A Little Fall Garden Walkabout

Hosta 'Sum and Substance'

I’m so glad I planted some food crops in my home garden, because the community veg garden has been repeatedly flooded since Irene, rendering all crops there unsafe-to-eat mush. My cohorts and I will be lucky if we can get in there to plant garlic before Thanksgiving! But at home I have some swiss chard, leeks, raspberry, sage, okra, and a few fun novelties for which I am very grateful. A writing assignment last spring about edible landscaping revived my interest in interplanting food and ornamentals, and now there’s no going back!

September is for giant purple smokebushes and little patches of parsley.

I sowed ‘Bright Lights’ swiss chard throughout; those gorgeous stems of yellow, red, orange, and fuscia have been really fiery for two or more months now. Some white stems come up too – I’ve been cooking those, while leaving the more colorful cousins.

Okra is so easy to grow from seed — I planted in all over the yard where the foliage looks tropical and then this gorgeous yellow hibiscus-family flower comes out followed by the curious fuzzy pods. The key to harvesting okra is to slice above the cap, thereby preventing unwanted slime, unless your recipe calls for it, like in a gumbo. I tended to cook the pods whole, and they were not slimy at all.

The beautiful flower of okra, in the hibiscus family. Wunderkind grown from seed.                                                                                                                                                

Fall anenomes are exceptionally glorious this year. This one is the crisp, clean white of ‘Honorine Jobert’. I also really like the lavender-pink ‘September Charm.’  Once I saw a  green foliage garden wherein the only fall flower was ‘Honorine’ woven throughout–simple, elegant, calming and breathtaking at the same time.

Sweet fall-blooming Japanese anemones (not edible that I know of).

Made sage pesto; used too much sage. Next time, will use half sage, half or more parsley.

I got seed for Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry from the Hudson Valley Seed Library. I planted them rather late in the seasion for a solanaceous (tomato family) crop, but some are maturing now–it’s now a race with frost. It would’ve be more efficient to plant them from transplants in June, but it’s still been fun to experiment with them in this way. It was all about growing from seed this year and overall it’s been successful and money saving.

This is ground cherry, so called because the fruits are ready to eat when their pods dry and the "cherries" fall to the ground.

Luxuriant patches of parsley provided greens for my house bunny, Butter. But recently I learned that parsley is too high in calcium and oxalic acid for bunnies to eat every day, so I’ve switched her to cilantro. I hope I didn’t give her kidney stones.

Parsley grown from seed, woodchuck, sad twiggy times. Woodchucks are jerks.

New guy in town: 'Diablo' ninebark (for beauty, not eating).











I moved the ‘Black Lace’ elderberry (wet-loving) to a wetter spot and planted this ‘Diablo’ ninebark in its place. Ninebark is more tolerant of dry soils. ‘Diablo’ has lovely dark burgundy leaves. I hope it makes it here and spreads out nicely. This corner is difficult to grow anything in, even after adding lots of compost. Grow, Diablo, grow!

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