Thank you, Commentor CCL:
A bit of illness has me unable to do much but stare out the window, read, and reflect on the past year. The garden has been a focus of ours beginning in 2020 (yes, COVID lockdown), but only this last year have we started to think about the Fall and Winter views. Because of being a bit bed ridden with the luxury of not being able to do anything else, I thought I could write up our efforts on the Fall bit. Perhaps photos of the Southern New England, October Garden will be interesting to other BJ Jackals.
The top photo is of the vegetable garden behind the house with some of my Better Half’s cobblestone walkway work. (It’s New England, just put a shovel in the ground and up come rocks. They increase in size underground, like dahlia tubers.) Straight ahead is the aster bed, then field, then thicket for the birds, then in the far background, tree line marking the edge of the property.
Now, throughout the years, I have had vegetable gardens – from the desultory variety where the plants get shoved in and are expected to take care of themselves on their own, to more determined attempts where I am willing to water a bit in droughts. But this one, this one is my “best ever garden.”
I loved every minute of caring for it during 2022. We are looking to the Northeast. The garden is on the diagonal. The corners of the garden are East, South, West and North. The walkways inside the little garden are wide enough that I put the potatoes and carrots growing in bags on them with plenty enough space for me to get around.
The light in the garden will change next year. The sugar maple that is just barely visible on the left at the edge of the house died and has since been cut down. It was one of a beautiful pair that we are still mourning. It was always so brilliant in the fall. Its companion (outside the photo) has also been doing poorly, but we are hoping it will recover.
The second photo is on the other side of the house and is what one sees when one drives up our driveway. (The photo faces Southeast.) We did the “no mow May” well into July in field part in front of the woods. We were thrilled with the discovery of a maiden’s tresses orchid – which I knew from Albatrossy’s posts.
The red cellarway on the left was here when we bought the place as a “fixer upper” in 1987. It has shelves and sides made of old windows and is a perfect spot for getting seedlings hardened off. We store the generator and the hand tools there but it isn’t really big enough to function as a shed. The bigger tools have displaced the cars from the garage. More of Better Half’s cobblestone walkway running into the cement that was also here when we moved in.
The bench and chair in the foreground are also old – from the long ago defunct old Smith and Hawkins company. The stump under the bench is the only remains of the first to go of two winter pears – dying of old age we think. Its companion at the far right of the photo died this year and got cut down at the same time as the sugar maple in the first photo. Both the pear trees were very old – dating back to when the house was built, probably in the 1890s.
The empty bed behind the bench, chair and fence is filled with daffodils, roses, irises, columbine and hosta during the season. We use pots of flowers/plants for late summer. For fall, we leave it alone as the peegee hydrangea, seckel pear and viburnum provide lovely soft color.
The third photo is of the road we’ve been lucky to live on. One driving to us passes only 3 houses in almost a mile – and we are about 2 miles NE from the town green. Our neighbor is currently logging their property (on the right in this photo), so we have no idea how it will look next year, but surely it will still be lovely in its own way.
The fourth photo is a view of the front of the house from the second story window. We’ve redone the circle garden in front (here when we bought the place) and reseeded patches of grass. Across the road is the field of the little farm/BNB/event destination further down the hill. Here, they pasture their sheep and goats – and even once upon a time, their llamas.
The fifth photo (#5) is the same field from the edge of our front lawn. I find this view so serene.
To close, two gratuitous photos – one of the maples in the parking lot of the next town over’s post office and…
… One of Henry, our 4-year-old, a stray who came to visit 3 years ago and stayed.
(Pet photos are *never* gratuitous.)
Send me more garden photos, people, if you don’t want me to resort to ‘random stories from the internet’!
What’s going on in your garden (memories / planning / indoor), this week?
I love sugar maples in the autumn. There was a house near where I lived as a kid that had 6 lining the street. I went out of my way to look at them when they changed color.
Put seeds in cells mid January. The Shasta daisies which I cared about the least are the first up. I am waiting on the tomatoes.
Was out weeding chick weed. Only did a little. Was too cold to do it. It is coming up with the daffodils and crocus. I do want to get it out.
Found out chick weed is eatable. If I started to eat it it would disappear and never return.
You live in Serenity City.
How lovely! Thanks for sending these in. I have daffodils peeking up in the side yard, but no sign of the tulips yet. We had a really hard freeze right before Christmas, with temps around zero. I don’t know what effect that might have on my garden this spring.
What a lovely setting! Thanks for sharing.
Beautiful photos, as Baud wrote, Serenity City. I hope you are feeling better.
That is nice. I here a bit a of rain this morning. Florida’s “fall” color is the oranges getting ripe and filling up the trees but we do get some red maples and cypress trees turning yellow near water. They don’t seem to have good color in dryer ground.
I am researching flowering tree choices for my non gardening sister who lives on a lake. Dogwoods have become iffy here and she gets periodic lawn flooding so some choices won’t work for her. It makes a nice reading project on days it is cold out. Further up her yard she wants a redbud. Sentimental about a tree she loves from when she could hike. I would not plant it myself because as a gardener, I think, yikes, seedlings everywhere. I have a smaller lot.
I have a seed order ready and can’t find either of 2 books of stamps I know I have. I so rarely send physical mail now I have misplaced them.
Absolutely beautiful CCL, so very peaceful. You and your SO have done a wonderful job.
HA! Sounds just like my place. All clay with plentiful chert coming up out of the ground, laying in wait in hopes of dulling the mower blades. Pick one up and throw it into the woods and a year later another has taken it’s place. (I grow good rock here) At 16″ down there is a +/- foot thick layer that is all but impossible to dig thru with the odd boulder just waiting to stop me in my tracks.
Uckkk… Can’t say about logging practices in your neck of the woods, but around here it always looks like a war zone when they finish, what with the tops and limbs left to rot on the ground. Even if they don’t clear cut. My neighbor had his place logged about a decade ago and it still looks like hell, tho better than it did back then. When we bought our place in 2010, my wife and I vowed to never cut a tree unless it was already dead or becoming a hazard. The one exception is around the veggie garden, and even there, there are 2 trees I just can’t bring myself to cut. One is a beautiful red oak and the other is an old shagbark hickory. The boles of both are a good 2′ diameter at 5′ high, so a good 50-60 years old or older. They both shade the garden at different times of the day to varying extents depending on the month, but cutting them down would be akin to murder.
Dorothy A. Winsor
Your yard is beautiful
That is me all over. A while back I was looking for stamps and couldn’t find them anywhere even tho I knew I had bought some just a month or 2 before. Went to the post office and got another 20. When I went to put them in the sorter we have on the fridge I noticed there was a bunch of outdated stuff in it and took it out to toss and guess what I found among that trash?
@OzarkHillbilly: I keep my stamps in my checkbook, since the only reason I send paper mail nowadays is a payment.
(And those are few and far between with online payments. Anyone remember when you ordered new checks at least once a year?)
I love the aster bed. I have a difficult patch in my own back yard, and I think you just solved my problem.
@OzarkHillbilly: When we were overseas mail was free. I still have the letters that I sent my old man and I would write “Free but I’d rather pay 5 cents and get out of here”!
Beautiful settings and photos CCL! I’m a sucker for fall color and sunsets. You’ve really created a gorgeous yard and optimized what came with the place you bought.
Right now sitting on the Amtrak train in Salt Lake City after a wonderful visit with my friend in California. My return trip is so far going much more smoothly and looks to stay close to the timetable. Fingers crossed I didn’t just jinx it.
@Ken: Our checkbooks are in the same pocket as the stamps, Didn’t help me find them buried in all the junk that was also there. (shakes head in despair)
Such a peaceful scene.
@satby: I was hoping you would see this post, I thought you would like the photos.
Fingers crossed for trains on time.
@raven: Ha! My old man saved every letter he got from my mother during the Korean war. 5 shoe boxes full (hundreds, she must have written every day). We found them after Ma died and we had put him in a home. Some of them were very intimate. Little bro has them now, along with all of his slides.
Such photos! Such sensitive gardening! A “thicket for the birds” is a great idea. I miss Smith & Hawkins. The image of the road to your house, curving through trees, makes my heart swell.
I’d love to get, looking at the “red cellarway” picture, IDs of the smaller bush with apricot leaves and behind it a larger plant with red fall leaves. Japanese maples of some kind?
You all are so kind, thank you for your lovely comments.
Ozark, we’re hopeful about the logging. Several properties near us have been logged over the years, by proper forestry types. No clear cutting… But of course, fingers crossed that this approach holds true with the current owner. Also, we have the same philosophy as you do as to trees. Our veg garden is also too shady, but we will not be cutting trees to give it more light. Chert. One of my favorite words but least favorite soil types…er, rock incubator.
Sab, the Aster bed is Better Half’s idea. We try to keep it yellows and blues.. Still working out spring and summer plantings, but have daffodils, crocus, camassia, tall verbena, etc. sprinkled through. The rabbits do the Spring pinching back of the asters for us. This was the bed’s third year and was its best. Unfortunately, with our freeze and unfreeze winter, the crocus ended up being very expensive squirrel food.
Stinger, the soft pink small bush is a pee gee hydrangea…the red leafed mass behind it is a virbirnim (sp). Not sure what kind. Covered in glorious white flowers in spring. Red berries for the birds in late summer fall.
What lovely and serene views-thanks for sharing!
@CCL: Keats must surely have had a view like yours when he wrote “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…” Your post is most definitely an ode to autumn. Thanks for posting these lush photos.
@CCL: Thank you!
These are beautiful photos and words to find on a soggy, grey morning in January. Thank you for sharing the beauty of your world. Henry knew what he was doing.
@OzarkHillbilly: I kept my stamps in the check book, but they aren’t there now. Have fallen out somewhere and I don’t know where. I know I had 2 books of stamps because of the last time this happened, I then found the first book, so I am reluctant to buy another set but may have to. May see if mother has one stamp.
@eclare: about to start crossing the Rockies, so glad I took a look while I had signal
Great photos and story. Thanks for sharing.
Enjoy Glenwood Canyon just east of the Glenwood Springs, CO station!
Wave to the drivers floating through the canyon on I-70’s massive pillars! Hehe
We had a bit more snow overnight. Even the weeds are refusing to come up yet.
The seed catalogs are here though, and I have some perennials on order that won’t arrive for months yet. February is always the worst month for me, since there’s so little I can actually do outside yet but the days are getting longer.
Lovely, lovely, lovely! And makes me a bit homesick for New England – except it’s winter and soon will come spring and I was never a fan of Boston in the spring.
Love the cobblestone walkway.
That’s lovely! I live in similar environs. Commenter CCL can you describe the process of making the cobblestone garden path? I would love to do something similar in my yard.
How very lovely. Tranquil and peaceful.
You and your Better Half have done a terrific job
Jim, Foolish Literalist
what a beautiful setting, I’m very jealous, even knowing I couldn’t keep it up as well as you have!
So lovely! Thank you for sharing these. You have given me inspiration for my own garden. Your indoor garden is beautiful as well. Henry looks quite content amid the greenery!
I am afraid it’s not very scientific. Better Half finds the stones, either when digging a hole for a new planting or in many of the rocks tossed here and there by previous owners. There’s also a small rock pile up in the woods that we have scavenged for the right sized pieces.
Our soil is really hard clay, so we’ve not done the walkways the “proper way,” which would be to dig down a bit, lay some sort of impenetrable base, then sand, then arrange the stones,then more sand.
What was done here was to sort of rough out edges, plunk the shovel in, then take a mattock (is that it is called?) to hack through the clay. Then appropriate shaped stones are found and placed, then tamped in, and then builder’s sand is worked into the cracks. I will have to check on the type of sand, as I am not the one doing the labor.
It is very organic…and free form. We started by knowing we wanted a connector from the back of the house to the cement walkway in photo #2. But like topsy, the walkway grew. It is now almost a complete horseshoe starting at one side of the driveway, going around the house and connecting with the driveway on the other side.
I planted creeping thyme in the walkway, which has been lovely. Unfortunately, it’s been a bit too successful. I will probably move it this spring.
I hope that is somewhat helpful. PS. I have always loved your nym.
Tamara, thank you. I still make the potato bread you posted about a couple of years ago.
Daize, oh I am so glad! I know we are not alone but the garden saved us during lockdown.
Jim, we have a subcompact tractor…makes all the difference in the world.
What a nice set of photos – and what a lovely landscape and garden. Thanks for sharing!!
Today at Kos there is a post concerning Americans landscaping with non-native plants and the negative impact this is having on our native fauna. Interesting.
Lovely photos. They really have the feel of New England the the autumn. Thanks.
@CCL: This is all incredibly beautiful. I have some family in New England, and have always wanted to live there. Can’t decide between VT and MA. Can you recommend a place where I can find landscapes like those around you?
This makes me want to go see New England in the fall; we have friends in VT so we just need to make a plan. CCL, your yard is lovely and I always appreciate building with local stone; those paths are gorgeous.
Our wonderful neighbours loaned me a book called “Grow a Little Fruit Tree” and now I want to get rid of the completely neglected, horribly overgrown nectarine and do this method with two plums and an apple. The nectarine always blooms early and gets frozen, and the trunk is missing 1/3 of its bark and is starting to split down the center. The tart cherry that came with the house is fortunately small enough that 3 years of removing 1/3 of the branches as recommended will get it under control. The goal of the book is to have fruit trees where you don’t need a ladder to pick or prune them, and as will hit Medicare age this year, that makes a ton of sense to me. Our neighbours had 5 trees they grew this way in the Bay Area and have two plums planted as bare root trees two years here that are looking great, so I would have their skill and experience to help me get it right. Now I just need to talk my husband into getting the nectarine removed.
@Betsy: There are tons of places in New England far more lovely than our little corner. Vermont – gorgeous. Western Mass – oh oh oh. I am really not the person to be giving advice here but I think as long as you stay away from the big cities, you will find wonderful areas. Much luck to you.
@StringOnAStick: We are in the same boat. Most of the fruit trees came with the house – and we were too busy working and too naive to realize we needed to be planting! We did plant 3 apples, but the sour cherry tree is now just like you say, too tall to get fruit from. The birds enjoy it though. I have been thinking all winter of getting two montmorency cherries to go in the area where the old winter pears were. You’ve given me much to think about. Thank you.
Photo 1: wild-type New England Asters, FTW! My favorite variety, and blooms (almost) last of all–only pink turtleheads in heavy shade are later.
NE Asters look even better with a few goldenrod thrown in. It’s a common sight in autumn, in disused New York fields.
@CCL: Thank you.