Friday, November 22, 2019

"To Rest"

It's that time of the year, that time where we say goodbye to all the magical garden colors... where we pull up and out everything from the season, cut everything back, split and divide, and store for the cold months ahead. This was my first year ever creating a summer cut flower garden. I didn't even use a quarter of the space that I'll have for future flowers, and yet it felt like such a successful year. My zinnias were pretty much the only flower that didn't do well... and I already have plans to plant them straight into the ground next year instead of in a seed tray. Everything in the garden, especially these first few years, is all trial and error. I still remember the first time I dug up my dahlias, two years ago... I pulled them out of the ground, not really knowing at first how to wash, divide and store... after amazing tutorials from my favorite flower farmer, I was able to attack the project at hand. Still though, I was super unsure of how I did, until this past spring, I opened up my bin and saw how many tubers survived the winter and were growing darling plants on them.

This year, pulling the tubers out of the ground, was less daunting and unsure... rather I was confident of the process as I "snip snip snip"d. One big clump of tubers became 5+ new tubers. I decided to store them the exact same way that I stored last winter. They did super well in containers of vermiculite, tucked away in shelves in the garage (popped open a little bit, to let some air in). Not one tuber rotted... or dried out last spring, so it just felt like a good system to repeat again this year. I needed MANY more bins, and MUCH more vermiculite compared to last year. But they're asleep and resting...

I've never dug up gladiolus before (this was the first year that I planted them)... but with some great advice from a friend of the family... they were dug up, dried out, and split. I went from 60 bulbs to 90+ to plant next year. I tucked them into paper bugs and currently they're sleeping the winter away in my closet of the laundry room.

The sunflowers did super well this year. I didn't plant as many as I would like to plant next year. They're such a great in-between color for Summer into Fall, and so I was hoping to harvest more seeds this year for a bigger turn out next year. I let a few of the biggest heads "go to seed", and not one bird had a feast on them, so we should have a decent, "free" patch of sunflowers next year.

It was super tough digging up my spring garden of ranunculus, tulips and narcissus this year year... I let them sit for far too long, and hardly could find them to dig them up this fall. Next year, I'll have to remember to get that done as a beginning to mid summer chore. It was neat to see again, how the bulbs multiply. I'm still not sure what I'm doing with ranunculus... they are such a touchy flower. My goal this winter, is to educate myself on them a little more. They're such a pretty addition to a spring bouquet, that it would be nice to figure out how to get the "most" out of them, since they're pretty expensive (and I don't think the corms multiply, the same way that other spring bulbs do!)

I tilled the areas of the garden that would be the spring garden, and created troughs to tuck away all the spring bulbs. As many as I bought, it still felt minuscule to the size I'd eventually love the spring garden to be. I need to remind myself, a little more and more each year. This upcoming spring, will already be 5x the size of my last spring garden. I let the littles help me "plop" them in, and the sweetest was Mable. She held onto each bulb, gave it a little squeeze, and rocked it while singing songs to them. She kept referring to them as "Mum's fower babies." (flower, of course)... and gave a little kiss to each one that she put in the ground.  I just know they're destined to be beautiful come spring, thanks to her sweet love.

For now, the work is done... the garden has been put "to rest"... rest well sweet ones, I can't wait to see you next year.

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Saturday, October 19, 2019

How Does Your Garden Grow part 3

Towards the end of summer, the flowers were all in full bloom. We were picking multiple bouquets a week for ourselves, to give away or even to sell (the kids threw together a roadside flower stand a few times, you can read about that here). It was fun to come up with different color combinations, and add unique textures... floral arranging is definitely an area that I'd like to grow in. As my garden grows bigger and bigger each year, I'm hopeful my bouquet skills will do the same.

I thought cutting my flowers would be difficult... it definitely was something I was nervous to do last year when my garden was itty bitty. Cutting, actually brought more growth to most of my flowers (dahlias, cosmos, snaps, etc.) The more I cut, the more the flowers kept on appearing. There were a few dahlias that didn't yield much, but next year, might be their year. All in all, I wish I had experimented with more seeds and different flowers... I suppose I can look forward to that next year, and plan out now, all the possibilities. I also wish I had planted more sunflowers and other flowers that bridge the gap between summer color and fall color (noted for next year). 

The littles SO enjoyed every part of the garden this year, even pulling weeds. Anytime a new colored dahlia popped and opened up, they would squeal with delight. I should have marked the dahlias in some manner, so that I could put them in color order/name order for next year... but I didn't. I was in a rush to get them in the ground, that the only ones I paid attention to, were my beloved "cafe au lait" dahlias. Watering the garden wasn't a chore, in fact most evenings, it was a time for us to enjoy the colors of the garden... there were so many beautiful colors, and everything looked so different during the golden hour light. 

We had fairly good success keeping the deer and other critters away from gobbling up the blooms. Hopefully next year, an extra shield (a fence) will be up for safekeeping. It wasn't until the end of the season, that they started coming through, looking for anything and everything to munch on. Unfortunately, the hubby's cherry trees got eaten back a bunch... it must have been at the perfect height for the deer, and who could resist cherry tree foliage?

It was a great summer and fall season in the garden. Next up, putting it "to rest"...

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