mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: planting

equinox . . .

newly planted chrysanthemums and perennial chinese lanterns

newly planted chrysanthemums and perennial chinese lanterns

Autumn in New England is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. This afternoon around 4 p.m. the autumnal equinox will occur: when the sun crosses the equator resulting in night and day being equally divided. A song was even written about it, “Autumn in New York.” Yesterday morning, I passed by a beautiful, huge chrysanthemum plant at the grocery store. It was a combination of russet and yellow blooms, the buds barely showing any color, tightly wound ready to burst into bloom in a few days. I kept thinking about it so I went back yesterday afternoon and bought it. G. and I made a patch for it (at least, G. did) and we wedged it into the front of the stone triangle garden in front of the house. His little stone gargoyle guy was set right under it, gnawing or playing his pipe.chrysanthemum with gargoyle

Today, on Sunday, the 22nd of September, the morning began overcast and grey, although the blue morning glories on the deck greeted us from the kitchen window as we had breakfast and read the morning papers. Then, G. went off to Boston to do a couple of piano tunings and I settled back to write a letter to a potter friend in Australia.

I thought how nice it would be to pick up a few smaller pots of mums in different colors and to plant them all (including the huge mother plant) into the ground. There was also a bag of mulch sitting around all summer, too heavy for me to move into place to spread it (or at least that was my proffered excuse to myself.)

At the Stop and Shop, I found three bushy mums in yellow, russet and a warm dusty rose. Putting on my sneakers when I got home, I used a big garden fork and spade to dig holes for the plants. Weeded and cut thick, woody roots. Planted the mums and mulched them with ye old bag of mulch. Swept the porch steps and watered the plants with a fine spray from the hose still outside. It felt satisfying to have acknowledged the equinox with this bevy of mums in the garden, especially with so much human drama occurring all around us every day.

chrysanthemums 2

starters . . .

a group of morning glory seedlings

a group of morning glory seedlings


morning glory seedlings planted near the clematis

morning glory seedlings planted near the clematis


Spring has been optimal for growing this year: alternating sunny, dry breezy weather interspersed with showers and soaking rain, sometimes for a couple of days. I am often surprised why people object to rain when it is so important to the natural cycle of things. Our Sassafras trees have the most graceful leaves when they unfurl in May.
lush white and pink in the front triangle garden

lush white and pink in the front triangle garden


in front of the barn

in front of the barn


For at least a decade, we have had a planting ritual for “Heavenly Blue” morning glories right around Memorial Day. There’s a nursery in Framingham, about a half hour’s drive towards Boston that grows and sells morning glory seedlings that are about four inches high when I purchase them. The seedlings are not that easy to find and while I’ve tried growing them from a packet of seeds, they don’t seem to want to sprout for me. So I buy a flat of seedlings and place them in the shade under the rhododendron bush to keep cool until we have a chance to plant them. I cluster a four-pack together and plant them in the ground. Then G. measures out fresh twine from the decking above and anchors the string to a brick which nestles in the earth right next to the seedlings. As they grow, they wind themselves around the string and climb. This year, I planted clusters near the purple wisteria vine and the white wisteria vine in the front, thinking that by the time the morning glories bloom, the other flowers, roses and such would have gone by. One new place was near the clematis arbor (see photo above) where there is a wrought iron trellis that branches out in both directions under the stained glass window. I thought that they might take and clamber up the trellis to grace the house sometime in late Summer, early Fall.
"Before" planting wildflower seeds

“Before” planting wildflower seeds


Finally, there’s a very rocky, poor soil area in the front near the street where G. pulled up the weeds and crabgrass, brought some compost over from his mother’s house across the street and the guys put in a stone pathway, sprinkling a mixed assortment of Northeastern wildflower seeds throughout. Afterwards, it rained for about two days, sometimes a heavy downpour from Hurricane Andrea in the middle of the night. Then, the sun came out and for the last couple of days, it has been temperate, sunny and dry with a light breeze: perfect weather for sowing and growing!

All of this is just to belabor a little bit the plantings that we made last week.
What’s most fun is to see what comes up and how they flourish as the Summer and Fall gently roll by. Later, that is.

In the meantime, here are some photos of early roses and right-on-time peonies.

apricot roses by the barn

apricot roses by the barn


climbing roses

climbing roses

peonies along the driveway

peonies along the driveway

Note: to enlarge photos, click once; to magnify, click again.