Seasonal Celebrations & Lessons Learned
After the humidity and heat that summer brought I am ready to embrace the change of seasons.
I am looking forward to asters, chrysanthemums, acorns, persimmon, goldenrod, sumac, seed pods, apples, pumpkins, and red berries. College football, soup and chili, wearing a jacket and enjoying the vivid fall colors. But my favorite thing of all is Fall planting!
I joining Gardens Eye View for a look forward to Fall.
~ Seasonal Celebrations: Fall ~
|Early fall color or victim of drought?|
Every fall the Master Gardener organization I am affiliated with holds a Fall Garden Expo. Growers from all over the Southeast come to sell plants, many unusual and hard to find. It is a fabulous one stop shopping event of all things garden related from tools & equipment to art. The fabulous group of volunteers that organize and staff the expo put on an outstanding event. I work the two day event every year but make sure to find time to shop because there are always more plants that I can't live without.
Fall is time to celebrate the arrival of the Monarch butterflies! The milkweed is ready and waiting to host the party. They usually stop in my Georgia garden in mid-October on their trip to Mexico but my husband spotted the first one in our garden this week. A few days later we spotted another Monarch, this time a male. I hope to find caterpillars soon. These will become the next generation of butterflies who will continue the migratory journey south.
|First monarch sighting of the Fall|
Cooler weather means its hiking time. One of my favorite places to go locally is Elachee Nature Center and Science Center. A great place to explore nature along 13 miles of trails through the 1,500 acre nature preserve.
Summer is coming to an end but it didn't pass by without Mother Nature departing more knowledge unto the gardener. I am joining Plant Postings for a look at the lessons learned this season.
I discovered that the bees like the bird bath even more than the birds. It is "their" drinking hole and they get very upset whenever I dump the water to clean it out and replenish it with fresh water. They buzz around me objecting profusely. I noticed that quite a few of the the bees would fall into the water from the edge and drown so I added rocks of varying sizes for them to perch on. This seems to have solved the problem.
This summer was my first attempt growing eggplant. The eggplants which were purchased as seedlings in Spring have not performed at all. I was beginning to feel a bit of a failed gardener because it is touted as one of the easiest vegetables to grow. They like fertile soil and lots of sun and they have both. They bloomed several times but the blooms fell off. So I did some research and found that this is caused by either (1) lack of water or (2) lack of pollination. Well, I know it isn't lack of water since we supplement the garden in the summer so it must be the later. So it had me thinking that I have never seen a pollinator visit them. Odd, since there are pollinators zooming around the garden all day long. Well, that is because eggplant, like corn, is wind pollinated. Pollination problems can occur when it is very wet or humid because the pollen becomes very sticky and can't fall down onto the pistil to pollinate the flower. When the weather is hot the pollen will become inactive because the plant thinks it can't handle the stress of fruit along with the hot weather. So the plant aborts the bloom so it won't be so stressed. I am keeping my fingers crossed that some less humid fall weather may help out and the eggplant won't be so stressed (poor thing!) and maybe decide to produce some fruit before winter arrives. Fingers crossed. If we decide to grow eggplant again next year I may have to help it along with some hand pollination.
I have learned that it takes a long time to become a toad. The toads laid eggs in early spring this year. The tadpoles swam and swam and then swam some more in our small pond. I thought they would never grow up. Then one day I started to see the tiniest little toads maybe 1/2" long hopping around in the weeds near the pond. Happy day...I was so thrilled! They are getting a little bigger everyday and we are now starting to see them venture off to other parts of the garden. They are now about 1" long and just one of the cutest things in the garden.