Summer now seems like a distant memory; hot and dry. It was a bit of a struggle gardening this summer and we were not even subject to water restrictions due to the drought. Flowers bloomed as usual, but lack of water shortened the displays. The willows, who love nothing more than having wet feet, did not grow their branches as long as they would in a much wetter year. A new Hakuro Nishiki standard willow was added to the garden when temperatures consistently climbed into the nineties. Regular watering made the adjustment from container to clay soil easier and soon new branches appeared while others lengthened.
The five new small koi in the pond were busy procreating. Seven baby koi now call the pond home and those born early in the season are already close to five inches. Their parents also grew quite a bit in two seasons and now come close to the one foot mark. With the temperature of the water in the forties, feeding has ceased. They may still nibble on some greenery in the pond, but pellets are no longer part of their daily routine. They mostly stay close to the bottom of the pond hidden below large rock shelves. There, they are out of sight of the great blue heron which started visiting in fall again. After purchasing pond netting and putting it securely over the pond, the heron probably realized fishing was out of the question and I have not seen it in weeks. The netting also kept leaves out the pond, making the fall clean up easier. Soon, the netting will be removed and a separate pump will be added to the pond to provide additional aeration as the pond will start to freeze over.
Bags full of leaves were received from the neighbors and are awaiting a sunny day for mulching. Maybe this weekend I can rope The Spouse into this noisy job; stuffing bag after bag of leaves down a chute in order to get perfectly mulched material for the garden.
The pyracanthus or firethorn bush purchased three years ago (and seen above as of May 2009) was planted against the side of the house. Each spring it blooms magnificently. Because of the wet spring this year it bloomed as never before, grew considerably and is full of bright red berries. Espaliered on wires attached to the house it is just now starting to reach the top and sides of the grid. This year I needed to bring out the really, really tall ladder to prune the top third of the plant. Twice yearly pruning will continue to keep it in check and allow me to show off this plant’s magnificent adaptable form.
After the hot dry summer, fall arrived with lots of rain. Dried, cracked soil slowly soaked up the rains and soon lawns revived, plants greened up again and flowers put forth another show. Cuttings were taken from various coleus plants before the first hard frost killed them off. The orchids were brought back indoors and they are now starting to put out their flower spikes. In another month or so I will be able to enjoy their flowers as I look through my gardening books and magazines for new ideas to put into practice next year. I tend my indoor plants and wait; spring 2011 does not seem that far away.