your container! Fabulous! Happy GBBD!

  14. Jennifer that nut picker upper looks great. Don't fret the faux it is all the rage here mixing with the real. I love those cabbages on a stick have not seen those here yet.


  15. Never too long of a post here at your blog! Now I'm going to have to check out the nut picker upper at Lee Valley (I love that store) and get one for us. We have three black walnuts here and I giggled when I read your description of walking across the ground. It's really difficult, isn't it? How did you know my containers are looking ratty? Now I have more ideas for freshening them up and yanking out the dead petunias, lol.

    Lol, you have won the race for latest spring and earliest frost, but we're right behind you by a few days on both seasons. Wasn't last week's warm weather wonderful? I miss it already.

  16. The quality of your photographs is truly spectacular so I really enjoyed my visit for GBBD. We have two huge black walnuts and my husband loves gadgets. Wait til I show him the nut roller!!!

  17. That nut pickin gadget is fab! Never seen anything like it! Do you use the walnuts? That urn arrangement is fab, you have a flower arranger's eye!

  18. I am always in awe at your fabulous photos... truly spectacular.. love the planter ......

  19. I live in the land of pecans and I often wonder if those wheely things worked well getting nuts off the ground. I saw a man yesterday bending over under his pecan...he could have used one!
    Love the photo with the Nasturciums in the vase...all the colors are just wonderful together...including the tablecloth. You are amazing.

  20. Hydrangeas are one of my favorites, and you've captured their beauty so well, Jennifer. Even faded, they look beautiful. I thought walking through hundreds of crunchy acorns was bad, but I can't imagine all those black walnuts! Your new gadget looks like the perfect tool for making this job easier. Beautiful arrangement in your container!

  21. A wonderful display for GBBD. Your photography is fantastic.

  22. The Hydrangeas are beautiful- such a classic. Love them. The nut wizard is funny- we have something like that similar we used to pick up pecans at my grandparents though they normally were reserved for the adults and the kids ran around picking up the pecans- a race to see who could get more. (great way to get your pecans picked up in a hurry....) The cabbage is so pretty and I love the arrangement you made with it!

  23. That container is awesome! The nut wizard looks like it was created by someone tired of stepping on those giant green balls. Necessity possibly the mother of invention?

  24. Last to get Spring and first to get frost, yes that is funny. But unlike us in Scotland at least you get more warm Summer days, your Winters may be a bit hard to take though. In the meantime, I love what I see in your garden, and yes the nut pickin thing is something else. Alistair.

  25. How gorgeous! Such wonderful flowers! Really a feast for the eyes! :)

  26. Well isn't that Nut Wizard a neat tool for walnuts.No more black fingers. LOL!
    You hydrangea blooms look so pretty. Gorgeous pictures!

  27. Beautiful post, I actually think Hydrangea blooms are at their loveliest as they fade and change colors in fall...they look so surreal with their muted colors!

  28. Jennifer, your images inspire. I can only imagine how exquisite your garden must feel and look when seen up on its feet.

    A request: When you get your big freeze, please send some down to Connecticut. I've had way too much pre-autumn.

  29. Love your garden stories and wonderful photos. That nut-piker up gadget is quite an invention! your urn is very stylish.

  30. Thank you for your comments everyone. Black Walnuts are supposedly a delicacy, but I tell you, they are one tough nut to crack! When the walnuts first fall from the tree, they are lime green and have a nice, lemony fragrance. They are also hard as rocks!
    Once they hit the ground they quickly ripen into greasy, black orbs which accounts for their name "black" walnuts. Handling them quickly coats your fingers in a black, oily film.
    I have yet to read an account on how best to harvest them. At the moment, we gather them for compost.
    I have always read that it is impossible to grow anything under a black walnut. (The tree supposedly puts toxins into the ground that kills other plants and trees. I would guess that this eliminates competition for the tree.)
    Well, most of my garden is under that walnut tree! Shhh, no one tell my plants that they are supposed to be dead!
    One final note. The hard wood timber of a black walnut is very valuable. Just the other day, an arborist told me the tree may be worth upward of $40,000. He advised that if we ever plan to move, we should cut the 3 story tree down first. I would never do it though! It is a grand old tree.

  31. Wow, I never would have guessed your garden was under a Black Walnut! Or that the tree would be that valuable. There was a big beautiful Black Walnut at the back of the playground at our elementary school. I remember it well. The nuts would turn everything black. lol


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