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Tis the season. Every time I go to my favorite local nursery, Campbell Road in Cary, shoppers are stuffing these shrubs in their cars.

alba

Good choice. Beauty Berry takes shade, has a nice airy form, looks great in my woods and shrub borders. It can be cut back to the ground in spring or left to go wild.

americana

And then there is the big selling point–fall berries. Even after all our recent rain, my beauty berries still have stunning, neon-colored fruit. And they will for weeks to come. This long season of interest another big plus.

Beauty Berries seed for me–which means I have more than a dozen in my garden and always a few to give away to friends.

heavyberry

Most of my plants originally came from another favorite nursery–Camellia Forest in Chapel Hill. They’re having a Fall Open House this month. I think I’ll go buy some more beauty berry.

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I used to parboil and peel my tomatoes for sauce. Now I just grind them, peels and all.

Yes, that is an old fashioned food mill bolted to our table. I’ve been processing tomatoes from my little suburban Wake County garden since the second week of July.

Tomato pie, tomato sauce, tomato salad, tomato sandwiches, tomato jam…I’ve made them all.

What I haven’t done is write in the blog, and I feel more than a bit guilty for neglecting it.

But there is only so much time in the day, and I’d feel even guiltier if I wasted my tomatoes, eggplant, and basil.

mater_bounty

And then there are the cucumbers. Every time husband Bill goes out in the backyard, he brings in a few more.

No matter–these plants are all coming out this week.

I feel a little guilty about that, too. It is wasting food after all.

But the start of the new garden is waiting under the crape myrtle. It’s time to plant kale, leeks, mustard and chard. And space, like time is limited around here.

So goodbye summer. It’s been fun, but exhausting. Who would have thought I could get so much food out of two little plots.

How did your summer gardens grow?


When Melissa’s Grandma said, “All I want is iris,” I found myself digging Black Gamecock from a good third of the front bed last night.

LouisianaIrisBlackGamecock_lg

Is this a good time to move Louisiana Iris? Of course not. It’s going to be 90 degrees next week, after all. So if you’re a member of the Iris Society, stop reading RIGHT NOW.

But I am a sucker for grandmas in general–Evelyn in particular (because co-blogger Melissa loves her so much). And Louisiana Iris are about as sturdy as Southern Grandmas. If you cut back the foliage and DON’T confuse them with their surface-loving, bearded cousins, you should be able to move them successfully any time.

What's going into this big hole in the front bed??? Stay tuned.

What’s going into this big hole in the front bed??? Stay tuned.

Plus, I was over Black Gamecock in the front bed. They bloomed well for a few years, but this year, they had spread too far and needed dividing.

The Spring blooms were over and done.

Outta there! I like to move things when the spirit or grandmas move me. What about you? Need any Black Gamecock? I’ve got plenty to share–
outta_there


hardingoff_2

One day I will have a fine lath house, inspired by the huge one at the JC Raulston Arboretum.
But until then, I will tote and fret, bring the tomato seedlings out in the morning, indoors a night, and worry all day long until they GRADUALLY become accustomed to outdoor conditions.

Otherwise all our efforts could be lost. And cold temps aren’t the only enemies.

IMG_1363

On the first few days out, I place the trays under large bushes with low hanging branches. This gives tender plants shade and wind protection.

When the weather warmed this week, I started leaving the tomatoes out over night in protected places: a covered porch, under the slats of a bench, and in my well-used cold frame.

coldframe_1

But that doesn’t mean I can quit worrying. I check the seedlings at least twice a day for water and sun-scald. And last night when thunder rolled all around us, I sat up in bed in a panic.

So yes, that woman in a bathrobe fussing over a cold frame in the rain at 4:55 this morning was me-

Happy to say all plants are Ok this morning.

coldframe_2

And speaking of the JCRA, their Raulston Blooms festival of birds and flowers is this Saturday.

Raulston Blooms  for Facebook

There will be a plant sale, info seminars, food; the always inspiring birdhouse competition, plus arts and crafts. I’m been invited to sell my garden tool aprons and other upcycled fabric creations–so come check it (and my work) out!

teacher_apronhands


It’s time to photograph your bulbs.

poetseye

Not like this–the bulb companies have all the close-ups covered.

But bulbs disappear in the early spring and winter landscape. So take ugly pictures like these.

bulbs_wide

Show where your bulbs are now, and where you want to add more–

Then go to your September calendar and write “Order Bulbs!!!” at the end of the month.

And make sure you can access the photos in September. Digital files do tend to wander and the bulbs and their foliage will be many months dormant by the time to order more.

Also, when thinking about bulbs, think outside the tulip-daffodil box.

flagstones

These spring star flowers dig dry shade and they lend my flagstones the “abandoned place” look that I love.

And while we’re on ugly photos, co-blogger Melissa suggested I remind everyone that cold-burned leaves are Ok on shrubs and perennials. These hydrangea leaves will come back–

ugly_leaves

But if you have tender plants….beware. Our last average frost date in central NC is April 15th. That’s why my tomatoes and basil have taken over the dinning room. It’s too soon to put them out!

matercrop

So what’s growing at your house?

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