Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Killing Frost

One night ago we had out first frost of the Fall. I think it just hit 32 degrees at dawn. My dahlia blooms were damaged but the main plant stalks and leaves survived just fine. But last night, one night later, we had a much harder frost. Today all of the dahlia plants are dead, except for their most center stalks and the buried tubers below. Also, all of my annuals that I grew from seed were killed too. The growing season is officially over!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First Frost

We had our first frost last night. It was just cold enough to turn the back "lawn" white.

Close up, every detail was outlined. As I walked to my car this morning, I was greeted by the cheery, warm glow from the lean-to greenhouse. Last night was also its first night back in service this Fall.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Frost Warning

They are calling for our first frost of the year tonight. Of coarse, you never know if it will happen as predicted, or how hard it will be. Plus there is the additional issue of micro-climates. Three sides of the big garden are surrounded by large fir trees. This living buffer quite often protects the garden from lite frosts that will easily kill plants up at the house.

I decided to act as if the freeze was imminent and went down to the garden after work, with scissors and a bucket in hand. First I stopped to admire my marigold row. Although I didn't get these poor seedlings transplanted until the weekend of July 4th, they still produced a nice display.

An close up view of a "Red Metamorph" marigold plant. There was a bit of interesting diversity among the various blooms. A few blooms receded back to solid red.

On this one, only the center of each petal was yellow.

I had a few plants of "Francis's Choice" marigold. These plants were taller than the "Red Metamorph" but produced few blooms.

Next to the marigolds, I planted from seed a double row of "Persian Carpet" zinnias. I have long grown this variety and love it. It has such diverse bloom forms and colors. Cut, they make a really lovely small bouquet.

One of my favorite forms found in the "Persian Carpet" mix. I love this double orange. After cutting the zinnias, I cut a bouquet of dahlia poms and one last bouquet of larger dahlias. I hauled everything back to the house and picked out some vases. Tom-cat's orange coat looks perfect next to the "Persian Carpet" bouquet.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Rains Returns

The rains returned today. This was our first rainy day since October 8th - a spell of 18 straight dry days. I am now really thankful for the excessively wet days that we experienced at the end of September. Without them, the forest and fields would be dangerously dry and brown. It certainly was a long, lovely streak of foggy mornings that turned into sunny, warm afternoons. It's hard to beat October weather in Oregon.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

More October Color

I had hoped to get a good picture of the potted Japanese maple before it shed it's golden canopy. As you can see, I am too late!

But there is still beauty to be found in the mass of fallen leaves on the ground.

A wet jumble of browns and golden yellows.

Our little Ginkgo tree is currently in full Fall color mode.

While they are an invasive pest, even the blackberries put on a show in the Fall.

It was hard to get a good picture of this wild cherry tree growing deep in the woods.

The big leaf maples have had a good Fall. Late September's rain stopped the leaves from turning brown and prematurely dropping as they have the past two years.

More glowing color in the forest. One of our wild dogwoods.

The bracken ferns have turned a caramel brown.

I was also too late to get a good piciture of this maple in our first meadow.

The ground beneath it's canopy is now buried with a blanket of yellow. And in the brush that surrounds the meadow, another blackberry species also glows this Fall day.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Maples through the Fog

After a solid week or more of foggy mornings that led to sunny afternoons, today I had a day off from work and the fog never lifted! It hung low in the tops of the Douglas Fir, completely obscuring the nearby hillsides and vistas. The day's color palate of green and grey was only interrupted by the orange and yellow of the big leaf maples.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October Mushrooms

While I was down working in the big garden this weekend, I came upon this nifty group of mushrooms.

I have no clue as to their variety but I thought that they were pretty cool. They all had nice fat stalks. Each cap was ringed in brown stripes and slightly sunken in the middle. A nice discovery growing in the grass and clover.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Neighbors Maple

About half a mile from our house, our neighbors have this volunteer maple growing on the edge of their property. For the past week it has been at peak color. I kept telling myself, every time that I drove by, that I needed to stop and take a picture of it ASAP! Thankfully the leaves hung on and today I was able to take a walk down to capture its beauty before it was too late.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week #2 of Digging Tubers & Mowing

Today I dug another two rows of dahlia tubers; 4 rows up and 14 more to go! It was another warm, sunny day to dig. I could get use to this! The ground is finally drying out from the deluge of late September. Before I cut down the next four rows that I will dig up, I took some time to take pictures and cut some last bouquets from these varieties.

"Embrace" a BB Semi-cactus in Yellow

"Ms Kennedy" a Miniature Ball in Orange

Four plants of "Cornel" a red Ball

"Raeann's Peach" the coloration on this Single dahlia is getting a little strange as the season draws to a close.

"Red Velvet" a Waterlily form in red

I placed all of my cut blooms into a container to take back to the house.

I thought it created one last beautiful, autumnal display.

After I finished down in the big garden, I worked on mowing the bank across from the house. It is always a lot of work and I still have much to do. But even mowing this first section feels good. It looks so much nicer now and it is much easier for Tom-cat to explore! That's what really matters.