Six on Saturday:  For the Birds

Our upper garden at the end of September is a haven for wildlife

A cold front this week blessed us with cooler temperatures and lower humidity.  The oppressive summer air was blown out to sea, and what followed feels crisp and clean.  I can see a few scarlet leaves and scarlet dogwood berries in the trees near my window, a sure sign that the season has turned, and the equinox is behind us now.

Each day will be minutes shorter now.  Mornings come later, but the cool comfortable hours for gardening last deep into the afternoon.  I’m drawn out again and again to tweak this or that and to capture a few photos.  Colors have grown bright and intense after days of rain and real relief from summer’s heat.

Even as the wheel of the year turns towards winter, we enjoy the culmination of a fruitful summer.  Beautyberries glow purple, inviting the many birds filling our garden to feast on them and spread their seeds.  Goldfinches fly up from stands of Rudbeckia to safer perches in the trees at our approach.  We find partially eaten hickory nuts and exploded beech nut hulls on the driveway, dropped by birds and squirrels.

It is a season of abundance for all the wild creatures our garden supports.  Nectar rich flowers open daily, pushing against one another in their expansive growth.  It is hard to walk through the upper garden now.  The paths have filled with fallen stems, and I rarely cut back some faded something to make the way easier for our passage.

Read more, here…. on my new website, Our Forest Garden, which is a continuation of A Forest Garden. I hope you will follow the new site so you don’t miss any new posts.

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

7 responses to “Six on Saturday:  For the Birds

  1. Monica MacAdams

    Me too, alas. Was all set to do some garden work today, when 2 contractors I’d been trying to reach for weeks called to say they cd come by…& by the time they arrived and evaluated the jobs, I’d reverted to laziness.
    WG, your autumn garden looks spectacular! Mine is mostly a combination of overgrown and dreary; my new echinaceas faded/collapsed/died(?) early, and my anemones are a mixed bag…but I planted some hardy begonias (I got on the cheap) this summer in an obscure spot (shady and well-watered) and they are happy-as-clams-at-high-tide…so plan to add lots more next year in another difficult spot, and move a sprinkler head to keep them moist. I’ve given up on the “death zone;” am going to dig up the plumbago (thriving, but messy-looking), plant some more tete-a-tete daffs (which have done well out there) and mulch! PERIOD! I’M TOO OLD! The PA sedge I’ve been planting on a shady bank, section-by-section, seems to be doing well, so I’ll keep going next year…although it may “bank”rupt me (sorry, cdn’t resist).
    Also sorry to bore/bother you! I love your blogs!
    Your fan,

    • Good morning, Monica,
      It sounds like you’ve had a very successful garden this year. So happy that the perennial Begonias have done well for you. They are a job and much sturdier than they look. I transplanted a volunteer into a bed at the botanical garden where I volunteer, and it was promptly overgrown by more vigorous Salvias and an Echinacea. I assumed it was a goner. but those other plants have faded now, and as I cut them back, there was the Begonia, in bloom! It was fine! And I will encourage it to spread for next year. The Echinaceas are very fickle. But their roots are strong. If you cut them back as they fade, they’ll often spring back with more flowers before frost. I hear you about taking it easy, Monica. But just know that your Carex is a good plant to divide every few years. You can stretch out what you have without heading to the nursery. Just use a spade to cut out a hunk without lifting the entire plant. Just steal a hunk to plant elsewhere and fill that little hole with topsoil or compost. The parent Carex will grow back just fine. The weather has been challenging this year, and I can’t blame the struggling plants too much. They’ve had a lot to put up with between drought and flood, late spring and too much summer. Take good care of yourself. Thank you for your note. It is always nice to hear from you. -WG

      • Monica MacAdams

        WG, Thx so much for the tips. I’m still not sure that the prob with the echinaceas (which looked good during the height of summer) was not due to excess water; they’re in a heavily irrigated section of my garden, which was fine when the temp was 95 every day with no rain…but when the deluges came, and the sun was no longer directly overhead, they blackened and flagged. I didn’t know that I cd cut them back!! So I won’t give up on them without giving that a try next year. Thx!
        Thx also for the tip about dividing the carex…I almost tried it with a couple clumps this fall, as an experiment…but I’m not a skilled-enough gardener to know what I’m doing. (I only divide/transplant when I don’t care if the mother plants and/or off-springs die…my garden is filled with ferns I’ve butchered, but most go gangbusters the next season, so I don’t care if a few expire).
        Your grateful fan,

        • Monica, you might be correct about the Echinacea getting too soggy. They are pretty drought tolerant. It will be interesting to hear whether they come up in the spring. The only way to learn is to experiment and take a few chances. Sometimes I buy a plant intending to butcher it, knowing I’ll learn by taking it out of its pot and separating those roots and seeing how the crowns fit together. I do that with end of season (reduced) purchases sometimes. All plants have slightly different root structures. Some are more brittle and some more fibrous. It helps to know what you are dealing with before attempting to divide something valuable! Live and learn. Have fun! ❤ ❤ ❤

          • Monica MacAdams

            Yep, I have no shortage of dry shade/partial shade in my garden, but no full-sun, and precious little partial sun…so of course I tried the echinacea in the partial sun section, but that’s also where I planted astilbes and hydrangeas years ago, and therefore, also where I installed the most-concentrated portion of my irrigation system. I knew I was taking a chance on the echinacea, given those conditions (partial sun and lots of watering), but I was desperately looking for a deer-resistant perennial with a splash of late-season color, so tried the echinacea. Oh well, as you say, live and learn! No need to reply to this; I’ve bothered you quite enough…will put garden to bed soon…and then hope springs eternal, even if the echinacea don’t. Thx again for your sage advice (no, I can’t grow sage…not enough sun!). Monica ox

  2. This is the time of the year I become less motivated. After a summer of mowing, working in the garden, freezing the harvest, and heat it it time for a little rest. By the time I get somewhat motivated it is dark. I am now following your new website.

    • ❤ ❤ ❤ I know what you mean. It is good to slow down a little in fall after all of the effort since early spring. Sit back and enjoy! Thank you for following the new site. I always love seeing comments from you. -WG

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