Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Turn the Page ...

The sun is setting notably earlier these days.  I'm enraptured by the way blooms look in the early evening.

I have a better appreciation for Rudibeckia this year
(They have fleshed out in sweeps of late-season color)
I don't remember Labor Day weekend feeling so much like 'the pivot point for a seasonal change', but for some reason this year, it did.  It could have to do with the fact that it was 96 degrees and humid Friday (09/02/11) and 67 degrees and breezy on Monday (09/05/11)??!  I'm in a quarterback 'fall back' position on gardening right now.  Taking a step back, walking around - looking at what has done well, what is getting established and what is struggling.  And, timing is everything...

Camping out in my 3-Season room Labor Day weekend 2011
After 7 years of 'garden' journal-ling, my "Quad-rule Mead Composition Book" is full --- to the brim, if you look at it on the left.  It's jammed with notes, sketches, plant tags, post-its - you name it (there were 'lean' years where not much was written).  This weekend, I had to break down an buy a new one.  I splurged!  Instead of spending $0.99 on the traditional black variety, I bought a glossy-finished, cosmic-colored composition book for $2.00, though I did have to sacrifice the "quad-rule" for 'wide-rule'.

A peek at the "Sun Garden" through the window
(Pink Guara is bursting everywhere - LOVE this for a cottage-style garden)
So I've 'turned the page' - quite a few actually - in my new 'Garden Journal II'.  I'm making notes for "Wishlist 2012".  On the top of this list - more 'orange' perennials, to mix in with purple and pink - big, random splashes of color.  Just because.  More gardens in 'full sun'.  Exploit the west side of the house - where there is +5 hours of sun.  'Blow out' the Cottage Garden to include larger patches of 'sunny' space.  (Jim, at Jim & Pat's Gardening Adventure, suggested making the garden bigger from the start.)

"Sweet Autumn Clematis" in bloom recently
It's time to get 'the nerve' (like Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz), and cut in more garden in the front yard - where it's sunny most of the day.  I was thinking of making an island of just Illinois natives?  Just a thought...

It's not the most crisp photo I've taken,
but I just love the slender grace of the Pink Guara bloom
In the new journal, I made a list of the plants I added to the gardens this year in 2011.  It didn't seem like a bunch, until I looked back in review.  I checked off a bunch of 'wishlist' plants:  perennial Hollyhock (Alcea Mars Magic), Bluestar (Amsonia Hubruchtii), 'Morning Light' Maiden Grass, variegated Jacob's Ladder, Bugbane (Actaea ramosa "Brunette"), "Petite Snow" Butterfly Bush, Asiatic Lily (Lillium "New Wave"), Candytuft ('Snowflake') and Japanese Anemone (Anemone sylvestris).   Spring / Summer 2012 will be an interesting 'growth' season - I'm anxious already!

Bounty from a farmers' market at a recent event
(My friend's keen sense of style & me with a camera...)
Next season, I have to make a note to appreciate local gardeners more.  A friend of mine explores local farmers' markets frequently.  Nothing says beauty like fresh cut flowers, but my gardens are small and I'm a bit selfish - wanting to see perennial blooms in the garden as long as possible.  Farmers market, ho!

So now - it's on to Garden Mums, Petunias Pansies (Thanks for the correction, Lizz: Garden Mensa) and cleaning up the gardens for next Spring.

Mums & Petunias
(Orange & purple - bold n daring from one of my garden mensas!)
Hope your gardens are all the delight you imagine.. and more, as we turn the page to a new season.


  1. Nothing like a garden journal to hone future plans and attend to areas in need. I admire people who journal and have organization in their lives. It looks like you are scheduling in garden fun as well.

  2. I love those quad composition books. I have several with a project in each. Now if I could just stick one of those in my pocket so I could do one for the garden and keep myself organized like you....

  3. GWGT - it's all about the pen on paper (the more colors, the better). I was born to doddle. The gardening happens in peaks & valleys! (lots of 'valley-ing' in the field // peaking on paper lately)

    Tufa Girl - you are the 'accomplisher', with laser-focus on your projects; I meander in my travels ... like a 5 year old playing 'organized' sports! :D (Did you notice the content of the table top with my garden books? A little of this ... a little of that.)

  4. I am about to finish up a 10-year garden journal this year. It's been fun to look back. The last 10 years have been about installing new beds every year. The next 10 years, Lord willing, will be about maintaining what is already in place. Now it's time to fine-tune. Now if could just get those plant tags organized!

  5. I am so impressed that you write all this down. I make mental notes (HA!) which are easily forgotten. I do try to keep plant tags, but even that's a mess! One of the reasons I blog is to try to journal a little of something of my garden. I love your idea of cutting into your front for a larger garden - and natives sound easy and fun!

  6. A kindred spirit! I looked at that table full of books, pens and journals and just knew I'd like your blog, and I do. Making notes on how to improve the gardens is one of my favourite things, and I identify with the "valleying in the field and peaking on paper" so much. Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts.

  7. I admire your ability to consistently journal. What a treasure to have as you look back over the history of your garden. Congratulations on your second journal; it really is an accomplishment. Here is to many more!

  8. Toni - 10 yrs invested in your garden design and journal-ing!! I am inspired - and sure have 'a ways' to go; my gardens look very sparse still.

    Holley - thanks! I would have barely remembered any changes if I hadn't had a journal (and I am an 'old school' designer with T-squares & triangles...it gives me fond memories AND shows my age!) I am totally stoked about a "Natives Garden" in the front!! :D

    Lyn - Welcome!! So glad to have you come by for a visit! You should check out the "early" posts at the beginning of my blog -- when my house was torn apart from 'stem to stern' and there were crater-sized holes around my yard! (no joke!)

    Cat - thanks for the kind words! I realized that my journal kind of looks like a "Scrap Book for gardeners" -- in 'techno-color'! (It also reminded me how timid I was when I started out. I certainly have gotten over that!?!)

  9. Psst...its pansy and not a petunia...Z

  10. I don't have a garden journal, but I do label with names and dates especially locations of herbaceous perennials. In a way, my journal is planted in the garden.

  11. Lizz - shhhh! ;-) (I've never planted either!)

    b-a-g, That is a very cool way to do it; a living 3D journal!

  12. I wish I could be as disciplined and organized as you. I'm afraid most of my planning is in my head, and it is pretty crowded in there! I love your gaura. This is a plant I really want to grow in my garden, but it has perished both times I have planted it. I will try one more time, because I love it so.

  13. I find myself writing less and less in my gardening journals and blogging more but it is still nice to have the records from when i first began gardening in Nebraska 15 years ago.
    I love Autumn....it really is my favorite season. The lighting is really magical at this time of year. Love your photos!
    Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog!

  14. I sure wish I had a garden journal like yours as mine was eaten by the computer a few months ago and I fear I shall never get it back. Your old journal is a work of art.

  15. Always make the garden bit bigger. Who needs a lawn? You can sit and drink beer in the mud too!

  16. Deb - believe me, the garden journal is like a grown-up "coloring book" with a box of new crayons; it's my 'cheap' therapy!

    Greggo - really?!? No way!

    Rosey - good to have you stop by! Thanks!! (Gardening for 15 years - I am so impressed.)

    Tina - as much as I enjoy working on the computer, I fear that insurmountable loss of data (we had a PC crash a few years ago - devastating!) Thanks for the kind 'art' comment!

    IG - Amen to bigger gardens and ice cold beers!

  17. so great that you succeed in your journal, I keep trying to make one but so far I can't keep up

  18. I have a garden journal too, the problem being that I tend to jot notes down on whatever comes to hand in the moment, and never quite get around to putting them in the journal. I admire your degree of organisation! And I totally agree with you about the quality of the light at this time of year - that first shot of yours glows with it, wonderful.

  19. Shyrlene, I experienced the same thing - the changing of the seasons following Labor Day. I think that it has to do with the fact that we were preparing for a hurricane and so had to bring in a lot of the pots and ornaments and take down curtains, canopy, etc. We did many of our usual "get-ready-for-winter-shores" and the dropping temperatures and earlier sundowns make it seem more like "fall" now than years past. And that makes me so sad!

  20. Wow, what beauties! they as fragrant as they are gorgeous. nice photo shoot!


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