Last Blog of the Season

The gardening season is about to begin and soon I’ll be up to my knees in dirt–digging, planting, and weeding. I won’t have the time to write blogs.

Over 100 tulips have already popped up and together with yellow basket-of-gold and lilac-colored catmint, the front garden this spring should be charming.

My thanks to all the bloggers who have followed me on Facebook and Twitter. I hope you enjoyed reading the blogs as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Heartfelt thanks to Genesse Carrillo of Montana Moon Productions for arranging the texts and photographs so beautifully.

So for the time being, it’s farewell to dear Jane Austen, Penelope Lively, landscapers, the Armani-clad Earl le Baron, the cigarette puffing Hiram I. Swindell, and of course that optimistic DIY-er Mark Malarkey.

Maureen.

In the meantime, don’t forget to order your copy of Too Late for Regrets. Hard copy and e-books available here: http://www.amazon.com/Too-Late-Regrets-Maureen-Jabour/dp/0692229663/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425072314&sr=8-1&keywords=too+late+for+regrets

Water Features

The human fascination with water features in the garden goes back thousands of years. A shared reverence of nature inspired the Chinese and later the Japanese to become masters of the art of using water and rock. Experts in the management of water, the Romans built aqueducts and fountains, some still in use today. Islamic gardens always included water to counter the fierce heat. Their influence spread to Southern Spain. The most notable of these designs exists today at the palace of the Alhambra, with its formal canals, rills, and fountains. Gardens today can be improved by including some part of water feature.

There once was a heron–a fairly large bird,

He came quite early before we had stirred,

He ate my prize fish, almost every one,

Then he gobbled the last one just for fun.

Boxwood encloses this fountain.

Boxwood encloses this fountain.

A lion's head fountain.

A lion’s head fountain.

A tranquil scene.

A tranquil scene.

Lily pads float on surface.

Lily pads float on surface.

Water cascades down huge rocks. See "Too Late for Regrets" page 251 for a description of Timothy's water feature.

Water cascades down huge rocks. See “Too Late for Regrets” page 251 for a description of Timothy’s water feature.

Water trickles into pond.

Water trickles into pond.

Tulips surround fountain.

Tulips surround fountain.

Gardening Topic of the Week: Tulips

The days are shorter, the nights are longer. It’s official–it’s fall.

In October, I make the much-anticipated visit to the nursery to choose tulip bulbs from the abundant

Tulips "Georgette,"  red or orange. This is a fabulous bunch flowering tulip. Several flowers on a sturdy stem. If you have enough space, plant ten or twelve for a spectacular show.

Tulips “Georgette,”
red or orange. This is a fabulous bunch flowering tulip. Several flowers on a sturdy stem. If you have enough space, plant ten or twelve for a spectacular show.

selection. The many varieties can be bewildering! Therefore, my advice is to look at the tags. They will tell you how tall the tulips will grow to be, and when they will bloom; early, mid, or late spring. Be sure to include those tags in your packet!

A mixture of Darwin tulips. Yellow, pink, and red are easy to grow.

A mixture of Darwin tulips. Yellow, pink, and red are easy to grow.

It’s also important to have a definite plan. A mixture of yellow or red? Perhaps pink and white? Or a section devoted to orange?

The bulbs should be firm and unblemished–bulbs that show any sign of sponginess should be avoided.

The bulbs have to be planted before the ground freezes. I plant them in any vacant areas in the beds. Late spring (when the foliage emerges) is when yellow basket-of-gold and brilliant pink creeping phlox start to bloom. Together with the tulips, you will have a charming show which will last a month.

I treat most of my tulips as annuals even though this seems like a waste. They’re removed once they’ve finished blooming because the spaces are needed to plant summer annuals such as impatiens or lobelia erinus and alyssum. One particular gentleman with whom I walked down the aisle all those years ago strongly objects to this waste. “Why are you doing this?” he bleats pathetically. “I would leave them in.” But as Ingrid Bergman said to Walter Matthau in the movie Cactus Flower, 

“You go to your church, I’ll go to mine.”

"Maureen," a sparkling white tulip that is sure to please.

“Maureen,” a sparkling white tulip that is sure to please.

Plant tulips in clumps of 6 or 8–they’ll look more effective. These beauties, the harbinger of spring, will give the gardener much joy and sense of accomplishment.

Darwin tulips, "Golden Parade,"  glorious yellow which will light up your bed in late spring.

Darwin tulips, “Golden Parade,” glorious yellow which will light up your bed in late spring.

Do you have a favorite October/Autumn ritual? Pumpkin spice latte at the corner Starbucks? Visiting the pumpkin patch with the children or their children? Watching a scary movie by the fireside? Share in the comments below!