September survival

A person around here broke a foot bone.

I won’t mention any names but the broken bone didn’t belong to Max or to me. So anyway there was a guy on crutches for a month and the other people here had to help a lot just to get this person to doctor appointments and to keep him from falling down the stairs which doesn’t mean he didn’t insist upon going down from step to step on those crutches so really it is a miracle he didn’t fly off the edge to oblivion and for this I am grateful. Then on Thursday the sweet smart orthopedic surgeon woman studied the new x-rays and then gave approval to walk again on the abused foot so we are back to semi-normal in that regard.

And also it rained, finally.

That endless heat was making me more crazy than usual. I found myself setting an ice-storm image as my laptop screen saver and also checking the weather in Quebec quite a lot. I think I could live in Quebec… But then, at the eleventh hour, someone rational got access to the sky thermostat and now it’s cool and autumnal with occasional rain and I am fine until next August which at least gives me time to plan.

I did not garden much during the horrible heat except to provide daily water to existing beds (our well is not generous enough to consider the grass) although I did plant a ring of little boxwoods around some native oak trees.

boxwood borderI will like them better when they grow together and don’t look quite so much like a circle of avocados standing on end.

The boxwoods frame a bed I have planted in a million ways previously: delphinium, petunias, strawberries and roses have already been pathetic or dead there. I am confident that the boxwood will be fine because it’s been fine in other much worse arrangements and I kind of like how it makes the little oak trees look like a big deal.


I have some catmint in pots and I intend to put in the interior of the boxwood circle…someday.

In other garden news I have finally managed to plant a winter cover crop of crimson clover in the vegetable beds.

crimson clover sproutsI think I planted them too close together…

The clover is a legume, which means it is a plant which miraculously puts nitrogen back into the soil and is also a fun word to say. In addition the roots break up the clumpy clay and then in the spring you just dig them into the soil in place and they are instant compost aka green manure.

Farmers use cover crops a lot to feed the soil but the rumor is that home gardeners are so busy with wheelbarrow loads of compost that they tend to miss this other opportunity. I’ve always wanted to try it, and one other summer I even bought a package of crimson clover seed but then I forgot to plant it in time. So I stored it on top of the door casing inside the chicken-house, which is the little building where I once stored chickens but now I have to store empty pots and a lot of other garden things because I don’t have a proper garden shed. But somehow the chicken-house mice got hold of grappling hooks and ropes and scaled the wall and ate the seed I had stored above the doorway (a place I chose so that mice couldn’t reach it)– and planting an empty bag just isn’t the same.

crimson clover sprouted

Anyway the cover crop plants are highly cute growing all in a brave bunch and looking around, keen and excited to sprout even though winter is coming, and they also make it appear that I am not at fault for failing to grow a winter vegetable garden because I can’t do that and grow this fabulous cover crop at the same time can I? (I have grown winter vegetables in the past and some of them even lived beyond November but mostly they dissolved in the rain.)

grapes in September

We have the usual pears and apples and grapes all ripe now which is handy if you are working outside and get a little hungry.

The dead “lawn” is making a minor comeback as the leaves begin to fall.

Westie in September

The grass became truly comatose during the heat attack of August/September.

That endless Heat Wave, together with the lost vote in Scotland and the new old horrible war in the Middle East– well it was almost too much.  I cast about for distraction and this may have contributed to my sudden irrational need to clean a certain upstairs storage area where I found three giant boxes of mixed up Lego sets from my children’s past.

The tiny Lego people were thrilled to see the light of day.

Lego pirate

What followed is the Great Lego Project, a sorting of all the weird little pieces into the vast sets of space monorail or international airport or pirate ship or etc, endless sets. It is something like a treasure hunt and satisfying to bring order to the chaos — but mostly I just want my dining room back.

too many Legos




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hot shots

If you have a minute today could you please call Weather Maintenance? I need this heat to go away just as soon as the last down comforter gets dry. Rain would be nice then. Even cool rain would be okay since the blankets will be ready to use.

feathers dryingYou are supposed to wash these feathery ones in giant commercial machines but I don’t always do what I’m supposed to do and really this is a very small infraction compared to some so I’m not worrying about it too much. I just stuff them into the washing machine and then give them a few trips in the dryer and it’s off to sun and wind. And you can see by the grass that we have lots of sun and wind.

We’ve had day after day of 90-100 F. The attic fan was replaced and I had to actually sew exterior removable curtains to block the late morning sun from coming in through the sidelights by the front door.

sidelight curtains

Before that I taped brown paper on the outside but it kept falling off.  The curtains will go away when the weather cools. I miss the view outside…

You may remember my kiwi discussion from last August.

kiwi vine

Well this spring there was yet another murder, a revenge killing I think, wherein the male kiwi was disposed of by his second wife. We replaced him and the current couple seems terribly happy so that I wonder if they had this all planned and there was maybe a life insurance policy or something involved, like happens on Mystery.

The next picture shows the kiwi neighborhood. The guilty girl kiwi grows in that deep but bottomless well-drained not root-rotting pot in the middle of the image, and the grape vine trellis runs perpendicular to the kiwi arbor.

I like garden rooms.


In other news, I grew some asters from “mixed seed” which is sort of like going shopping and buying things with your eyes closed.

mixed up seeds

Anyway the seed packet didn’t lie, it was certainly an assortment, and the outcomes seem to be distant cousins.

I like this pink one, and it keeps forever as a cut flower.

pink Chinese aster

I will save some seeds and hope they don’t turn out more like this purple version.

purple Chinese aster

I guess I kind of like the purple as well. Maybe I’ll save its seeds too. But I have not bonded with this next one.

Chinese aster pink button

See those pinky button-looking blooms? And how would anyone know those plants were wearing pink to the same party where the coneflowers wore orange? Actually I don’t mind that at all, but they are such buttony little flowers. Not collecting seeds there.

I like the salvia in the next image. It’s all one plant, new this summer. I know you recognize it so I won’t bore you with the name. It’s great friends with its neighbor, the anise hyssop “Apricot Sunrise.”

salvia and hyssop

Here’s my dreamy image for this week, which Tammy taught me how to do. It’s of the mimosa tree, which it turns out is absolute last waking up in spring and then grows all summer long, adding feet and feet, and is first to drop leaves in the fall.

mimosa treeOnly two blooms this year so it’s not invasive yet…

Okay please let me know when the Weather repairs begin.

In the meantime take it easy…

Westie on his pillow

And keep cool.




Posted in actual plants, Max the Westie, my 19th century house | Tagged , | 32 Comments