Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Strangely Warm November Ends Tonight

Hello again strangers! It's been more than two months (!) since I posted here. In fact, this whole summer and autumn I've been terrible, posting only a few times. I think it's because my gardens haven't looked very good for most of the summer, plus I've been trying to work seriously every day on a new writing project since July.

I'll probably take a little hiatus from blogging over the winter, although I might post a few shots of what's growing in my new sunroom from time to time. It's stuffed full of plants already, as you can see in the photo above, and I've only had the room since August (although I've been collecting houseplants and exotic patio plants for more than a year now.

Some big changes are planned for my gardens next spring, mostly downsizing some beds and eliminating others that are farther from my house or harder to take care of. I'll post about those changes when I start making them next spring.

But here are a few photos from the past few weeks in the better-looking areas of my gardens. We've been enjoying a strangely warm fall. We had a very light frost about a month ago which only killed our basil, and then didn't have another until last week. So we've had lovely flowers until mid-November, which is unusual for Iowa.

Here are a few shots from last week:

Roses 'Seminole Wind' and self-seeded snapdragons around our front gate.

Reblooming iris and cosmos in the Iris Bed. I'll never get used to seeing these bloom in autumn!

Morning Glories on the west side of our house.

'Golden Celebration' roses near our kitchen.
Annual salvias in the Front Border still going strong.

The Yellow Garden in sunlight. I'm planning to reduce the size of this area and make it nicer next year.

Oh, we've finally gotten some projects done around our house: we finally bit the bullet and had the house painted, so it looks a lot brighter now (as can be seen in the first photo). Also, we had our ancient cellar excavated and sealed because it was leaking. So now we have a big mound of exposed dirt behind our house waiting for grass seed in spring.

We also had our handyman fix our front steps, which were sagging and rotting underneath (like everything in an old house seems to do...).

Before: (Back in 2014) You can see how the front steps met in a point at the corner. They were sagging and rotten, and there weren't enough hand rails to make the steps safe.

Our handyman cut out the corner of the steps, shored up the remaining stairs with additional risers, and built two new hand rails, which we will paint in spring, after the treated wood has dried a bit. Both my husband's and my own elderly parents will doubtless be happy at the extra hand rails. There are some broken concrete slabs in the exposed area, but I plan to fill the area with a display of pots during the warmer months.

Since the frost cleared out some room, I've been cutting a few areas back and finally planting the bulbs I bought more than two months ago. Thursday I planted about 600 of the 800 bulbs that I purchased -- only 200 left! (I was pretty sore and tired afterwards, I must admit.)

The temperature is forecast to drop down to the low 20s tonight, so we may not have too many more flowers for the rest of winter. But it's time for the holidays and if all goes according to design, my new Winter Garden will allow me to have some green foliage and lovely flowers all winter indoors.

I hope you are still enjoying a few more blooms outdoors, and that you and your families enjoy a wonderful holiday season. Thanks for reading! -Beth