Monthly Archives: September 2011

One Last Thing: put your garden to bed.

Chocolate Cherry Sunflower

Chocolate Cherry Sunflower is attracting gold finches and butterflies. photo PBH

If the sun and drought has sucked out the last of your love for gardening, there is still one last chore before you call it quits.

Put your gardens to bed.

Chocolate Cherry Sunflower

Chocolate Cherry Sunflower (Renee's Garden Seeds) tired and ragged from the long, hot summer. photo PBH

First, clean up and remove all evidence of disease or damage. Do not add this to your compost pile.

Add chopped leaves, grass, compost or other healthy organic matter. Work it in to those top 6 inches of soil. I say six inches, I’ve never actually measured it. I mean about as deep as my hand it long.

I use a garden hoe or hand trowel for  cleaning and weeding beds. (Tool choice depends on whether I am sitting, standing, or kneeling.)

Add organic matter.

Spread organic matter on your raised beds. Gently mix the organic matter into the top few inches of the garden soil. Leave it loose (no smoothing or flattening.) This is a good time to pick out rocks and roots.

For working around established survivors (AKA, perennials), like roses, tarragon, and lavender, I work in the compost with the Cobrahead, taking care not to damage the roots.

Add more organic matter.

Then, cover the raised bed with mulch (I happen to have lots of chopped leaves and pine straw.) You can add layers of newspaper followed by shredded newspaper, bagged compost, fine wood chips, or shreaded leaves for example.

Yes, I said add stuff and add more stuff.

At this point you can choose to add a green cover crop* or not. Adding more green matter to your garden can only improve your garden soil. On the other hand, if the summer heat has burned, toasted and shriveled you to a crisp, stop here. Good Job. The bed will be ready, resting and waiting for spring.

The point here is to never leave the garden soil bare. Preparing the garden bed now will give you a couple of weeks jump of the 2012 garden season.


If you have young or newly planted trees, make sure they are well watered, add a two or three inch layer of compost, then a couple of inches os mulch. No need to add commercial fertilizer. The compost is feeding the tree. The mulch is holding in the moisture and limiting sudden temperature changes.

*Cover crops is a whole other post. And I am going out to enjoy this fall day. More later.

 The big success in my garden this year: Dragon Wing® Red Begonia by Proven Winners. More, Later.

dragon wing red begonia

Faithful bloomer all summer this begonia is tired and burned from heat and drought.


GBBD, September 2011

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

GBBD is a way to share what is blooming in my garden on the 15th of the month.
Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

My garden is rather ragged. It’s only job is to make seed and die happy.


The large sunflowers at the top of the stalk have been stripped of seed by the gold finches. These little flowers are appearing along the stalk, making more seed.

from May Dreams Gardens sponsors Bloom Day each month. Thank you, Carol.

The inspiration comes from this quote: “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence


Tough Little Coreopsis appeared from nowhere to brighten the weedy asparagus bed.












The hummers are flying all around the hanging baskets.

Some trial plants are hanging on. Survivors of record breaking heat and drought, most are happy for fall weather.

Wave™ Purple Improved Spreading Petunia

This is the kind of color that is attracting hummers and butterflies.


One of the oldest pink roses. Chosen for it's large rose hips, this little flower resides in my herb harden.


Caldwell Pink – This everblooming rose is a double, lilac-pink flowers. It is not very particular about soil conditions, but prefers a sunny open space. Some rosarians have suggested that this is the old China rose, ‘Pink Pet’, but we feel that it shows traces of Wichuraiana or Multiflora heritage and fits more naturally in the Polyantha class. The study name comes from a neighboring town, Caldwell, Texas, where this rose was found. – desciption is adapted from the Antique Rose Emporium.

My pink rose is about 2 1/5 feet tall. It continuously blooms except during the long streek of 100+ degree days.


A favorite poet of mine:

It is at the edge of a petal that love waits.

– William Carlos Williams, American poet (1883-1963)

Garden Mailbox

When the neighborhood got new mailboxes, I scavenged a couple of the old ones.

How many times have you been working in the garden and realized you needed another tool?

Garden Mailbox

I have my new Corona tools in this garden mailbox.

I keep a set of tools in my garden mailbox. During garden season, I keep a pair of Corona pruners and a cobra head in the mailbox. I can accomplish most any garden project with these two tools.

In the spring, keep some blank plant labels or tags and a permanant marker. In the summer I keep a ball of twine to tie up unruly tomato vines. If it is rose pruning season keep your gloves and Corona clippers handy.

If I come inside for a cool drink,  or a short break, the tools stay in the mailbox. I don’t have to gather up all the tools and drag them in and out with every trip.

More good things to keep handy in the garden mailbox: twine. This broken tomato vine could have been staked up with the twine to keep it from breaking under the weight of the green tomatoes. This, by the way is the ONLY reason a gardeners eat fried green tomatoes before the first frost.

tomato vine

Tomato vine broken from the weight of too many tomtoes.


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