Back in Business – part two
I promised to be back earlier than two months… and here I am! I can’t say I had a tough time again so let’s skip the apologies and go straight to the good news!
Fall is definitely here even though I have seen no sign of yellow leaves yet. Asters, dahlias and grasses are much more reliable than trees, apparently. There are roses, flowers and new growth everywhere and the garden looks good thanks to the rain we had in september and in october and the still warm days (in 2011 I had the heating on since the first week of october while this year it’s still off).
I haven’t done that much in the garden this month but I spent a lot of time enjoying it and watching flowers and bugs and birds and taking pictures. I wish I ordered more narcissus and spring bulbs but in several times, while I was on the verge of clicking the ‘confirm order’ button, I thought of the wet soil in the garden and changed my mind.
I spent a lot of time tidying up and fulfilling those unfinished tasks that every garden and house have. Maybe I needed to clear my mind and I started from the space I live in. It worked. I worked too.
We burned a big stack of wooden pieces accumulated at the far end of the garden, there were old window frames, door frames, old shelves, rotten timber beams, stumps and many more wood you can’t burn for barbecue because it’s full of paint and poisonous stuff and nails. We set this big bonfire one evening, flames got so high and warm and it’s been very charming to watch. I like fire, I always did. Mum used to call me pyromaniac when I was a child.
It took us three evenings to burn down all the stack and every day we started the fire from the day before’s still hot embers. I hated that stack.
I went on painting some rooms inside (this time it was the stairwell round) and I’m painting the B-side of Ca’ Rossa. Then it rained and I got a little melancholic so I went to my parents’ for a couple of days and I started tidying up their house and I found a lot of interesting stuff to reuse in my house: some of my cousin’s old canvases (he’s a good painter) that my aunt put in the cellar to rotten and a very expensive Castiglioni lamp that my parents bought in the early 70’s without even knowing what Design is. I may put some pictures of the house rooms in a specific post soon.
But hey! Let’s get back to the garden, I have a lot of pics to show you!
The place in the garden I now love most is the square bed. All the echinacea seedlings I transplanted last May are in full bloom now together with salvia ‘Vanilla’, which has been flowering like mad all summer, the white fine textured aster ‘Montecassino’, some pennisetum seedlings (from ‘Magic’ and ‘Hameln’ parents), schizachyrium scoparium, verbena bonariensis and other little things…
All the asters I planted in 2011 are thriving and I’m very happy with them. I also planted a crab apple with burgundy leaves called Coccinella (ladybug) next to a big silver artemisia and some colorful asters and dahlias: A little messy corner but I like it (see picture below).
Speaking about dahlias, I’ve changed my mind about them! They are some great drinkers and this is a problem to me and they are very late but now they’re finally giving their best! There’s more colour in the garden now than in Spring.
Clockwise from top left: orange dahlia ‘Sylvia’, pink dahlia ‘Sandra’, dark red cactus type ‘Chat noir’ (I love this one!) and dark leaved ‘Bishop of Dover’, probably the best one for foliage interest and habit and it’s very free flowering.
But not only flowers grow and thrive in this garden: it seems 2012 is the year of mantis. I don’t know if they have ‘the year of the mantis’ in chinese calendars but I’m sure I’ve never seen so many before in my life. You should know how much I hate them, even though I know they probably are very useful insects but: 1) their females bite to death the male’s neck during sex so he can ejaculate (or whatever a bug does); 2) they often pray (but I guess only the males do it, in the hope of not being found by a female…); 3) they have alien like faces and they blink eyes in a human way which gives me the creeps; 4) they hide in the grass and they make me scream like a girl; 5) they are too big to be just a bug.
Another weird thing I’ve found was a strange cocoon with golden spots. The one pictured here was in my level which I tried not to use for a while… until my father did and the cocoon got lost. I did some research on the internet because I’ve never seen a cocoon with golden spots before. It seems they are from a ‘new’ moth that attacks grapevines (and there are loads around here) with severe damages to the plant. It comes from North America and its name is Antispila oinophylla: just a mangy american moth with a queen’s cocoon… Thank you, dad.
What else? Oh, yes, the vegetable garden is living its second life! Zucchini are now flowering and producing like mad and this upsets me as I didn’t have any zucchini when it was time! Anyway I got rid of the tomatoes and planted brand new stuff: cauliflowers, chicory, escarole, leeks, lettuce, cabbages, fennel and all of them are doing rather well. I’ve also started a full bed of cuttings from roses and hydrangeas and other things just in the middle of the vegetable garden, where you see those tomato plants in the picture. I hope they are going to root for next spring so I can pot them and plant new tomatoes. If this is going to work I’ll do it every year, it is theoretically smart. (the picture was taken a few weeks ago, now everything is much bigger!)
The Grass Garden is getting ready for the first frost, I like the textures and the shades of colours and light of autumn, I just hope the trees are going to show some fall foliage soon!