I hosted a garden party this month, which partly explains the lack of blog posts. If you came to my garden party, here’s some of what you would have seen. September has been extraordinarily pretty, but very dry. In preparation for the party, there was lots of watering, cutting back and deadheading to do. Plus I wanted to get all the gardens edged nicely again.
Probably the job that took longest was cleaning up the daylilies! I’ve never seen so much daylily rust and dead leaves. They’ve been cleaned totally three times this summer, but still looked awful early this month. Much of the iris foliage also turned brown and had to be removed. After this cleansing, there was lots of bare earth, so several mums were added here and there in two of the gardens. They certainly added lots of color! Five shrubs were also added to the Front Garden to add a bit more winter interest and structure. The tall arborvitae between the lilies went into a pot because I don’t think it will stay there long term. It will get way too big for the space. Maybe I’ll put lights on it for the holidays!
The Deck Garden got a quick edging and deadheading. But, the deck containers needed tidying, the deck had to be swept of falling cottonwood leaves, and the tables hauled up from the pole barn. Of course, during the party, there were bright tablecloths, jars of flowers and platters of food…none of which got photographed, of course!
The potager’s exterior border didn’t need much except a quick mow along the edges, and deadheading, of course. Notice the pot far left. It has a matching pot on the other side, and both contained one “Juliet” tomato plant and a few yellow marigolds. Those two pots have produced so many tomatoes, and so many comments! I tied the tall growth to the posts, and they’ve been super happy all summer.
You can see the climbing tomatoes on each side of the entrance. Just before the party, I removed the “rabbit barrier” at the bottom of the gate to prevent anyone tripping. The potager took the most work, only because I decided that the paths needed mulch. Because we had such a wet spring, which excluded bringing the truck close for unloading and all the mulch would have been washed out the low spots anyway, I didn’t bother to mulch as usual. But, looking at all the bare spots where the landscape cloth showed, it was obvious that mulch was needed. So, three truckloads later…..
Other than that, a good watering and a quick removal of some brown leaves was all the potager needed. That’s one advantage of keeping up with the weeding, and continual succession planting throughout the summer. Of course, the Lady Cottage needed a good sweeping, dusting, and a bit of tidying.
The Lady Cottage is a working garden shed, and because I’m constantly in and out, the floor is always messy. When it is all swept and tidy, I love it and promise myself I’ll keep it that way, but within days there are onion skins blowing across the floor, mud tracked in, and stacks of baskets and buckets!
The potager’s interior border was full of flowers and herbs. The new Heritage roses had lots of new blooms, there were puffy white feverfew blossoms, golden calendulas, gorgeous snapdragons, and some dahlias.
The potager’s beds were still packed full of veggies, and provided nearly all of the food served that evening: marinated various cherry and grape tomatoes; roasted beets on wheat bread with horseradish cream; pesto torte with crackers; slow-baked “ugly” spread with baquette slices; five kinds of melon skewered with fresh mint; and five kinds of cookies, along with Hugos made with our elderflower syrup and mint, lemonade garnished with lemon verbena, and iced tea.
Even seasoned gardeners seemed surprised to see happy pea vines filled with pods in mid-September! Believe me, there weren’t nearly as many pea pods after the party as there were before! There was lots of grazing going on, but that was fine with me! Many guests went home with bags of grape tomatoes, big tomatoes, melons or peppers.
The garden party was held to host friend, horticulturalist, singer Chuck Voigt. Chuck was the herb specialist at the Univ. of Illinois for decades, and became a good friend. After a bout of throat cancer, during which he was warned he might not be able to talk again, let alone sing, he decided to celebrate his wonderful recovery by singing in 100 gardens! We were honored that the potager was chosen to be one of the 100, and he was videotaped singing in the potager before the guests arrived. However, because of the record heat, he gave the concert in the shade near the Deck Garden, which allowed his audience to also sit comfortably under the trees. All in all, it was a fun evening, filled with music, friends, neighbors, beautiful weather and plenty of food.