Sunday, October 4, 2009

Autumn and October Bring ...

October has always been a favorite month for me. I chose to get married in October when the temps were cooler and the sun cast a soft warm glow on all below. As much as I like spring and the soft pastel colors, autumnal colors give me a warm and cosy feeling. The golden yellows, brilliant oranges and the glowing hues of maroons on the trees signal a time of rest is coming.

And I, for one, am more than ready for a rest-from the garden and from the hectic pace of summer. Hooray for cold rainy, snowy days where I can sit by the fireplace and drink hot chocolate, read gardening blogs and out my feet up.

The garden is winding down, but a few flowers are making their first appearance. This toad lily, while very small yet, is a glorious new addition to the garden this year. It is surprising how the blooms start at the top and open down the stem at each junction between the stem and leaves.

The native Aster that I bought early this spring is beautiful with it's purple petals and golden center and more than lived up to expectations.

Next year I will have to remember to stake it as it now looks more like a ground cover. :)

This cosmos must have taken a cue from the aster-it is also happily blooming on the ground. More staking is needed! Actually, both these plants and a few others suffered wind damage early in the summer and no amount of coaxing could make them stand tall again.

While most plants in the garden are experiencing their last hurrahs, this transplanted cone flower is just beginning to bud. I love the light in this photo.

Another sure sign of fall in the garden is the spider webs. At least in my garden they can be found in abundance. I do NOT like spiders! But having said that, as long as they stay outside and kill bad bugs, I will leave them alone. I have put them on warning though. Come into the house and I will not be held responsible for my actions!

Some of the containers are still looking great. These purple Calibrachoa have been one of my favorite containers this year. I will be planting more of these next year-they were very low maintenance and only required a little water now and then.

Another sure plant for next year are these cherry Profusion Zinnias. I had 5 plants left after doing my containers and stuck these in the ground next to the raised landscaping timbers. With purple wave petunias on either end, this has been a favorite spot in the garden.

With the arrival of fall, there are certain rituals that must be observed. One is making floats for the Homecoming Parade before the big football game. Our 2nd granddaughter is a sophomore this year and asked if we would help on one of the nights they were putting together their class float.

I won't admit here how many years it has been since I last worked on a float, but was pleasantly surprised at the enthusiasm and work ethic of the many who showed up to help.

Parents and the kids were all willing to do what ever to get this float built in a short 4 nights. Here, the girls are rolling squares of tissue paper to be glued to cardboard signs.

This is where I spent most of my night-gluing the balls on. I was so pleased that our granddaughter thought us cool enough to meet and work with her friends. Their float came in 2nd overall and first in originality.

Another must-be-observed-ritual...

Visiting the pumpkin patch!

This weekend we loaded up 5 of the grandgirls and on a cold, windy, rainy afternoon made our trip to the local patch. We let them pick out their own and load them into their wagons-for the most part they even pulled their own wagons.

The 2 older ones picked pumpkins weighing 46 and 51 pounds!

This one weighed in at 43 pounds. She also pick a swan necked gourd.

The youngest wanted this one, but was content to just have her picture taken beside it.

Papa supervised the wagon train back to the barn so we could pay for our prized pumpkins. They are being used as decorations around our gardens now, but in a couple of weeks we will be doing some carvings. Be warned-photos of their creations will appear on this blog!
After 3 weeks of having hubby at home and learning to deal with his just diagnosed diabetes, he is back to work and the house is mine again. :) He had a Dr. appointment on the first day of his vacation-we were pretty sure of the outcome and that is why he decided to take some time off. We have both been learning how to eat and cook to satisfy his dietary needs. He has done really well and I am very proud of him. He has been walking each evening and plans to keep that up even though with his job of driving a truck will make that a challenge. Also a challenge will be eating on the road and eating on time. I am fairly confident that with the food we packed and the menus I sent he will be able to do it. He is just stubborn( determined) enough to make this work. :)
Have a great fall gardening week!


Susie said...

So glad to see a post from you Beckie. I can't believe how great your flowers still look. Mine gave up the fight a long time ago. But I have to admit I have that same aster blooming too.

We've already been selling pumpkins at the nursery for 2 weeks. I'm already tired of looking at them.

Have a great week my friend.

Teresa said...

I enjoyed reading your post. You are so lucky to have so many grandchildren that seem to live so close by you. I love that your granddaughter invited you to help on the float. Your gardens are lovely and still looking great. I have to agree that although I will miss my gardens throughout winter, I do look forward to those winter "rituals" as you called them.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...


I am so glad your husband has such a good attitude about taking care of his health...making a change in habits can be hard, but with the right attitude, it is soooooo much easier.

Your Toad Lily is beautiful--so striking! Love the Asters too. They are such a big part of Fall--almost as much as a big Jack-O-Lantern!

Wonderful memory makers--hunting for that perfect 'Punkin' and helping with Homecoming Floats. What fun blessings to be cherished.

azplantlady said...

Hello. Isn't it wonderful how even though things slow down in the garden, nature still hasn't finished with it's show of beautiful leaves and flowers. Thank you very much for sharing.

beckie said...

Susie, it's been a hectic time here-again. :) I've missed blogging and keeping yup with all my friends.

This aster is really something. So a good bloomer. They say it was a great year for pumpkins and we have a bumper crop of them. I have also seen them at nurseries for a couple of weeks.

Hope to be able to keep more in touch now. You take care and have a good week too. :)

Teresa, thanks for visiting! I have 7 granddaughters that all live close. They are such a joy to us. The gardens do look fairly good for as little care as I have been giving them lately. Too many bugs and no time, so I am grateful.

Winter is also a 'rest' time for me as well as the garden. :)

beckie said...

Morning Glory, Hubby is doing great and trying so hard. We both love to eat all those no-no foods, but are trying to find healthy alternatives.

I first saw a toad lily on someone;s blog and knew I had to have one. Although the blooms are small, they are beautiful.

Time spent with the girls is so precious to us. I think we enjoy these times more than they do. :)

Azplantlady. welcome! Yes it is amazing how the garden keeps blooming right up to frost. And even though a lot of flowers are long gone, the garden puts forth such an effort to stay gorgeous. And don't you just love nature's swan song-all the glorious colors on the trees. :)

garden girl said...

What a wonderful, newsy post Beckie! Sounds like life has been very busy. Wow, those pumpkins are huge, and beautiful. It's been pretty chilly this summer up here for pumpkins, and I haven't seen nearly as many big ones as you have there. It's amazing what a difference a couple of hours south makes.

You still have so many pretty things blooming in the garden. I love the toad lilies, and the color of that aster is just gorgeous.

Good for you and your husband doing all you can to take care of your health. Diabetes can sure be a challenge. I'm glad he's doing well. Have a wonderful week!

Frances said...

Hi Beckie, so much good stuff in this post! First, I am so glad to hear you and hubby are committed to the new diet and he is stubborn enought to stick with it! Stubbornness is way underrated! The flowers are still beautiful, I need to add some of the little zinnias next year, they are real workhorses. The float work, and you are certainly cool!, looked like to much fun too. The pumpkin patch is great, how funny the little girls wanted big pumpkins. We tried to get one for our youngest grand this weekend, but he wanted a little red one, he said, and would accept no substitutes so we went away empty handed. Talk about stubborn! HA Happy fall to you Beckie, a great season. :-)

tina said...

Happy Anniversary to you Beckie. And with the diabetes diet and medicine will go a LONG way in keeping your husband healthy. It is an awful disease for sure. Congrats on second place on the float!

Cheryl said...

Hi Beckie....My father has been a diabetic for fifteen years now. Like hubby he has learnt how to deal with it. It takes time but sure all will be well.......

Love your toad lily....what a pretty bloom....definately my sort of flower......

My asters and cosmos are bowing to me....I must confess to liking their wayward style....but must support them next year. Your containers have done well and are surprisingly so must have tended them well....

I love the pumpkin patch and the grands......such a lovely thing to do, I almost wished I could be with you all. I am sure I would have much fun and laughter with your bunch......

Good to see you are very much missed, but I am sure you know that.......

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You have been so busy Beckie. What fun that your grands keep you in the loop. I am glad to hear that Papa is feeling better and getting things under control. I wish you both the best. Your garden has so much color this time of year a delight to see.

Rose said...

Beckie, your garden is still looking good! I can attest to the Profusion zinnias and the callibrocha blooming profusely in your garden--they were amazing when I saw them. My cosmos and aster stayed upright for the most part, but maybe just because they were planted in such a jam-packed place they had no room to fall:) I had an orb spider just like yours--the grandsons thought it was "cool."

How neat that Granddaughter invited you to help with the Homecoming float! Didn't that bring back memories? I'm sure she was very proud as well as pleased to have the two of you there to help.

I loved all the pumpkin patch photos! This is one of the rituals of October I've always far the only "hunting" I've done was to pick out some at the IGA with Em:)

And I can't believe you said you're ready for "snowy days"--we'll remind you of that in January!

Roses and Lilacs said...

I love visiting the pumpkin patches and apple orchards with kids. Their excitement is contagious.

Eating better is something I'm trying to do too. It is so easy to just pick up deli...hard habits to break.

Naturegirl said...

Beckie: What fun in the images of the pumpkin patch! Nothing like visiting the patch with children..they make the experience so exciting!
Oh my how unique and gorgeous is that toad lily!!
Best wishes to dear hubby in his diet change towards health and wellness..I know it's hard but little changes one at a time will make a world of differnece in how he hard to be on the road and make good food choices..hugs

joey said...

Always a joy to catch up with you, dear Beckie. If you are like me, I pinched myself turning over the calendar page to October. But your offerings are delightful (don't you just love your litte toad lily faces). How fun to build a float with your granddaughter ... we did that growing up ... then romping through the pumpkin patch with your younger grandchildren ... lasting memories! I'm cheering you on, proud that you and hubby are doing well with diet and exercise, committed to a new way of life. Big Punkin' Hugs!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Your fall flower photos are wonderful with such vibrant colors. My Cosmos are also under they impression that they are groundcover plants. I'm trying to prop them up with chunks of concrete.
I love October too, and one of the best things about it is pumpkins. It looks like you all had a great time and made some memories out there.

beckie said...

Linda, it's supposed to frost here towards the end of the week and I am afraid these are the last few days of my garden looking good. But it's done a great job all summer. They say the pumpkins have done exceptionally well here this year.

Frances, I agree stubborness is under rated-most of the time any way. :) Around here hey sell 'apple' gourds that are painted red and they are as big as a small pumpkin. Maybe you can find your grandson one of those and get the real deal for yourselves. Hope you are having a good fall too!

Carol said...

Don't wish for winter too soon, we want fall to last as long as possible, don't we?

And this was such a nice update, and reminded me of my high school days helping with the class float. Fun times!

I can't wait to see those pumpkins after you all have carved them.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

beckie said...

Cheryl, I love the toad lilies with their spotted faces. I wish I could send you one. Maybe they can be grown from seed. I will try to collect some for you.

Hubby is so determined to do this right. I know he wants to feel better so he can keep up with the grands.
We have such a good time with them and hope we are making some wonderful memories for them. They are so precious and only little for such a short time. :)

beckie said...

Lisa, the girls have always been pretty good about staying in touch and wanting to spend time with us. I am so glad-it's hard to see them grow up. I want them to stay little forever-well not really, but you know what I mean.

I am happy with the garden this year and the fall color especially. Last year I just had a few mums this late. Have a great week! :)

beckie said...

Tina, thanks! working on the float was lots of fun. Hubby knows how important the meds are and that he has to eat better. We want him ariubd for a long time yet. :)

Rose, working on the float did bring back memories. Hubby and I talked about them all the way home that night. Nice to revisit those carefree times.

The girls thought our spider pretty neat, but didn't get too close. We enjoyed the pumpkin patch and watching the girls pick just the right pumpkin. Of course we had to search the whole 3 acres of pumpkins!

beckie said...

Marnie, yes kids are great to take to pumpkin patches and apple orchards. They do enjoy life so.

Greasy cheeseburgers are hubby's downfall. But it's a pretty safe bet in a truck stop. :( He is starting to like grilled chicken and has always loved veggies. So I have high hopes for him.

Anna, I just had to share the pumpkin experience-the girls (and us) had such fun and were so proud of their choices.

Hubby is strating to feel better after just 3 weeks. I know that's enough to keep him motivated for a while. And when he steps on the scale at his next Dr. appointment, he should really feel good about himself. I can see a weight loss on him already.

beckie said...

Joey, thanks for the 'punkin hug' and right back to you! This year has flown by, but I have always heard the older you get the quicker time goes by. :)

We do enjoy the grand girls and taking them on little adventures. They bring such joy to Papa and me.
We are doing pretty well with our new eating habits-but I confess it is easier when he is here. I tend to snack when he is not home. :( Have a great fall dear Joey!

MMD The comos must have all conspried to grow so tall this year that they had to lay down. But they sure did a wonderful job of blooming all season long.

Fall and pumpkins just go together don't they? And of course so do apples and cider and hot chocolate...well you know!!

beckie said...

Carol, if I could have a snow day and still keep the garden, I would take it. I love it when the snow piles up and I am inside with a roaring fire. But, That will come soon enough I guess. :)

I plant to have help in supervising the carving of he pumpkins. And lots of paper towels for the mess. But that's what grandmas are for-cleaning up the mess and not caring about it.

Gail said...

Beckie, I am glad to be reading your autumn post! It will be fun to sit by a fire, relax and have a hot drink...I am sorry to here that your husband has been diagnosed with diabetes...but so very glad he has it under control with plans for diet and walking. Life style changes are in the works for most of us over 55! Congrats on Second place! Love the [oses of your cutie pie grandkids! have a great week~~gail

Wendy said...

Hi Beckie, well another summer is gone and autumn here with fall flowers and pumpkin patches. Can you believe? Time has a way of flying by! Your grandgirls are looking bigger, must have aged bit since last time. Guess that happens when you're not looking. LOL!

Your pumpkin patch pics are a treasure. Funny, my daughter and I went with her two children to pick apples today. And we saw the pumpkins growing in the fields. Did not pick any as we had our hands full of apples.

Your toad lily is really unusual. I like it! And your gardens still look lovely. I do a lot of container gardening. Works well.

Hugs and hugs to hubby. If he is determined, he will do well. It is hard to be diagnosed with diabetes at this stage of life, just when things were getting comfortable. But, I am sure with your good and healthy cooking, he will feel better.
So, put your feet up, get out the hot cocoa and let's all enjoy a cup together to celebrate autumn!

beckie said...

Wendy, time does seem to slip by doesn't it? Seems like just a few weeks ago we were celebrating the arrival of spring. :)

Picking apples is fun to do with kids too. I know my girls always enjoyed it and the applesauce etc. we made form them. I will have to try to take the garnds before it gets too cold.

Thanks for all your well wishes about hubby. Maybe both of us can benefit from this. I know I need to eat a more balanced diet. When he is gome, I snack a lot. So will have to do better to keep up with him.

Have a great fall!

Mountain Mama said...

Wonderful pictures!! I loved seeing the Grand Girls in the pumpkin patch. Oh what fun for all of you, making precious memories.

Like you I am looking forward to a restful late autumn and winter. By this time of year I am so weary of all the outside work that I can barely make myself keep at it. (in fact, I don't) Just the same I hate to see summer go. I seems like we had a short summer.
Today the sun is warm and shining on all the lovely fall colors of the trees.

I have seen toad lilies in photos but don't remember seeing one the color of yours. It is sure an interesting flower. I enlarged it and saw the inner petals and the little dew-drop like appendages on them. How cute!!

Kathleen said...

Hi Beckie. I just spent some time catching up on your blog. You're always so busy. Working on the float sounds like fun to me. Your garden is still so pretty. I'm not as keen as you on looking forward to cold snowy days but it will be nice to take a break. Too funny how your granddaughters picked the huge pumpkins. I thought I bought a big one at 35 lbs but yours totally have that beat!
Good luck adjusting to the diabetes diet. It is hard to change habits but being stubborn will help that.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Beckie, How fun to see your grands again, in blog form! I love the photos. (And, yes, it's always cool when kids think you're cool enough to hang out with their friends!) October has always been my favorite month, too, and fall my favorite season. I wish I had an October birthday instead of a dreary dank bleak November one! I've been really slow in posting and have not forgotten my lovely visit... it will just be winter before I'm likely to edit and download all the photos! Happy fall!!!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I forgot to mention, I love the toad lily! Also, one of my rudbeckie is juuuuust starting to bloom.

perennialgardener said...

October is an exciting time in your area, no signs of fall color here yet. But it won't be long. What a great tradition to share with the grandchildren (the visit to the pumpkin patch). ;)

MA said...

Love that you were working on a FLOAT!!! and the punkin' patch is cool too.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Beautiful fall photos, October is my favorite month. My flowers had been bitten by Jack Frost, even the mums and asters.

Looks like a great time was had by all at the pumpkin patch!

Aiyana said...

October is also my favorite month, but only the second half, when we are finally past the extreme temps. We don't get the beautiful foliage that other climates enjoy, but having decent weather is good enough!

Nishant said...

We've already been selling pumpkins at the nursery for 2 weeks. I'm already tired of looking at them.

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