Friday, October 21, 2016

With this lovely, warm weather, it's hard to believe that it's nearly the end of the growing season. I've watched the weather, so I know it's back to reality soon. But even cooler, sunny fall weather makes it a pleasure to be outside. I've been working outside sporadically, but since we haven't had a killing frost, it's more like summertime work - weeding and cutting back.

Some herbs look better than they have since much earlier in the season. My parsley always does better  in the fall. It does well in a cool, wet spring, then seems to decline in the heat and bounds back as cooler temperatures move in.

I have a second crop of beautiful dill foliage. This is from the seeds that dropped from the dill flowers earlier this summer. I love that sharp, tangy note that dill has and it's so good, particularly with fish dishes.

I have a large upright rosemary that wintered over outside (with some trimming.) But I also plant creeping rosemary. I like the way it spills over the edge of the bed and it flowers so readily with its pretty blue blossoms.

Besides outside work, I've been busy in the shop. It seems strange to do when it's been so warm, but I'm starting on holiday preparations. But I do like to wait until November to start decorating. I saw a holiday commercial this week - before Halloween! That's rushing the season, I think.

I'm also working on the fall newsletter. That will be coming out by mid-November and will have information on our holiday open house and many of the herbal gifts we have available for the holidays. Our selection of potted culinary herbs will be ready about the time the newsletter comes out.

In between working inside and out, I try to get around and enjoy and appreciate the flowers that are still blooming in the gardens.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

With the pleasant weather, we've been working on fall clean up. Cleaning in the gardens, plus cutting back perennials and removing spent annuals. If annuals still look good, I let them go until frost and enjoy them as long as I can. One big job was removing the shade cloths from the greenhouses. We put the dark fabric on in the late spring to reduce the amount of sunlight in the greenhouses. This makes it more comfortable for both plants and people during the summer. Then in the fall it comes off again. The next big job is burying stock plants in the garden to winter over.

For about the last month, goldfinches have been regularly coming and feeding on the seeds of the coneflowers on the garden. We have two big stands of echinacea which we do not cut back so birds can have the seeds. There used to be a pair that came regularly, but word must have gotten out because now there are at least six goldfinches that come to feed.

With the mild weather, many things in the garden still look attractive. Winter savory is blooming with small white flowers. Eucalyptus, with its blue-gray foliage looks great and I'll let it go until frost is in the forecast and then cut it and bring it in to dry. Many foliage plants, like santolina and germander look good. And the late blooming plants are hitting their prime.

Mexican bush sage gets tall and bushy and puts on quite a show with its fuzzy, purple flowers. The blooms dry well and tolerates some light frost. We have it in front of the greenhouse and it always draws comments from visitors.

And finally, our pineapple sage looks good after struggling during the hot, dry weather. Although it did not grow very tall this season, it is blooming nicely with lots of tubular, red flowers. You can freeze flowers in ice cubes to add to drinks. Or sprinkle a few flowers over a green salad. The flowers have a sweet, delicate taste.

For the next week, there's no prediction of frost. So get out and enjoy your garden while you can.

The herb shop is open Tuesday - Saturday from 9am to 5pm.