The Weekly Gardener 1

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Cold Front

The Breath of Fall

Butterfly on Butterfly Weed

It has gotten unusually cold all of a sudden, much too early for the beginning of fall. A dreary drizzle bore down all day yesterday, as a reminder of why I revile the cold season.

I've been looking through gardening books for ideas on how to make the winter landscapes more interesting, and to my great distress I realized all of those ideas are already incorporated intp my garden, except for two: red dogwood branches and holly. And no, I wouldn't say there is winter interest. Nature didn't intend for winter interest, nature intended for dreary monochrome landscapes, dead sticks and frozen muck.

Way too early for depressing winter conversation. I'm hoping the weather will recover and keep us in summer for a bit longer, but unfortunately I know that's not how it works. There are two kinds of yearly patterns: the ones with harsh winters and extreme summers, which tend to be dry and have a very long and warm fall, and the wet ones, with mild rainy winters and cool rainy summers, which like to retire early and regale us all with uninspiring wet foliage (fall leaves need sunshine, dry weather and large temperature variations to develop the sugar that gives them their beautiful coloring).

After the trailer of 'days of November' ended the sun came back, and today we had sunshine and blue skies, but it's still cold. The plant nursery was filled with fall decorations, pumpkins and Halloween props. Maybe fall is not so dreary after all:) Oh, mercy me, I just realized the leaf raking season is fast approaching. Not thinking about it! Not thinking about it!

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Gardening With Annuals

Pink Lantana

It has been a while since I used annuals, mostly because there is not much room left in my garden for a mass planting. I miss them dearly, though, and next year I promise to bring back the favorites:

Impatiens and wax begonias - the go to plants for shade, both of which have fared well even during dry summers, and even in poor soils.

Tuberous begonias - the royalty of the shade, with their beautiful rose like blossoms.

Marigolds and petunias for the sunny border, to enjoy color and fragrance, especially during the lull at the end of summer.

Stock - a somewhat delicate flower, but well worth the effort for its exquisite fragrance.

Zinnias - the plants that never disappoint. There is no way one could go wrong with zinnias, and they come in almost any color, to accommodate every garden design.

Snapdragons - my all time favorite flowers, whose very presence brings a smile. Some of them are fragrant too, they have a sweet earthy scent.

Geraniums, which I haven't had in a very long time, overflowing baskets of fuchsias for the balcony, the list goes on and on.

I'll do my best to incorporate annuals in next year's garden, it's not easy to get continuous bloom out of a garden filled only with perennials, even assuming it was properly designed.