I've been so busy this week and haven't had much time to spend outside or post anything on the blog. The weather has certainly cooled off. Within a couple of days we went from 91 degrees with gorgeous blue skies and the purest white clouds to highs around 60 and ugly gray skies that make it look like winter already. We are even expecting patchy frosts over the weekend.
With possible frost in mind, I went out this evening and gathered seeds from the salvia, balloon flowers, purple fountain grass, and dug up the sweet potato vines and its tubers to bring inside. I have been scattering the seeds of other plants like cosmos and echinacea in areas where I need new plants. They seem to come up every year by themselves so I'm hoping new plants will sprout up along the side yard. The liatris, (pictured above), doesn't volunteer as freely for me, but I have had a couple that did, so I am scattering some of that as well and will also collect seeds tomorrow for winter sowing since I forgot to do that today.
I also got a few cuttings of some shrubs that I want to try and root, just for fun. The butterfly bush that I rooted several weeks ago seems to be doing well and is beginning to grow, so I thought I'd try to root two cuttings of lantana and two of the viburnum. A piece of azalea had broken off and I tried to root it, but didn't water it faithfully and it died. I may try another cutting of it too. I'm not sure where I will put all of the things I want to grow and over winter, since I have limited space, but I'll squeeze in as much as I can. I love gardening in the winter as I anticipate spring.
I have so much to do to prepare for winter. I didn't finish the mulching and hope to get that done tomorrow. We have a hole in the front yard where we have had two large Colorado Blue spruces to die. The nursery guaranteed and replaced the first one but they didn't replace the second. That was a huge disappointment to me not only because I love those trees, but it was quite an expensive tree especially since we payed half of the cost of the tree for delivery and planting charges. That one hurts when I think about it. Anyway, I have been waiting until it cooled off to plant another tree. Hopefully that will be done tomorrow if I can find a tree small enough to fit in my SUV that I like. We talked about renting a truck for the day, and may have to do that to get a larger tree that we like. We have decided that we will not plant any more really large trees from nurseries, because not one of the ten we bought have done well. I think the smaller trees have an easier time acclimating and adjusting to the root disturbance, at least this has been our experience.
I'm not sure what kind of tree to get. I know I don't want one that the Japanese beetles like, (crabapple or birch). I don't want another Colorado blue spruce since they obviously don't like that location. I have several maples for fall color already, and I have several ornamental pears, (Cleveland and Bradford). Maybe I'll find something different at the nursery, or more likely than not, I'll find another Bradford pear tree. They grow fast, have nice flowers in the spring, and I like their shape, which will fit nicely in that spot.