Copycat

My mother-in-law has amazing taste and I always love the way she decorates her home. The gorgeous bowl above is something she "threw together" a couple of years ago and I've always wanted to copy it. Found a similar bowl at a garage sale for $2 (minus the birds, alas) and made a similar arrangement inspired by Mom's for our front porch. Hoping to find a wreath like hers when they go on sale after the holidays. 

Saying goodbye to October

Our first freeze of fall is forecast for tonight, Halloween night, so we've been doing some rearranging in the garden, moving flowerpots closer to the house, pulling out some of the coleus that's overgrown or spent, and soaking in every last drop of enjoyment from the garden. The dahlia's in the pot above have been a pleasant surprise. We bought them in a discount package at Walmart Summer 2013 and never got them planted. They sat in their plastic bag in the garage over the winter and instead of throwing them away this spring, I decided to tuck them in a pot of coleus, just to see what would happen. They bloomed late—not until late August—but they've been so pretty. I think I'll plant a much bigger pot of them next year!
We planted a new clematis, Huldine, a white flowering variety, so now we have something growing on each of the deck's front poles (assuming this one makes it through the winter).
An autumn wreath on the front door. Sometimes it seems a waste to put up fall decorations when they'll only be replaced by Christmas ones in a few short weeks, but I do love the looks of fall decor.
We found some great solar LED lights for under the deck rail and so far, they work great! Just the perfect amount of light to cast a soft glow over the deck.

More mulch magic

Finished cutting a border along the side of the house and filled it with the wonderful free mulch we've been getting. A boring garden update, but sure gives a nice finished edge to the lawn and avoids the need to weed-eat around the utility outlets. The purple fountain grass was a huge success and we'll likely be putting one in the same spot next year. We've learned to buy the smallest available because it grows BIG in no time, especially in the ground.


Leaves to rake, but oh, so worth it

We'll have lots of leaves to rake when it's all said and done, but oh, how worth it. Fall is fixing to be stunning this year and our interest is piqued for a peek at fall's peak! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)
 The Lacebark Elm we planted last year is doing so well. Already it's tall enough to provide privacy and a bit of shade.
This Bradford pear is the star of the show when it comes to fall. It will soon be every shade of red, green, orange, and gold. And the little redbud tree we transplanted from the front yard seems to love its new location in the back yard. Did I mention Fall is our FAVORITE time of year?

In the pink

Cool October weather has brought a new flush of roses. These pink beauties are from one of the bushes we transplanted to underneath the deck last summer and they have outdone themselves this year, providing cut flowers almost all summer long—and now for fall as well. All of our rosebushes were growing here when we bought the house, but we have now moved all but one or two to new locations. 

Getting ready for fall


September 20, and the days are growing noticeably shorter. There's a touch of color in the tops of the trees, the squirrels are getting greedier, and the evenings have a wonderful crispness about them. So it seemed like it was time to replace the fading coleus in the pots on the front steps with some fall mums.
The checkerboard patio is in danger of disappearing into the
lush green grass!
After giving away tons of apples and stocking the fridge
with more, we've finally used the last of them, mostly on
delicious apple crisps.

The indoor plants are taking a rest, too, so I added some
interest with a paper butterfly (to the planter our oldest
daughter gave me for Mother's Day.)






September!

Even though there is plenty of summer left when September rolls around, we love the promise of autumn that turning the calendar page to September brings.

We planted some dahlias early this summer along with the coleus and it's just now blooming.
The clematis is also blooming again!

Favorite views

We love the huge Osage Orange trees (and even the thorny locusts) that grow at the back of our property. They give us such wonderful shade (so much that we can't get grass to grow there.) We planted the little lacebark elm on the right last fall, and it won't be long before it's adding its own nice spot of shade.
The window boxes (or rail rider boxes) have done so well this year, and I hope to add a couple more next year. They add such a bright spot of color planted with zinnias, gerbera daisies and begonias. Plus, they offer a nice "privacy fence" for the deck.
It's quiet and cool under the deck... 
...and I must admit I love this view of my "lawn boy" (aka my husband), especially when my work is done and I'm just relaxin'.

Things are getting pretty squirrel-y here

We have four of these little guys who call our yard home, and they certainly have kept us entertained over the seasons. (They are pretty much fearless and sometimes they get a little too close for comfort!)
When the grandkids are here, feeding the birds
and squirrels with Papa is a special treat!

Everything's coming up roses

We thought we'd have to wait until next summer to enjoy the transplanted roses, but they have surprised us and done quite well! We have two more to transplant, and may have lost two, but we've learned, with roses, to not give up too soon!
I've been able to keep little bouquets in our house, as well as take some to my mom in the nursing home, so these rose bushes are definitely earning their keep!
This one has leaves that actually look like velvet! Just beautiful!





Disappointment

Our sweet doves failed to hatch their babies this time. We're not sure what caused it, but the eggs never hatched, and eventually, the doves started leaving the nest for longer and longer periods of time, and finally they never came back, leaving the unhatched eggs. We didn't investigate to see whether there were birds in the shells. I just didn't want to know. :(
When the doves hadn't returned for two or three days, we finally removed the nest and eggs and planted a few rooted cuttings in their place. We're sad these almost three weeks didn't result in any hatchlings, but we enjoyed watching the doves care for their eggs until they seemed to sense there was no longer any hope.

Here we go again!

You might remember that the hanging planter on our front porch was host to a family of mourning doves early last spring. It was a delightful experience watching that devoted pair tend the nest, and finally to discover two little hatchlings survived the May 19 storm that did major damage to our house.

The plant they nested in didn't fare so well from lack of watering for two months, and we decided once was enough for that kind of experience.

We hung the planter up later in the spring this year and it looked like we'd managed to discourage the pair from nesting there this year. Until July 12 when I caught a dove flitting to and from the planter and discovered this inside:
I quickly cleaned out the "mess" that was the beginning of a nest, and shooed the dove away. But only an hour or two later, I came out to see this:


And when the dove flew away, I peeked inside to discover this:

And a few days later, this:

So I guess we're going to be privileged to watch the miracle all over again. And like I told my husband, it would really be cutting off my nose to spite my own face to evict the bird whose song is one of my favorite sounds in the whole wide world!

Mulch magic

We found a source for FREE mulch...a place that shreds Christmas trees for mulch, so spent this morning, July 8, spreading mulch. We're always amazed at the difference mulch makes in the way the flowerbeds look. We call it mulch magic! And it's good for the plants and trees too, conserving water, helping the roots to develop, and keeping the weeds at bay.
It feels like there's a carpet under our feet now that we've mulched this sitting area under the deck.
We still have many more places that need mulching, so we will be going back for several more loads of this wonderful stuff. But for now, it's a huge improvement and nicely within our meager gardening budget.