This one is for Erika
Thanks to the awful weather here, I spent a lot of today writing new stories and getting caught up on reading stories in Medium.
I read a couple of entrancing pieces by Erika Burkhalter , and got inspired to write one especially for her, sharing some garden stuff from my part of the world (The Great White Frozen North that is Canada), so here you go, Erika.
Our growing season is roughly 5 months. May to September. Anything before May is dicey and anything after September is also dicey. We are in Zone 5 here.
We have two heated birdbaths, one in the front garden and one in the back. It’s plugged in from October until May.
Much as we would like to begin clearing the winter debris early, we are frequently thwarted by late snow or ice storms.
The previous week all the snow had gone and we were enjoying nice spring weather. Then along came a vicious ice storm. This often happens in March. We get a run of exceptionally nice weather which fools everyone (plants too) into thinking winter has done.
Shasta Daisies, Day lilies, Allium, Campenulas, Achillea, Rudbeckia and Purple Cone Flowers jostle for space in the back garden.
I only saw 2 Hummers around the feeder, but on three or four occasions, found woodpeckers having a snack. I looked it up and found out that this is quite common, since both birds - Woodpeckers and Hummingbirds — have long tongues, so are able to drink the nectar from the feeders.
In July the giant Tree Lily begins to flower. It is a hybrid of Oriental and Trumpet lily and is pretty resistant to the destructive and unkillable red lily beetle. It has a wonderful perfume and the hummers love it, as do all the butterflies.
I use the Turtlehead (leafy green plant at the foot of the lily) as a companion plant because something in its roots annoys the red beetle and they tend to avoid areas where it is growing. I also treat the soil around the base of any lilies with Quassia bark. Quassia bark apparently also imparts a nasty flavour to any plant growing in soil where it has been layered.
Provided we do not have an excessively hot July , we will still have colour in August. If it’s too hot, everything dries out and flowers come to an end quickly.
By September various molds and mildews begin to take over and plants like the Phlox and of course the roses, start looking very ratty.
In October, the days are shorter and the night air cooler. We might even get an early frost. Really the only colour we get is from various leaves turning.
By November the weather is turning very hostile and we might even get a snowfall. The tree leaves have begun to fall and the last perennial left flowering is the Nippon Daisy.