It is well with my garden

November 5, and it is well with my garden. Gradually, flowers are slowing down, but roses were still blooming in the blustery day that preceded yesterday’s rain. ‘Carefree Beauty’ seems to have come out of her slump of two months and is blooming freely now. She grows near two roses that died of Rose Rosette Disease so I expect her to come down with it. I will enjoy her as long as I can. I did take some cuttings of ‘Carefree Beauty’ last year, and one is growing in the bed facing the street. So far, the street bed, as I’m now calling it, hasn’t seen any RRD. ‘Belinda’s Dream’ is also looking mighty fine.

Rosehips on Rosa 'Baseye's Blueberry' are a lovely bright orange.
Rosa ‘Carefree Beauty’ strutting her stuff with maiden hair grass.

My garden’s daily story is being told more now in berries, stems and leaves than in flowers. This is as it should be.

Rosehips on Rosa 'Baseye's Blueberry' are a lovely bright orange.
Rosehips on Rosa ‘Baseye’s Blueberry’ are a lovely bright orange. If you’re looking for a moderately-sized rosebush without prickles (thorns), this is a good one.

The mums which took so long to flower are now doing so with abundance. I am grateful for their late show. So are the few pollinators left flying about. I saw one Monarch today. She is late. I hope she laid eggs on the swamp milkweed in another bed.

Monarch shyly hiding on 'Will's Wonderful' mum. If you can only have one mum, this should be the one.
Monarch shyly sipping from ‘Will’s Wonderful’ mum. If you can only have one mum, this should be the one.

My recent posts on annual and tropical plants and fall-blooming plants for pollinators were information driven. This one is more personal. Fall has made me reflective, and this year, with one child grown, two children in college and the youngest a sophomore in high school, my life is quickly changing. That’s the thing about life and gardening. You practice–you think you have them down, but then life or Mother Nature changes up the game plan. Having my children grow up is exciting because it marks a new chapter in our relationship and mine with Bill, but it’s also a very big change.

Pink Knockout rose framed by one of the arbors. So far, the two Pink Knockouts remain healthy. Only time will tell. 'Haight Ashbury' hibiscus in front of the fence and post Bill rebuilt a few weeks ago with Brennan's help.
Pink Knockout rose framed by one of the arbors. So far, the two Pink Knockouts remain healthy. Only time will tell. ‘Haight Ashbury’ hibiscus in front of the fence and post Bill rebuilt a few weeks ago with Brennan’s help.

It’s a good thing I’m pretty good with change.

Gomphrena globosa QIS Pink is stunning in the street garden. I love those QIS varieties.
Gomphrena globosa QIS Pink is stunning in the street garden. I love those QIS varieties except white. White gomphrena is boring unless you’re at Sissinghurst.

There is always work to do in the garden which helps me miss the children less.

Bill made it his mission to get water inside the greenhouse. It has flood tables, but I found it easier to water with a spray rose. After I sold an article last year, I bought this very pricey, but wonderful Haws Watering Wand. We knew some people who could bore beneath the greenhouse floor and place a water spigot. At first, the floor buckled from the work, but the bricks that were set in sand soon settled. I asked Bill to place the faucet under one table so I can still pot things up in the greenhouse end. That meant moving it over. I am grateful I have a husband who takes on these projects. I’ll do a post on the water and some greenhouse musing in a few days.

The red fountain needs to be taken down to find a leak. That will be quite the garden chore. Last year, we left it in place and heated it.
The red fountain needs to be taken down to find a leak. That will be quite the garden chore. Last year, we left it in place and heated it.

Together, Bill and I are taking down the fountain this year instead of heating and leaving it in place. It takes both of us to move the large red pot. We’re looking for a leak that kept us filling the fountain every couple of days all summer. We want to be able to leave it for longer than a week for vacation. I think we accidentally pierced the liner with the grating system when we reinstalled it two years ago. Above, Bill replaced several rotted fence posts with Brennan’s help. This must be done every couple of years somewhere on the extensive split-rail fencing in our yard.

There is talk of the garden being on tour next year and in 2017 so I’ve been ordering garden markers and making plans for if and when it happens. Garden chores are necessary and keep us active in winter. So does the treadmill or walks outdoors. It’s important to stay in shape as much as possible so we’re ready when spring comes.

It will come again you know.

Viola cornuta Penny Deep Blue really does glow like this. I almost wrench my neck as I drive in everyday because of its luminescence.
Viola cornuta Penny Deep Blue really does glow like this. I almost wrench my neck as I drive in everyday from swiveling to take in its luminescence.

It rained. Those two words mean everything. So many times this year rain bypassed the central part of Oklahoma favoring the drought-stricken western counties. My friends on the western plains need rain even more than I, but still, my pond may never be the same. More people moved near my oasis outside the city in the last five years than have in the last twenty, and they built large expensive subdivisions.These landscapes also pull water from the aquifer beneath us, and we’ve had drought, so….

You get the picture.

My tiny chokecherry tree, Prunus virginiana, is loaded with berries this year.
My tiny chokecherry tree, Prunus virginiana, is loaded with berries this year.

My garden is finally turning out in its fine fall colors. As the leaves drop, the garden will soon be down to stems as bare as bones. Winter is a long season, and it’s a good idea to pick plants with good bones and make sure the garden has them too. A few evergreens help, but Oklahoma has almost none that are native so we do our best with interesting grasses and many non-native shrubs to carry us through to March and April when the eternal dance begins again.

Climbing aster, Aster carolinianus syn. Ampelaster carolinianus, in bloom.
Climbing aster (Aster carolinianus syn. Ampelaster carolinianus in bloom.

Try not to be sad about the lessening light each passing day. Not long from now, December 21 will be upon us, and the days will slowly begin to lengthen again. Plus, after Christmas, we can all make plans for seeds to buy, and plants to start indoors and out. We’ll try new annuals, perennials and vegetables. New varieties of tomatoes are always a treat. I know that spring seems far away so let’s just stay in this autumnal moment because there is much to celebrate here.

It is well with my garden. How is it with yours?

16 Replies to “It is well with my garden”

  1. Yes, it is also well with mine. So far autumn has been kind to us, and the frosts have only taken out my summer annuals. But winter is about to make an early appearance, and I’m sure it will be a killing freeze. It’s okay. Winter is a time to reflect and renew ourselves. To think about what worked in this year’s garden, and what needs to be done differently. I’ll miss the garden, but I enjoy the rest. And November has an austere kind of charm all it’s own. Onward to winter. I’m ready.

  2. There is still so much loveliness in your garden to enjoy, Dee; I must remember ‘Will’s Wonderful’ next year. I am actually looking forward to winter–for a little while. It gives me a chance to relax, catch up on housework (ugh, did I really say that??), and do some sewing or knitting. And yes, staying in shape–I’ve vowed that this year I am going to stick with the dumbbells and the exercises so I am ready come spring. As long as winter doesn’t stick around as long as last year:)

    1. Hi Rose, we have had such a long and warm fall, but next week is supposed to be cold after Monday. I’m ready to relax quite frankly. I’m tired. There’s always just about as much to do in the fall as in spring. I can’t ever get it all.

  3. I look forward to Dec 21st too Dee. And the chores are what I love. I just wish we could do them into later fall and winter here. It would help. When we had a split rail fence at the old house it was a yearly practice to replace posts that needed it. So worth it. I loved that fence.

  4. I enjoyed the reflective tone of this post, Dee. Fall does that to me, as well. We have an empty next now–my son is grown, through college, and employed; my daughter in her last year of college. Some aspects of the empty nest are pleasant (being able to do your own thing when you want to, more sleep, less chaos), but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the craziness of activity that happens when the kids are here. The nice thing is, they keep coming back–even just for visits now and then. So the joy continues. Your garden is indeed a beautiful place.

    1. Beth, it’s nice to hear they come back. Megan does come back fairly often, but less now that she is a senior. My son is living with us again, but of course, we don’t see him much. Things are still fairly chaotic, but that’s okay. More sleep would be nice.

  5. I have Sheffield mums and autumn crocus blooming. A few Niger hellebores are getting started. Everything else is brown, except when we see larches on the hillside, they are glowing. Snow is in the forecast, so I’m trying to transition from outdoor tasks to indoor ones.

    1. Kathy, I have Sheffield mums blooming too, but they are about finished. I don’t have any autumn crocus and no niger hellebores. All of mine are the hybirds. We don’t see niger here much. I would love to see your larches on the hillside.

  6. It’s that time of year when changes take place and routine maintenance becomes primary work. I look forward to seeing the changes in your greenhouse and reading your musings there.

    Belinda’s Dream is really a tough rose with great beauty. Your Carefree Beauty is much prettier than my single flowered Carefree Delight. They both have wonderful genes for longevity. It’s hard for me to let roses form hips instead of deadheading now that it is time.

    Your Violas are so pretty. I wanted to go look for Violas yesterday at town, but groceries were about all I could manage, knowing violas have to be planted and we have other projects ahead of winter flowers.

    Thank you for showing us around.

    1. Hi Nell Jean! I once grew ‘Carefree Beauty.’ It was easy care for sure. I got tired of it sticking and stabbing me though every time I walked past it so I pulled it out a few years ago and put a ‘Grace’ smokebush in its place. You should try ‘Carefree Beauty.’ It’s my favorite rose. I’ve planted a few pansies here and there as I’ve seen them. I’m also planting bulbs everywhere thinking of spring.

  7. My garden is mostly mush. Surprisingly there are still a few leaves on the trees. The mums and asters here are only sporting a bloom here and there. Surprisingly two of my clematis have blooms. I think this pretty exciting even though the blooms have faded colors. I was just floored to see them intact what with the freezing/frosty nights we have had. Your greenhouse is a dream for me. One of these days…

    1. Lisa, I am wishing for a greenhouse for you. They are a great way to get through the winter. Sorry your garden is already mush. Mine will be next week I think.

    1. Ah, Erica, you must be my mystery commenter. So happy to hear it’s you. I love this time of year. It is my favorite. I hope your garden is blooming is sweet head off. We are supposed to have a freeze next week.

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