fall flowers

While tomorrow is the autumn equinox, I am still reminded of the warm days of summer -vicariously through the flowers which still bloom beautifully this time of year.  Now, these are only a few I realize, and if you know of others, please do let me know so I may plant them next year. Flowers in late September and into October are heavenly – especially in Maine, where winters are long and dark and days grow shorter, quickly, this time of year…So, until the first frost comes (which may very well be tonight!), I will continue to enjoy these fall beauties…
I started them all from seed (some months and months ago).

Some direct sow and others by transplanting. For me, starting plants (vegetables + flowers) from seed is much more gratifying than buying ‘ready to plant’, plants. I know that is not the case for everyone, but for me, I like the challenge and then the pride that comes from harvesting your own…not to mention the taste! Rains and unfortunate circumstances thwarted some of my efforts, though in the end, there is plenty of color (and veggies) to go around…still.
Nasturtiums

(a South American trailing plant) have a lovely fullness this time of year…the bright green round leaves surround the flower itself – its’ vibrancy and softness, beautifully delicate – not to mention, they are edible and super sweet as tiny arrangements, bedside…


Sunflowers

(an American plant of the daisy family) who doesn’t like sunflowers? They must be the happiest flower around and while they are starting to droop and getting ready to go to seed, they are still incredibly fun to have around. Mine are 8th. generation – meaning I save seeds every year and plant the following year – these flowers (above) are from flowers eight years ago. I plan to do that with more flowers this year. My cosmos for instance,

while many are still blooming and thriving, may are also going to seed; most flowers are going to seed now too – time to collect…saving seeds is fairly easy. You just collect, dry (if necessary), and store in an airtight container and enjoy the following year.

This is a seed head for a cosmo plant. I simply picked it and the seeds fell into my hand. I’ll   leave them out a few days and seal away for the winter. Seeds for free!
Next are Zinnias

(an American plant of the daisy family). They are so brilliant. I don’t have as many as I’d like to have this year (last year was stellar), but I have enough to enjoy their rich colors all the same. Zinnias are a great cut flower too, they last for ages and they like to be cut – they keep sending out more buds, so cut away…and next to last,

marigolds

(also of the daisy family) – while they aren’t a flower I would normally include in ‘flowers I love’, they do add a richness to the garden at this time of year. They are in full bloom, bursting with color and triple the size they were only a few months ago – they add so much to a vegetable garden, especially when everything else seems to be getting a bit tired and the garden is ‘slowing’ down…though the colder varieties (of vegetables, that is) are just beginning again – beets,

spinach,

kale, lettuce

– I’m growing as long as I can – I truly miss being ‘self-sufficient’ (in terms of veggies) during the winter months – as well as the freedom to go out and cut flowers whenever a new arrangement is needed … perhaps a greenhouse is in order or some variation thereof…

Finally, Morning Glories

(a climbing plant cultivated for it’s trumpet shaped flowers) – they are overtaking the front of my house at the moment and that is just fine with me. Their long green tendrils grabbing and climbing – up and up, higher and higher until they reach the telephone wires – I love it! Go ahead, cover the front wall with your green and purple bursts of color throughout; this flower opens for only a short time and when it does, wow! I realize, soon it will be too cold for all these lovelies, but until then, I will continue to enjoy their scents, color and life…
So, while summer may be over, the beauty is not. Autumn here brings so much too – apple picking, pumpkin carving, cider drinking, hay rides and soup making – so until the last flower says night night, I will continue to enjoy all they have to give, because soon enough they will be gone, only to be replaced with nothingness; white, deep, snow…enjoy the color while it lasts…happy equinox.

bliss

Saturday was one of those days in Maine…the kind of day people envision when they think of ‘vacationland’… the kind of day which makes me appreciate living here – a cloudless brilliant blue sky, the sound of warm breezes blowing through tree leaves, roses in bloom, hot sunshine, green grass, waves gently rolling in the background and most importantly no bugs. The last part is the most critical – you see, Maine is notorious for its’ mosquitos, there are LOTS of them and where I live, they are relentless – truly incomprehensible…SO, to have the entire day to myself (Michael and Finn were out for the day), absolutely stunning weather (prior to this we’d been having nothing but rain) and to not be constantly assaulted with buzzing and biting (mosquitos), well, the day was absolute perfection (for a girl in rural Maine who loves her garden)… I spent five blissful hours outside, working in my garden.

I transplanted pumpkin seedlings,  planted more beans, carrots and spinach in order to have a continuous supply…I also planted corn seeds – I love fresh corn on the cob in August.

I was also thankfully able to transplant my tomato plants – they were over 3 feet in height and desperate to get in the ground. I planted each with a few basil plants (said to enhance flavor) and marigolds (pest control) as well as borage (for the dreaded tomato worm – they were terrible last year). I’d never seen or worked with borage, but I’d learned of its’ benefits from companion planting with tomatoes, so I gave it a try – I’m curious to see what comes of it.…if all works well this year, I’ll start a few borage plants from seed next year. It’s also said to help prevent worms in corn as well.

I then mulched the new transplants with hay to help with weeds as well as prevent moisture loss. I then happily picked baby lettuce, kale and spinach and have enjoyed them every night since.

I am hopeful for a good garden season – the risk with gardening is you just never know how it will all turn out – it’s all a bit of an experiment really…we cannot control the weather, thus we cannot control what may come of all our hard work. You may know the what, where and when of planting and gardening, yet still you cannot control the outcome of your labor…We prep the soil, begin seedlings months in advance, plan the layout, plant, weed, water and continue looking after the soil and if mother nature decides not to cooperate, well, that’s just how it is…So while I hope (and work towards) an abundant season (there’s nothing better that homegrown veggies) I know in the end, its not up to me – it will just be as it is…so until then, I will eat my greens and hope for more!