Creative ways to use hay bales this fall!

Coltrane & Hartman - Autumn Serenade
Coltrane & Hartman - Autumn Serenade

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It's a wonderful color time of the year with Mother Nature

 
I think that I enjoy the fall season more than any other seasons, because it's Mother Nature's turn to show off all of her hard work. It's also the perfect time for us to add color to our yards by looking at the colors of the foliage around us. If you enjoy red flowers in your garden during the summer months, then why not plant shrubs and trees that have red foliage during the fall months?

Fall is a season for every color in the rainbow--from reds to pinks, gold, orange, and yellow. So look around you at your gardens and your friends' gardens as you drive around town or on the trip to the mountains for the fabulous fall foliage color. Then visit your local nursery and take advantage of their fall sales to add color to your garden during the fall months. Here are some of my favorite plants to add color to your yard this fall.

Let us start with the trees, because they form the canopy over and around our property and will give us the most color for our money. The color of the foliage will vary from year to year, depending on the rainfall during the summer months and during the early weeks of fall. Also helping to determine the color is the temperature during the color changeover and the health of the tree overall. The length of the color on the tree is also determined by the weather and all it takes is a big rain and wind storm and the show is over--but nice "Indian Summer" weather will extend the show of fall foliage for many extra days.

The Maple family: Has the best color in the fall and a wide selection of colors to choose from but there are many other trees just as beautiful to look at, so print this list when you go "Leaf Peeping."

Norway Maple: best shades of yellow to gold and even a bit of orange on the same leaf.

The Norway maple Hybrid 'Crimson King' has reddish purple leaves spring to fall.

Red Maple: Brilliant and the best reds, with splashes of orange and yellow mixed on the same tree.

Silver Maple: Yellow and orange blend with a splash of red on the same tree.

The Oak family: Known for shades of reds and deep green on the same leaf that will often develop later during the fall season and fade to reddish-brown.
 Some varieties hold the leaves well into winter.

The Birch family: known for bright golden yellow foliage and the wonderful white papery looking bark.

White Ash: known for the reds and purple shades mixed on the foliage.

Green Ash: known for superb yellow to gold foliage.

Beech family: known for bright yellow to golden brown to brown leaves that stay on the tree until winter.

Ginkgo: brilliant bright yellow for many days but all the leaves will fall from the tree at the same time.

Elms: shades of yellow with lines of green running thru it before turning brown and falling.

The Linden family: shades of striking yellow to gold foliage.

The Flowering Pear family: starts as a shiny yellow-orange then changes to red. Striking.

The Flowering Crabapples: shades of deep bright orange and red on the same leaf.

The Dogwood family: red to reddish purple and red to bright orange on the same leaves.

The Shadblow family: bright orange and very striking.

The Weeping Willow family: bright and shiny yellow foliage.

The Mountain Ash family: showy golden yellow foliage.

The Sourwood: begins yellow, then turns to shades of red and maroon foliage.

The Dawn Redwood: an evergreen needle that will turn orange-brown to reddish-brown and drop.

The Larch family: an evergreen needle that will turn bright yellow to gold and drop.

Here are a few suggestions for the best shrubs for fall foliage color for your yard and your gardens!Many of these shrubs also have beautiful flowers and fruit on them so the fall foliage is just an added benefit to the plant. Fall is for planting, so take advantage of the sales at your local nursery and get your yard landscaped this month and save money at the same time.

The Burning Bush is the KING of all fall foliage shrubs. In some states it has been removed from the nurseries and is not available for sale because these states overplanted them along the roadways and they have become invasive. These states will not agree with me but see for yourself when you drive along the highways how many are planted on the side of overpasses to prevent erosion, to give color to the highway and make the roadways look more beautiful during your many hours of traveling.

You all know the Burning Bush because of its wonderful bright fire-engine red foliage during the month of October. I Have several in my yard and have never seen seedlings develop around the plants, but because state horticulturists who overplanted them have passed a law preventing them from being sold, you are no longer able to purchase them in my state. If you have a Burning Bush in your yard please look around your property for seedlings and let me know if your plants have become invasive!

The Viburnum family: varying shades of reds to reddish purple and very showy.

The Witch Hazel family: brilliant yellow to orange foliage.

The Enkianthus family: bright red foliage with a bit of yellow splash on the inner leaves of the plant.

The Sumac family: rich reds, scarlet, maroon and some new hybrids shades of yellow foliage.

The Shrub-type Dogwoods: shades of red foliage with colorful stems that are red or golden yellow.

The Fothergilla family: wonderful shades of yellow, orange, and red blended on the foliage.

Oakleaf Hydrangea: unusual shades of reds to purples on the foliage.

Rhododendron PJM: burgundy red fall color

Rhododendron mucronulatum: Deciduous variety with yellow fall foliage.

The Cotoneaster family: shiny bright red to reddish purple.

Bridal wreath: orange and red combinations on the foliage.

Forsythia family: green and burgundy foliage

Kerria family: pale to medium yellow foliage.

Blueberries: shades of yellow, orange and changing to bronze and red foliage.

The Leucothoe family: rich wine to burgundy evergreen foliage during the winter months.

There are a few vines and ground covers with good fall color that you should also look for at your local nursery. Most plants stay green or the foliage falls off the plant green in the fall season, but look for these two plants and you will not go wrong.

Boston ivy: bright reds, crimson and even new hybrids with yellow foliage, the best vine for fall color.

Euonymus Coloratus: my favorite ground cover will turn a plum-purple color from the first frost and last until the new growth develops in the spring before turning green again.

When selecting plants for your yard and garden it is always better to select plants that will provide you with more than one quality while in your care. The flowers are nice but they can only last for so long and if fall color is also available you have a plant with two qualities, not just flowers for 4 to 8 weeks a year. Enjoy!

I have one more suggestion for you for this fall. If you have family or friends who live in an area of the country where the foliage does not change colors in the fall, do this for them. Pick an assortment of colorful leaves and stuff a bag with them, then send them out to them where they live. I do this every year and take a large zip lock bag. Place a couple paper towels that are wet to cover the leaves and place in the bag. The leaves stay moist and hold their color until they get there. I use a Priority Mail envelop from the post office and it gets there in a couple of days for less than $10.00. It's a wonderful gift for people who have moved out of the area; it will bring back many memories for them. Great for the grandkids who live in the South where the closest thing to colorful plants is ORANGES on a tree. Enjoy!
Eric Clapton - Autumn leaves
Eric Clapton - Autumn leaves

  
Fall berries on viburnum european cranberry

Right now we are all enjoying the beautiful fall foliage but soon the magical colors will disappear and our garden will begin to look a bit drab! Unless...you planned ahead by planting shrubs and trees that not only flower but make beautiful fruit or berries for the fall and winter months. When most gardeners think of plants with berries, they think of holly--but there is so much more for your garden and there is no better time to learn about these berries than now when they are on the plants. Plants that make berries come in two categories, summer and winter types. Because it's fall, let me tell you about the winter types of berry plants for your garden.

Let's begin with the wonderful trees that produce clusters of fruit in many colors and shapes to feed our birds during the fall and winter months. Yes, the berries are beautiful to look at, but their main purpose is to provide food for birds and wildlife during the winter months when most native plants are dormant or covered with snow. My favorite is the European Mountain Ash because of the wonderful white flower clusters in the spring and large clusters of bright orange fruit that develop during September.

I planted an 8 foot tall tree at my parents' house in the late 70's and today it's well over 40 feet tall. I would often watch the birds pick the berries from the tree around the Thanksgiving holiday. One Thanksgiving morning, my grandfather and I were having coffee and watching the birds from the kitchen table, when he told me this story about the Mountain Ash tree. My grandfather's name was Romeo Parent but everybody called him POP. I always called him "The Fisherman" because he loved nothing more than going fishing--and he often took me along. When I got older, it was my turn to take him fishing and we spent many wonderful hours together fishing--but let me tell you the story he told me about the Mountain Ash tree.

POP lived in the days of Prohibition, when beer and liquor were outlawed but POP and his friends used to pick the berries from the wild Mountain Ash trees growing in Maine to make homemade wine with them. Despite the law, almost everyone he knew made their own alcohol with wild berries and fruit like apples, pears, and peaches. POP told me that his favorite homemade wine was from the Mountain Ash tree and every time I see the Mountain Ash Tree I think of my Grandfather. If you're looking to plant trees with wonderful fruit go to your local nursery and ask to look at the following trees:

The Flowering Crabapple family: Not all varieties make fruit, so be sure to ask for ideas from the nurseryman and for his suggestions. Some of my favorites are.

Japanese Flowering Crabapple: with yellow to red fruit.
Tea Crabapple: with golden fruit with a red blotch.
Sargent Crabapple: with red fruit.
Donald Wyman: with glossy red fruit.
Harvest Gold: with glossy gold fruit.
Zumi: with golden yellow fruit.
Red Jade: red fruit
Weeping Candied Apple: with cherry red fruit.
Spring Flowering Dogwood: with jelly bean shaped red fruit.
Kousa Dogwood: with a raspberry shaped red fruit.
Magnolias: red to pink fruit in a pod that will break open to reveal the fruit.
Sourwood: white early, then turning to brown.
The Flowering Pear family: green to yellow.
The Hawthorn family: Glossy red to reddish purple fruit.
Red Cedar: powdery blue fruit.
Russian-Olive: silvery green fruit.
Autumn- Olive: burnt orange to red fruit.
If your yard has no room for trees, here are a few wonderfulshrubs with unique fruit for both evergreen and deciduous plants. Here are some evergreen plants with much to offer your garden.

Oregon Grape Holly: clusters of dusty bright blue fruit.
The Holly family: clusters of bright shiny red and some gold fruit.
The Skimmia family: clusters of bright red fruit.
The Ilex family: shiny black fruit.
The Cotoneaster family: bright red fruit.
The Evergreen Euonymus family: red to pink fruit that will break open and reveal orange seeds.
The Daphne family: red fruit.
The Inkberry family: dark blue to black fruit.
The Pyracantha family: My favorite shrub with bright orange to orange-red fruit clusters, and also yellow.
Here are some wonderful deciduous plants with wonderful fruit clusters. Fruit is showy with and without foliage on the plant. With snow on the ground they are spectacular.

The Viburnum family: This is the largest family of fruit bearing plants; they vary in many shades of red to reddish-purple, blue, and black. If you want birds you will need the Viburnum family on your property.
Bayberry family: Dusty blue fruit.
Barberry family: Oval red to yellow fruit.
Snowberry; beautiful white fruit clusters.
Burning Bush: red to pink fruit that will break open to reveal orange seeds.
Privet Hedges: with wonderful blue black fruit clusters.
Rosa Rugosa: Bright orange fruit that changes to red.
The Beautyberry family: white, pink, and purple fruit clusters. A must-see plant in the fall.

Winterberry family: My favorite deciduous plant, with shiny red fruit clusters that cover the new growth on the plant. Winterberry is often sold during Christmas to put in window boxes outside for the winter with greens.

***During the fall season many of us will go to pick dry weeds and wildflowers for dry arrangements. Bittersweet is wonderful and the many dry pods found in fields and forest areas work well in your arrangements, but be careful not to pick silver gray berry clusters that grow on a vine along the ground or on the side of a tree. POISON IVY makes a nice silver gray berry often confused with Bayberry shrub. Before you pick, smell the plant for the Bayberry fragrance on the branches! If there is no fragrance it could be Poison Ivy and as you pick it and hold the branches in your arms, you will be in for a surprise the following morning!!! Look first, think and then pick your wild plants and berries. Enjoy!!!
Neil Young - Harvest Moon (Live In Austin)
Neil Young - Harvest Moon (Live In Austin)
 
Fall is for planting trees, shrubs and spring flowering bulbs!


If you live in the country, you might have noticed a small daisy-like flower in bloom on the side of the road at this time of the year. The daisy-like flowers, half an inch to one across, cover the plant with white, blue or purple flowers. These native wildflowers are grown at many nurseries for fall color and will grow well in your perennial garden.

This wildflower will thrive from Northern New England to Georgia but only grows wild in New England. Ancient Greeks called asters "stars" and legends say that Astraea, goddess of the sky, wept when she saw that there were no stars on earth, and asters sprouted where her tears fell. This Greek goddess must have loved looking at New England, as she graced us with millions of these plants. They are everywhere you look as you travel in New England.

The flowers begin to open in early September and last well into October, surviving cold nights and frost. The flower is daisy shaped and the petals form like the spokes of a wheel, with a dense button-like center that is traditionally yellow in color. New hybrids come in violet, lavender, pink, ruby-red as well as the common white, blue and purple. The same plant can have single or double flowers on the same plant, making them very showy. In the wild, asters will grow 6 inches to several feet tall and spread just as much. These fall-flowering New England asters grow along the side of the road in front of my house. I mow the grass there but they still bloom at the height of 3 inches tall, a great weed.

Asters grow best in full sun but will tolerate a bit of shade. The plants prefer a well-drained soil, rich in organic matter like pine needles and rotted leaves. If you can keep the area well watered during the heat of summer, your plants will grow and spread quickly but they will also tolerate a dry soil and just produce smaller plants. If you find Asters growing on the side of the road, fertilize them with a regular lawn fertilizer in the spring to create a real show of flowers in the fall, in the perennial garden.

Use compost, animal manure or a balanced fertilizer to feed asters. Apply it in the spring to help build a bigger plant for the fall. Because the plants can get quite large, I recommend that you pinch them in early July like your mums, tall-growing sedum and Montauk daisies to control the size of the plant. If your New England fall asters grow along the side of the road like mine do, do not mow them when the plants are in bloom, but when the plants turn brown, mow them down with your lawn mower as this will spread the seed to make more plants for next year.

This fall-flowering perennial is a wonderful plant to attract bees and butterflies to your garden, as they are rich in pollen for food for these insects. This fall aster will make a great cut flower for your home and will last for 2 weeks or more in a vase of water. Use them in perennial gardens, wildflower gardens, woodland gardens, in a mixed border.

Plant in the back of the garden as they will get tall and you may have to stake the plants or you cut back in early July to control the height of the plants. At this time of the year, plant with mums, sedum, flowering cabbage and flowering kale.

When you clean the garden in the fall and the plant has turned brown, shake the plant on the ground to spread the seeds for next year. This plant will make a great filler plant for your flowerbeds and wildflower or meadow gardens. If you started with hybrid plants, they will stay true to color and form. The new seed-grown plants will look different due to pollination from the wild or native varieties growing along the side of the road, but still very nice. If you clean the garden late in the fall, many small birds like finches and chickadees will feed on the seeds produced on the plant. EnjoyJust because the season has changed, it does not mean "pack it up and go inside." Fall is a wonderful time to get back into the garden and finish your planting. During the heat of this summer, especially this year, the temperatures made planting almost impossible-and, besides, summer is the time to enjoy your spring planting and the family. Now the kids are back to school, vacation time is over for most of us and it's time to do what you enjoy again; for many of us that is working in the garden. Right now, the soil is still warm and when you plant new shrubs and trees they will get established faster than when planted in the early spring when the ground is wet and cold.

Fall planting does have many advantages--including the price of the plant material, as many of the nurseries and garden centers are having sales on their plants. Here is what I want you to look for when planting in the fall of the year. First, look over the plant material and check the quality of the plants on sale. If the plants look good, the root ball is nice and firm; the root ball has a good covering of burlap on it or is in a container that is not damaged, you're on the right track to continue looking around. Look at the foliage of the plant--is it green and healthy looking? Look at the condition of the branches--do they look good or are there many broken or dead branches on the plant?

Many times fall sales are caused by bad weather during the prime season, leaving plant material that did not sell when it was at its best, due to the weather. For example, most flowering plants sell when they are in bloom; if the weather was bad when they were in bloom, many people don't shop for plants at that time. The plant finishes flowering and people lose interest until next year when they see them flowering again and the weather is good for planting. The plant is still perfectly good but because you do not see the flowers, you lose interest in the plant and it sits in the nursery. The smart nursery keeps the plants looking good and cares for them properly---and in the fall, the smart gardener takes advantage of the bad weather during the spring and purchases that plant on sale. Look at the nursery itself and how it has been kept up during the summer months; if the place is clean and well-kept it is a signal that the plant material was well kept also. Now is the time for you to act and save money on plant material you would like in your yard, and when spring arrives next year your flowering plants are already planted and ready to flower no matter what the weather is.

If you're looking at trees for your home for shade or color--even fruit trees--fall is a great time also. Follow the same rules I just gave you but add one more thing to look at, and that is the trunk of the tree. Make sure there are no major scrapes on the trunk or missing bark. Small nicks and scrapes are not a problem and in just a year or two they will disappear. Grab the trunk of the tree and move it around to make sure it is firmly attached to the root ball--if it moves like a straw in a glass of water, leave it there, as the plant could have root damage that cannot be repaired.

Look at the foliage on the tree, how does it look? Make sure the branches look good with little to no breakage. Now, with your thumbnail, scrape a small scratch near the tip of some of those branches to make sure that there is still green under the bark; if you see green the branch is healthy, if brown there is a problem, So walk away. Large trees should have a wire basket around them unless they are potted. When you plant that tree ,leave the wire basket on the root ball; it will rust away in just a few years and the spacing of the wire will not affect the roots that will develop in the future. AGAIN--keep the wire basket on the root ball! The one thing that must be removed is any rope that is wrapped around the trunk of the tree, especially if it is plastic. Plastic rope will not rot in the ground and can create a girdling effect on the trunk and prevent growth from developing properly. What will happen is that as the trunk begins to grow the rope stays in position, while the wood fibers grow around it but are restricted. The top will grow and get bigger until a good wind or snow storm comes and then the girdled area that is the weak point on the plant will break--and you lose your tree. One more thing--any tree over six feet tall MUST be staked to the ground in the fall to hold the plant firmly in the ground for a year so the roots can form properly!

If you're planting evergreens in the fall, especially broadleaf evergreens like holly, boxwood, rhododendrons, azaleas, etc. , I would treat the foliage with an anti-desiccant spray such as Wilt-Pruf or Wilt-Stop around Thanksgiving to protect the foliage from wind damage and dehydration. Spray the underside of the foliage first and do a good job and get every underside of every leaf covered, as that is where the moisture escapes from the plant. Then do the top of the leaf; it's a small investment with a real positive effect on the plant, especially if we have a winter with little snow cover, lots of sunshine, wind, and little rainfall. An investment of less than $2.00 per plant can save a $50.00 plant from a tough winter. I would recommend that all broadleaf evergreens be treated--even those planted in the spring--for the first year in your garden. Be safe, not sorry in the spring.

I don't recommend planting roses in the fall of the year. I do recommend that you mulch all roses after Thanksgiving with bark mulch or straw--not any earlier, or mice will move into the mound of protection and eat your plant during the winter. If you live in New England, mulch and use Wilt-Pruf or Wilt-Stop especially if rose plants are less than a year old. Not every winter will be like last year with mild temperatures. If you have potted roses, put them in your garage or tool shed for the winter out of the weather when they lose all their foliage--or around Thanksgiving. No heated buildings, and water well before putting the plant away for the winter.

All deciduous plants--plants that lose their foliage during the winter months--can be planted in the fall with great success and need no special protection during the winter except for a good layer of bark mulch or compost around the base of the plant. This mulch helps to keep the heat in the ground longer, giving the plant extra time to develop a god root system and prevents the ground from freezing and thawing during the winter hurting the new roots.

If you're planting hydrangeas this fall, I would recommend that you remove all the flowers from the plant by Thanksgiving to prevent heavy wet snow from damaging the plant with the weight of the snow on the flowers and breaking the branches of the plant.

This fall, get back into your garden and get a jump on next spring's planting. Fall is for planting and planning the garden to enjoy for next year. Enjoy!
"It's difficult to check anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato "

Lewis Grizzard
                                         


Fresh Picked Fall Raspberry and Peach Crisp

Due to an early spring frost it may be difficult to find native Peaches, if you live in the North East this year but your supermarket or farmer's market should have some fresh picked peaches for you. This dessert has a nice flavor because of the raspberries added to the mixture. Serve warm with a big scoop of Vanilla Ice-cream right on top of the Crisp. Choose peaches that are ripe and have a bit of give to it when squeezed, if the peaches are hard and not quite ripe the flavor will not be the same.

Ingredients:
12 peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced into 1 inch wedges (about 2 pounds of peaches)
1 pint of fresh raspberries
cup of granular sugar
1 teaspoon of pure Vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

Topping:
cup of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of packed brown sugar.
1 cup of finely chopped Pecans
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons of cold butter, cut up into small pieces

Directions:
1} Lightly butter a 9 by 13 baking dish put aside. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2) Mix your Peaches, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract together in a medium mixing bowl. Now pour your peach mixture in the greased baking dish and level. Add your fresh raspberries evenly over the top of the filling and with the palm of your hand press them into the peach mixture.

3} Topping mixture is now made by mixing your flour, sugar and cut up butter pieces until it looks like coarse meal. Stir in your chopped Pecans and vanilla extract and stir together. Sprinkle your mixture evenly over the Peach mixture.

4} Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown and serve warm with a big scoop of Vanilla ice-cream on top of the Crisp. Serves 6 hungry adults or 8 who had a nice meal before dessert. I top it off with a maraschino cherry on top of the ice cream for a bit of color. Enjoy! 
 

Last week an item was left of the recipe it should have read 1/2 cup of honey 
Days to look forward

Thursday,October 6 - Mad Hatter Day
Friday, October 7 -World Smile Day
 Monday, October 10 - Columbus Day
Wednesday, October 12 - International Moment of Frustration Day
Saturday, October 22 - Make a Difference Day
Sunday, October 30 -  National Candy Corn Day 
Monday, October 31 -  Halloween

  
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Keep records will make you a better gardener!!

      

Garden Journal

        Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.

 

Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

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Regular price $34.95  Special Price $31.95! 

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