Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fall Blooms

Ok..I had planned on posting on the wonderful sages blooming now, but I went outside and could not believe all the blooms.. so here is just a collection of photos of fall blooms....ENJOY!

So much to enjoy...this year...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Another Great Fall Invasive: Aster Tatarian

Aster Tatarian (Aster tataricus)  in my humble opinion is the best aster ever!!  Twenty three years ago, when we moved here I noticed this plant appearing in mass around my various gardens. We moved here in May and I immediately made the commitment not to dig anything up until I had lived at my new abode for a full four season cycle. That was a very wise decision, although difficult, because my gardens had been loved by several generations of plant lovers and held so many hidden treasures. 

This aster starts appearing as clumps of leaves early on in the late spring, then continues to grow taller and taller until it finally blooms in late August. 

Tatarian aster is a very impressive, stately perennial with a flowering height of 3 to 6 feet. It can look you in the eye yet require no staking. More important, this aster flowers longer than any other garden aster, beginning in late September and early October and continuing into November. The 1-inch-wide, light lavender flowers are a magnet for local and migrating monarch butterflies. This plant tolerates many soil types, can form large colonies in a few years, and is easily divided." (Fine Gardening )

I can not describe effectively enough how many pollinators love this late bloomer, hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, lightening bugs they swarm all over it. But it is not only the pollinators, every human pollinator that visits my gardens this time of year, immediately asks me about this show stopper. 

I have transplanted and moved this sweetheart all over the garden. It seems to do well wherever  I plant it. In fact, I have quit buying New England Asters, just too floppy, way too much work and not nearly as beautiful. P.S. It out blooms any mum on the block as well.

This Aster was first introduced to to west in 1818. It's fame was spread by Thomas Jefferson as he used it intensively in his Monticello gardens. The Chinese have used properties of this perennial for centuries, many excellent medicinal uses. 

Take my advice and add this beauty to your gardens. It can spread but I control it by thrilling my garden visitors with pass along clumps. If you are in the neighborhood, stop by ...so happy to share.

 Monarchs seem to love this plant...I can always find several on the various groupings. Just yesterday I saw 6.

6 ft. to 10 ft.
1 ft. to 3 ft.
Growth Habit
Full Sun to Part Shade
Medium Moisture
Attracts Butterflies, Showy Flowers
Bloom Time
Early Fall, Fall
Flower Color
Island Paradise, Niagara, Primrose Yellow
Beds and Borders
Cottage Garden, Meadow Garden
Seasonal Interest
Summer Interest
Frost Tolerant

Thank you Fine Gardening Magazine  for all the great information.  And thank you to the past gardeners that worked my land many years ago and planted this gem just for me to love and passalong. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Part 2....Fall Invasives...Garlic Chives...

Garlic Chives are another one of my Fall Invasive's that I love. Garlic Chives get such a bum rap but not by this gardener or nor by all the many varieties of pollinators that flock to them this time of year.

These chives look similar to the regular chives except that their leaves are flat blades rather than the thin hollow roundish leaves of regular chive.  Another difference is that the regular chive blooms in the spring as a delightful pink puff. These blooms make an exceptional vinegar that turns a beautiful pink hue. But back to my Fall Chives....

Allium tuberous  are one of the oldest herbs recorded. In fact over 4,000 to 5,000 years ago.  They grow in clumps and have very fibrous small onion like roots, which are not edible. However, the flower head and leaves are great additions to vinegars, salads,soups, compound butters, soft cheeses, just about any where you want a mild garlic accent. 

I love them along the borders of my gardens, I keep them from getting to lanky by frequent haircuts during the growing season. Then when I notice the stem coming up I back off the haircuts. They have  minimal requirements and reliably return each year. 

When they are done blooming the heads transform into a really decorative seed pod. But beware this is when they become dangerous.   So it is off with their heads time or else you will have garlic chives absolutely everywhere. Please heed this warning unless you want a 100% chive garden. 
But I love the amount of pollinators that swarm over them from bees, to butterflies to lightning bugs.... this time of year my garden is a Chive Blossom Party. 

Not to be forgotten are all the wonderful companion planting properties of these plants.  They love and aid roses, grapes, tomatoes, and even help with scab on apples. I often use them as a green mulch around the bases of my apple trees. 
All these reasons are why when grown with caution these guys are a win/win. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

BASIL BECKY..... Gardening from the Heart: Love My Fall Invasives Part 1 - Fall Blooming Clem...

BASIL BECKY..... Gardening from the Heart: Love My Fall Invasives Part 1 - Fall Blooming Clem...:           Fall..I love it, but when I need blooms I sing the praises of some old fashion favorites that get a bad rap. I know what yo...

Love My Fall Invasives Part 1 - Fall Blooming Clematis

          Fall..I love it, but when I need blooms I
sing the praises of some old fashion favorites that get a bad rap. I know what you all will be saying, these plants are invasive. Yes, they can be, but at this time of year plentiful white blooms add so much. So I work aggressively with my favorites and it makes my pollinators and neighbors so happy!!
          This is Fall Blooming Clematis. It blooms this time of year for several weeks. Every year  I have so many people stop and ask me about this plant.  I do not have a hard time controlling this plant but I am very aware, and the wow factor is so worth it.
           Plus the bees love it and it smells out of this world..... I have great fencing for it to aggressively climb over so

I let it spread....

Here are facts about this fall beauty from an article I published on this plant for Kentucky Gardener.

Clematis paniculata ( C. terniflora)  will quickly cover a bare fence or an unsightly shed.  It can easily grow up to 30 ft, but I have found it is easily controlled with pruning in the spring.  

Common Name: Fall Blooming Clematis or Sweet Autumn Clematis

Botanical Name: Clematis paniculata ( C.terniflora)

Color: White Star shaped flowers with dark green leaves

Blooming Period: August through September

Zone: 4-8 S/ 4-10 W

Type: Perennial (readily self seeds, lots of babies to give away or transplant to different locations)

Size: Can grow up to 30 ft in a season. Does best when it can spread out as well as up…and needs just a bit of guidance at first!

Exposure: Full to Part Sun (needs at least 6 hours of sun)

When to Plant: They need to be planted in the early spring, when they are small and manageable. Plus this will help encourage proper growth and abundant flowering.

How to Plant: Plant in amended soil, making sure the crown is at least 1 to 2 inches below the surface. Take care that the hole is deep and wide enough to fit the existing root system. Cut the existing stems back to 1 foot in height to encourage branching while growing.

Soil:  I amend the soil with compost to help with drainage and soil aeration.

Watering: Regular deep weekly watering .Because of the deep root system, this plant prefers regular thorough watering during the season. About 1 inch of water per week.  

When to Prune: Prune in February or March to encourage proper growth and more prolific flowering

When to Fertilize:  I mulch with compost during the season making sure not to put too close around the crown. Other than that an occasional feeding of miracle grow will keep this heavy feeder happy.

This beauty adorns my wooden fence, it holds court with the spikes of the blue Russian sage, purple butterfly bush and white garlic chive blossoms all adding their touches to a stunning last hooray! It can be used as a ground cover but there is no question that this beauty is best displayed growing up and out! It is like a mountain of glistening snow in September!!!  

I do make sure and cut it down, pruning is the key. If you skip this step, you will not have blooms the following year and will have many seedlings.
So please don't be afraid. When I drive down to visit my daughter in Georgia this time of year, I see this growing in the woods along I40. It adds a highlight to the fall forest.  

Stay tune for the next Fall Invasive Beauty...

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Great Friends Reunion....

Last weekend we hosted our Supper Club. These three couples, we make four, are like family to us. We have been meeting for over 40 years. So many amazing trips together, weddings of all our kids, anniversaries, baptisms, funerals, and just fun get aways....we have celebrated and cried all together.

I cannot tell you how important this group of loved ones are to Randy and myself. There are friends but this group are beyond friends...I consider them family.

Most of these dear friends had not been to Kentucky for many years.. we tend to travel to unique destinations such as St John's, Eleuteria, Santa Fe, etc etc....

But as time as gone on, we all have grand babies, so many obligations it gets so hard to get together. But not a one of us are willing to let this special group go.

So last weekend we joined together in Kentucky at Colony Springs Farm.  We have so much work to do on our 150 year old house that I was hesitate to have everyone staying here. But this is about friendship, love and history and not my Fixer Upper.

It was such a great 24 hours.. I smoked a brisket for over 8 hours, plus added recipes fresh from the garden. Everyone brought great side dishes and lots of great drinks.

So we ate hardily and drank freely and loved our time together....  Although it was only 24 hours it was so amazing... I feel blessed to have friends that I have loved for so long to stroll though my gardens and see my garden heart and soul.

Most of them are heading out to great adventures.. We are more low key this year. But how great to have these great friends in my Kentucky Gardens for 24 hours...

Hey..here is the best thing..they left some great food. So I took the brisket to the office and they al were so happy as well as they love the Blackberry Cake.

But tonight I took the left over Artichoke dip and Olive dip and stuffed it into fresh tomatoes...Then baked it and topped with great cheese. We will eat great tonight.

A big zucchini left behind has gone into the spaghetti sauce for the spaghetti squash we are having for dinner tonight. ( Thanks Peggy)

So much love to my amazing friends... And thanks for the left overs..the Kirts's have eaten great tis week.

Just a few images of what i did with left overs...

I wish I had my friends here to eat the tasty left overs.....much love

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

BASIL BECKY..... Gardening from the Heart: More Dill Needed

BASIL BECKY..... Gardening from the Heart: More Dill Needed: So tonight I went out to harvest some Dill Weed. My husband loves fresh cucumbers with dill and onions. So I was trying to make a quick sid...


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