Garden with Grace

"I hope that while so many people are out smelling the flowers, someone is taking the time to plant some." ~H.Rappaport


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Autumn Surprise

While I dread the end of the summer, there’s always a surprise in the garden in autumn.

This year, the surprise was late – the Maximillian (or New Mexican) Sunflowers.  These have been in the garden for over a decade, started from seed and over the years have been shared with friends across New England. As I write this, I’m reminded that a clump of them will be travelling this weekend to a special garden of an artist friend in Weare, NH.

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Not your typical sunflowers, these look ‘weedy’ all summer, until they start to bloom in late September.  This year, the bloom didn’t start until mid October – just in time for the frost that is expected this weekend.  There’s nothing more refreshing than a bright burst of yellow in the garden as everything else is ready to come to an end.

Mother Nature is magical!


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What a Difference a Day Makes

It’s been less than 48 hours since my last post and something incredible happened.

Within 12 hours of noticing all of the out-of-the-ordinary blooms in my garden and leaves still stuck on the trees, autumn or more appropriately FALL, arrived.

It really did happen overnight. Yesterday morning, the maple tree that was highlighted in my blog on Sunday, dropped most of its leaves. They fell straight down to the ground, creating a beautiful carpet of red leaves. (The little gargoyle statue sitting nearby seems to not want to look!)

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Here’s how it looked less than 24 hours earlier.

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Just goes to prove Mark Twain’s point about New England weather.  “If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.”  (or in this case, a few hours!)


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Observing ‘the Risk to Blossom’ Today

The weather in New England, specifically where I live, in southern New Hampshire (NH) has forced me to follow my calendar this year. This fall, the garden continues to offer daily surprises, even though we’re well in to November and just over a month away from the Winter Solstice.

We’ve had a spectacular foliage season in NH – lots of red, orange, and yellow to decorate the landscape. This Japanese Maple is a good example of the bright colors:

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Typically, the 7-10 days after Halloween is a big leaf raking/blowing week.  We’re fortunate in Nashua to have curb-side pickup of soft yard waste until the end of November.  In past years, the leaves were blown/raked, shredded, and either put to the curb or added to the compost bin by now.

Today, I looked out of the window.  If I didn’t know better, I’d thought it was a beautiful mid-October day.

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Not only have the leaves refused to fall, but some of the flowers in the garden are still blooming as though it were still late summer. Most unusual is when I look out to the back patio and see that the Mandevilla is still looking great! I’ve never had one of these plants last in my garden/yard past mid September because even the smallest touch of frost kills this tropical plant in an instant.

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While there has been a chill in the air the past 6 weeks,  we’ve yet to have a hard freeze.  What a treat it was to walk thru the garden and find some surprises on November 9!  Typically, the Hollyhocks bloom mid-late summer.  This one got wrapped into the Morning Glories. While the Glories are not so glorious anymore, there’s still one last bloom being pushed out by the Hollyhock. I can actually see it from across the yard while looking out of my home-office window.

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Weeks ago, I thought I had seen the ‘last rose of summer’. Maybe I did and these are ‘the last roses of autumn’? If they stick it out, they could be the first roses of winter.

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Also paying a surprise visit today were the ‘Pinks’ aka: Dianthus and the ‘Indian Blanket’ aka: Gaillardia.

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Isn’t Mother Nature incredible? She definitely has a plan.

It makes me wonder if these flowers in the garden today were late bloomers or perhaps they are the best example of Anais Nin’s quote that has always been an inspiration to me in early spring:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”