We are having a few sunny and warm Fall days here and I have been busy catching up on the last of the outside painting chores. I have had to scale back my ambitions this year, as our summer was very cool and wet. I did want to continue staining the outside of the house, particularly the front, as it is becoming faded and a little bit weathered. But that will have to wait until next year. Doesn't it seem there is never enough time?
But I did finish the deck, the railings, the back of the house, the front steps, and today I will stain the two gates. I wish I had enough time to finish the arbors over the gates, but the weather is not holding out for me.
I have also been harvesting the last of the herbs. Here I have Mint for tea, Golden Oregano, and some Sage. Today I will harvest my Tansy for making moth sachets. I will post directions and the recipe for the moth sachets when it dries. It is so fragrant and it is very easy to grow. I started mine from seed heads I gathered growing wild.
I have been picking blackberries, too. We have two kinds growing wild here. The Himalayan and the Evergreen. I prefer the Evergreen. They are larger and firmer and in my opinion, have a better taste. So I have 'cultivated' the Evergreen, encouraging them to grow along a wired trellis and also around my very large Holly tree. They have beautiful pink flowers in the spring. But they have vicious thorns, even on the toothed leaves. But it is worth a few scratches. I made Hubby Blackberry Cobbler this week. He told me that 'I spoiled him' when I dished it up. The recipe is posted under 'Baking'. I have more recipes to share when I have picked a few more berries.
The skies have been so clear. I have to take advantage of every minute! It was so warm yesterday that I worked outside with only a thin short sleeved top.
I have been gradually converting the plantings on my deck for the cool months. Here I have potted up various small ground covers and Heathers. In the spring I will transplant them into the garden. Gone are the Petunias and Lobelias, although my Marigolds are still going strong. I have just one pot of Lobelia still blooming here on the bottom.
This little plaque sits among the pots on the baker's rack. It was my Mother's. She also kept it among the pots on her deck. The little verdigris frogs were also hers. They are candle holders. I found the tiny glass 'conservatory' at the thrift shop for just a few dollars.
This is my Succulent garden. I overwinter them under the low eave so they stay dry in our wet winters. These Succulents are so easy to grow and you can make new ones simply by pulling off a section with roots on it and re-potting it. These make great little gifts. The Strawberries are still producing and I have one pot on the bottom shelf with Strawberries hanging down. There is a pot of Catnip on the very top shelf, safely out of reach. I recently harvested some of the long stems and put them in a cardboard tray. The cats would take turns lying inside the tray, a blissful expression on their little faces.
This little wire turtle was also my Mother's. She loved to decorate her deck with all sorts of little things. I prefer a less cluttered look, but this little guy seems to fit in with the wire rack display. I also have a similar one of hers, a little wire snail, on another shelf.
My large planters have Barberry, Irish Moss, and Variegated Ivy, for a year round display. I tuck Pansies here and there in the Spring and Fall. I change these large planters whenever the shrubs get too big. I will probably do that in the Spring. They last about two - three years in the pots before they need transplanting. I put recycled packing peanuts in the bottom of the pots to keep them light and provide drainage. Be careful when you do this though, as some packing peanuts are soluble now for environmental reasons and they will dissolve. Test them with water first.
I have a tip for moving large planters on a deck. Use a carpet sample. Tilt the pot and slide the sample underneath, pile side down, then pivot the pot to place it completely on the carpet, leaving a large section of carpet free to grab and pull. (Pull with one hand and hold the edge of the pot with the other to keep from tipping.) Even the heaviest pots are easy to move this way. This also works great with furniture on bare floors. If moving furniture over carpeting, simply turn the carpet sample so that it is pile side up.
The rain is coming back tomorrow and will stay for a few days. Today I will pick my apples and will bake an apple pie over the weekend. I promise to share the recipe.
Fall is definitely here. Last night, Hubby and I stood on the deck and looked up into the starry night, hoping for a mild winter. Off in the distance we heard two bull elk bugling back and forth. The swallows have left us, a sure sign of the approaching cold. Every evening we would watch them fly across the little river valley performing their airy ballet. I have started feeding the birds again. Time to unpack the sweaters. I hope you are enjoying the beautiful Fall days.