02 October 2011

Finding my way home to the October Country

Well, it's been six WEEKS since I've updated here, but in my defence, life has been crazily busy, mores than usual. Between adopting three kittens that became five kittens, travelling around to various events, working on some interesting projects for clients, and trying to do some home and yard improvements, there hasn't been much spare time for writing blog posts. And now suddenly, it's October, and that happened very quickly. Unfortunately, it's been a rainy October so far, as two large weather systems dump a drenching on the province. It's good for the gardens, but a little hard to get anything done.
There is still a gratifyingly large number of plants in bloom in my garden, partly because I do manage to sneak time to deadhead, and partly because I've planted with fallscaping beauty in mind. The 'Sungold' buddleia in the top photo is in its second year of life here, highly unusual for butterfly bushes of any colour but especially of the delightful golden-yellow cultivar. My Japanese anemones have settled in very well here, being planted where they have decent drainage, and they continue to bloom like crazy.

Assuming life settles down this week, I do plan to resume posting more regularly than I have been doing, although I did muse aloud on Facebook a couple of weeks back that I wondered if a garden blog is doing much use to readers. There is just so MUCH material online now, and so many social media options, that I think people are getting stressed out and burned out trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing as well as doing their own thing.

The photo above is of Aster ericoides 'Snow Flurry', an amazing dwarf, groundcover-like aster. Not as showy as some, but spectacular never the less.

The Internet is still very much a work-in-progress, and in the years I've been active with it, I've seen many fascinations come and go. Will blogging disappear? Hard to say. I hope not, because it is a great way to make friends, share information, and even network professionally. I think it's more useful in some ways than Twitter, but each social medium has its own niche. Some flourish, like this Scabiosa 'Beaujolais Bonnets' seems to be doing in its second year of planting. Others flounder, like the fancy coreopsis that appear and disappear quicker than mushrooms after a rain.

HINT: This part of the Internet is like gardening--it's meant to be fun and helpful, not stress building. It's fabulous to take time to read and post comments, and share information amongst ourselves, but it shouldn't be yet another to-do. I've considered shutting down Bloomingwriter before, but so far haven't done so. I will say I'm considering another project that might be more beneficial and helpful to people, but still in the consideration mode.
Although many of the colours of autumn are in the bronze-gold-red-orange end of the colour spectrum, there are still great blooms that help cool down the autumn palette. Such as this 'Dark Knight' caryopteris, which has wonderful blue flowers that the bees seem to love.
Or this 'Cloudy' fall-blooming monkshood, which was given to me by a friend last year and which is another present for the bees, which tumble off the buddleia and into the flowers of the monkshood, buzzing happily.
Tricyrtis has been an under-utilized perennial in many gardens, maybe because it is so late blooming, but to my mind that's its allure. It's a small-flowered plant, to be sure--each flower is about the size of a small plum, but the plant is loaded with blooms and has a long flowering period to boot.
During the grand reopening of Blomidon Nurseries' beautiful new greenhouse and cafe, I succumbed to the urge to try 'Goldcrest' digitalis again. I had this the first year it was available, but either it didn't come back or it was overwhelmed by larger plants where I had it growing. This time, it's in a spot where it has space, and I've noted that it's there, too. Here's hoping that does the trick. I'll have more to say about Blomidon's new look in a future post, but if you live in our area, you just gotta visit the Stems Cafe and enjoy the fresh coffee, sweets and savouries from TAN Coffee company. It's become a new favourite place to visit.
The native wild bergamot is blooming here, too. I'm hoping this time it catches and spreads nicely, as I planted it where it could do just that. I love the pale mauve flowers.
And I love flowering kales and cabbages, too. Everything about them charms me, from their intriguing colours to their frilly leaves, to the fact that they will last pretty much til Christmas before ending up in the compost heap.
I didn't grow these myself, but got them from Lloyd Mapplebeck at Hillendale Perennials near Truro. Lloyd grows 12 different varieties of kale and cabbage for autumn beauty, and his containers are gorgeous. For those of you who know Lloyd, he is going to have a website up and running for next season, and several others are also joining the social media world. I plan a post on local nurseries but for now, all the ones in Nova Scotia that I know about are listed in the left sidebar of the blog.

My good friend Adrian Montfort-Guy of Earthen Pathways Sustainable Landscapes told me that his ajugas (bugleweeds) are out-competing the goutweed on his property. I can see how that could happen, and I've decided to try this in my problem area. I have three or four different ajugas here now, but had to add 'Black Scallop' to the collection when I spied it at Blomidon a couple of weeks ago. Here's hoping that it, 'Chocolate Chip', 'Burgundy Glow', 'Metallica' and others will send the goutweed into a black hole in the universe!

How is autumn unfolding in your landscape?


  1. It is so hard to write during summer. Welcome back.

  2. loving that sungold buddleia!

  3. Jodi you have some beautiful blooms, I've found ajuga is growing well near my pines and has finally out competed the tough grass that grows everywhere here, I removed it from a small bed in my front garden because it swamped everything else I planted there,

    I hope you keep blogging I have missed your posts this year but I have your book to comfort me, Frances

  4. I love your 'Sungold' butterfly bush.
    Have to to get one for our garden in Guildwood (Toronto). The Japanese Anemones need good drainage?
    Always a problem with our clay soil.
    Three kittens? Please post a picture.
    I love cats.
    Wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.
    - Cheers Gisela.

  5. 5 kittens! that brings the count up to 16? wow, what a handful. and I thought keeping 3 cats out of each other's hair was bad. *sigh* black scallop, I love this plant. I bought chocolate chip this summer as it was on sale but I really wanted the black scallop, it really is a beauty.

  6. Jodi, I'd really hate to see Bloomingwriter disappear. Just sayin'. But I totally understand your sentiments expressed here. There are so many wonderful blogs to read and it's hard to keep up. I find myself in the same predicament and have feelings of guilt and regret for not being able to do so, both in reading and writing.

    You need yet another Ajuga - 'Bronze Glow.' It's my favorite of the ones I have.

    Hugs to you, my friend!

  7. welcome back 'Jodi'! Lovely post as always...so I for one encourage you to keep on - keeping on...I would truely miss them & of course your magical sense of humor ! Always Love that you consider the BEES when planting...wish more would as they truely are so vital in the balance of everything that grows...& they really need our help more so now than ever before ! Glad your gardens are still flourishing & I as well have the flowering cabbages which I grew from seed, now coming into their prime...my favourite time of viewing them is when they are kissed by the early morning frost ! interesting about the bugleweed as mine also Love to spread & now have decided to start growing in my lawn...well just another gardening chore, but I'll try to move as many as I can back into the gardens where they belong ! have a wonderful Fall my friend & do hope you are enjoying some of the lush bounty from our local valley farmers !!~ (& please don't buy any more bugleweed...as I can give you as much as you want, HA!)

  8. You have some magnificent autumn blooms - I LOVE the Tricyrtis (toad lily?).

    At least the drenching we've had the last two days has made the weeds easy to pull - I got a cartful this morning.

  9. I always enjoy your posts, Jodi. Your thoughts are engaging and your images are captivating and beautiful. As for blogging, I have come to realize that I do this for myself and for my children, and if someone else enjoys it too... hurray! I suppose there will come a day that I will have to leave these beautiful gardens and my blog will be a sweet reminder of all that once was and the joy I gathered here. I hope you keep blogging.

  10. I love your blog, Jodi. I know how hard it must be for you to get to it as often as you'd like - you are a VERY busy woman.
    Just know that even though I don't always comment, I always read.... Love your photos so much. Such clarity, always.

  11. LOVE that sweet little Scabiosa.

    I hope that blogging stays. it is much more satisfying than Twitter. I have made some wonderful friends from blogging and so look forward to posts. I've missed yours and am happy you're back.

    All joys,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  12. I was wondering why I hadn't seen you pop up on my Blotanical "favorites" list and now I know why. Feeling a little overloaded myself, but the blog will probably be one of the last things I give up. Having trouble keeping with Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest (as much as I love the latter) for something that isn't my day job. But the blog, itself, is therapeutic. I hope you continue to write blog posts!

  13. So much lovely color in your fall garden, Jodi! The yellow buddleia is one I've coveted for awhile--I need to find a space for one.

    I, too, hope you don't give up blogging. It certainly can take up much more time than Facebook. But I, for one, have learned so much about gardening from you and other bloggers. I don't post or visit others as often as I used to, but I still enjoy visiting with my blogging friends whenever I can.

  14. I definitely understand the word busy! The anemones are beautiful. I had a similar butterfly bush I planted one fall that didn't make it here.

  15. Jodi:
    Home, just in time to revel in the beauty and bounty of your fall garden! I love the fall garden, and the choice plants that you mention: Caryopteris, Asters, Tricyrtis, all giving their little hearts out to keep the garden interesting!

    I am surprised you manage as well as you to, to balance the many facets of your life and be able to return to blogging. I have discovered that, while I have many visitors, it is a forum for me to post things that I want to remember a year or two from now. Sort of like a garden diary, but without the hassle of buying a book, including photos, etc. I used to worry about not pleasing my reading audience, but at the end of the day, I was stressed. Sounds like you have something on your mind, doubtless that you will make a success of it. Keep us posted.

  16. Those Japanese anemones are beautiful. I really should plant some or find a cultivar that survives in my garden.

  17. I love my blogging 'family' across the world...it's hard to fall behind with what people are doing and I so enjoy reading other people's posts, conversing here in the comments, on FB, on Twitter. I'm actually taking a few days off because of illness so I'm relaxing by catching up reading a little bit, and posting...new post about the kitties, for those who were curious. <3 you all.

  18. You don't need to write. Just share the beautiful photos. They are great.

  19. Wow...so beautiful... Your photos and the flowers...


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