Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Goodnight Garden

Dahlia ( October 23rd)
What an amazing garden season we have had at Dandelion House this year! If ever there was a year to dip my garden spade into the world of backyard flower farming this was it! Our south coast weather couldn't have been more cooperative. Spring brought sunny skies and consistently warm temps ( with just enough rain ) followed by plenty of heat when we needed it the most. These are the most favorable conditions for the tropical dahlia flower and they've put on a never ending show of beautiful blooms for this first time grower of dahlias.  My go to guy at our local garden center said this was the best year for dahlia's in a long time which  makes me wonder what to expect next year. All I know is I'm spoiled and so are my family and friends... We've had non stop house flowers for weeks and weeks!  Alas, I think I have finally cut the last of them. As sad as I am to say that, It has been such a fulfilling experience watching my backyard flower farm blossom from seed to vase.  From the first sprout in the greenhouse to learning that dahlias will grow even if you plant them upside down, and every precious moment in the garden with family and friends. It's been pure joy! So much so I've decided to write a book to encourage other backyard hobby gardeners' to think local and grow more  ' yard flowers'  right at home. While my gardens rest I'll be working on my manuscript, getting it polished and ready for submission. I'll keep you posted on the progress along the way! 
Back to the garden...

 Harvest time is well under way and it's time to clear the beds a replenish the soil with nutrients. The above photo is what my front 4 ( of eight ) beds looked like before I cleared the zinnia, cosmos and sunflower beds. Once the dahlia foliage dies back to brown it will be safe to dig them up and properly store them. ( I'll do another post just for that when the time comes) 

Oh, how I hated to fill that wheelbarrow, but it had to be done! On the other hand looking at my naked flower beds filled we with hope for next year. Oh ,the possibilities!!!

I wanted you to see how Jiffy Peat Pots perform. This was a sunflower planted  in a peat pot in the greenhouse. Once it was mature enough it it was easily transplanted into the garden. The advantage of these pots is that you don't have to disturb the fragile roots when you transplant them outside. You can see that the roots found their way through the bottom and sides of the pot and into the soil. They'll biodegrade in the compost pile over the winter. I'll use them again next year!

Just look at these blank canvases! Ready for the first brush strokes of spring...

 Speaking of brush strokes go here to see how the garden inspired my mom to begin painting flowers! She loves flowers as much as I do, but because of her back she doesn't garden as much as she used to. Instead, she spreads her love of flowers on canvas creating her signature stylized paintings. I made sure she has a steady supply of fresh flowers from the garden for inspiration. She also signed up for painting classes which she loves!

My mom arranging flowers to take home! She was just like a kid in a candy store when she would come to cut flowers!

I'll sure miss looking down at these flowery faces as my gardens drift off to sleep for a much
deserved long winters nap.

Putting Your Beds to Bed: These simple steps will guarantee you a proper start come spring and are applicable to raised beds and established borders as well.
  • Clear away dead plants that have any mold or mildew present. You can leave others to decay as they will add nutrients to the soil which can be turned in come springtime.
  • Add nitrogen with organic matter ( homemade compost, kitchen scraps, composted manure ) 
  • Plant a winter cover crop. 
  • Mulching with leaves, straw or wood chips now will give your garden soil the proper time to replenish over the winter and keep the nutrients where they belong. Under cover! 

" This has been one of the best years of my life" ~ Mary

 Mary is my mother in law. She's 90. Many of you know she visited us off and on throughout the spring and summer and spent a lot of time in the garden with me during our ' daily garden walks.
 My mom and my mother in law have been my constant cheerleader's from the very inception of the garden and having them by my side through the entire process was priceless... We  are already planning for next year and we thank you for sharing this growing journey with us!

I'm sharing this post with Tilly's Nest
 Down Home Blog Hop!

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