Monday, November 19, 2012

Fall Garden in Review

Looking out towards the garden from the covered deck as you walk up to our front door.

The garden is rapidly winding down for the year with several light frosts under our belt and temps in the mid 30's to low 50's.  The rains have begun in earnest and the leaves seem to melt off the plants and trees in this weather, luckily we have plenty of evergreens for late Fall and Winter color.  With much of the harvest canned, frozen, dried, or in cold storage I now have more time to sit by the fire and share what's been going on around here.
Josie was napping under a Bloodgood Japanese Maple, I called her name and she looked up, my goldens are constant companions while I'm gardening, they love to oversee it all and help dig if I let them.

Most of these pictures were taken  in early to mid October when the garden still had some color. 
One of the central paths in the vegetable garden.

Red Chidori Kale, delicious lightly steamed with a little butter and vinegar. 
One of kale's virtues is that you can harvest it from Spring through Fall and into the Winter. 


Artichokes that were successfully grown from seed produced their first year.  This is a perennial crop that will have permanent spot in my garden.  We're still eating plenty out of the garden even this late in the year, there is kale, swiss chard, small broccoli florets, sorrel, carrots, beets, turnips, potatoes, celeriac, and greens.    Many meals have everything grown or raised right here, with the addition of our eggs, chicken, and dairy products.

Swiss Chard loves our climate and the leaves really liven up a salad

I'm learning to cook with turnips and like the small ones fresh in salads, the larger ones cooked like mash potatoes, or baked in a root vegetable casserole, plus I'll add them in small amounts to soups.

Every year I have a few favorite plants and flowers, this year it was all of my patio plants that I got for Mother's Day from my husband and children.  They bought plants for me at a local hobby gardener's sale, he has one a few times per year and specializes in annuals.  I tried some fun new plants like the Angel Trumpet Flower, Albutilon, and the Shrimp plant, along with geraniums and petunia's in color's that I had never grown before. Most of the one's I can over winter are inside all toasty waiting to go back outside next year when it warms up again.

Everyday over the Spring, Summer, and early Fall I had so much enjoyment from my garden, with music softly piped outside while I worked away, I thought this is heaven on earth.  My favorite music early in the morning are the bird songs, their singing is delightful with the robins being especially nice.  Hummingbirds live in the Douglas fir trees surrounding our property and they love to race from flower to flower and then they'll sit quietly on the fence and look about.  The hum of life comes from the birds and bees, the flowers that feed our soul, and the fruits and vegetables that feed our bodies, you can feel the pulse when you enter.  The work of the garden pays us back in so many wonderful ways throughout the year. 

Angel Trumpet Flowers
Magnificent, I loved this as a patio plant!

A type of "Albutillon"

Amaranth "Love Lies Bleeding" is a favorite of mine.

During the summer I gathered peppermint and dried the leaves for tea to drink through the year.  I also dried plenty of thyme, sage and oregano, the herbs in my garden are at their peak the end of July so I gathered the leaves on a dry morning at the height of summer.  They taste wonderful in soups, stews, spaghetti and for cooking through the winter.  I dry them in full leaf and then grind them in a mortise and pestle just before adding to soups and salads.  The flavor is so fresh and takes me back to the mornings I picked them.  There are still plenty of fresh herbs going strong in the garden but the leaves gathered at the height of summer have the best flavor.

This year with our fence complete and no deer getting inside, I can now grow roses.  Over the summer I ordered the David Austin catalog and have been dreaming of a garden filled with roses ever since.    Tamora was a rose I bought several years ago, it has a delicious old rose scent.   If you aren't familiar with David Austin roses look him up online and order his Rose Catalog you will see what I'm talking about.  He's bred the best of the old roses with the new for repeat flowering, disease resistance, and fragrance.    You can also classify many of them as edibles because of their rose hips and petals that you can make jam with.

David Austin Rose "Tamora"


Mich Heywood said...

I love David Austin roses, didnt know you could get them in the US.
They are really popular in the UK as great scents, beautiful colours and most flower non stop all summer.
I did a day course on rose management at their main showroom/garden centre in the UK; we also got to look around behind the scenes at how the roses are bred etc. Needless to say my borders and cutting garden are full of david austin roses.

Jewel said...

Hi Mich, Yes we can buy them online through the David Austin website or by mail through their catalog. How fun to have actually been to a day course on roses at their main showroom. And how lucky for you to have your borders and cutting garden full of them, I would love to see your gardens, what are your favorites?

Mich Heywood said...

One of my favorites this year has been Munstead Wood a beautiful dark red.
Another one that I do like is the yellow Graham thomas, a nice big rose with a good scent and it doesnt get top heavy like some of the Austin roses.

Jewel said...

I know which one's they are I've studied the catalog so much. Thank you for sharing a couple of your favorites. I like both of those ones, Munstead Wood is a very gorgeous looking one, and the Graham Thomas get's tall and comes as a climber too. That's nice to know it doesn't get too top heavy, especially with all of our rain. I'm hoping to get a few ordered for Christmas. They won't ship them to me until April though.

Anonymous said...

How do you dry your herbs? I want to start but don't really know how.

Thanks! Allison