Autumnal Bliss in the Nation’s Capitol….unexplainable beauty

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I am a native Washingtonian and there is just something about DC that tourists miss.  It happens every year, changing its appearance daily and beckons those who make time to simply pause….to savor the moment.  My friends, it is autumnal bliss in DC…and oh what visions of beauty surround us!

The pied piper of fall started at the Nations Capitol and brushed it with a pot of gold….

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He then darted about touching this and that, leaving a bit of green, shades of brown and splashes of reds.  What a character this seasonal artist is, never an identical stroke, just colorful whimsy…here and there…

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Today it was different, things once green, lush and prolifically blooming, are gently lowering their eyes, resting their leaves of green and settling in for a bit of seasonal rest, prior to another show stopping season next Spring.
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What a terrific time of the year to gather ideas from public gardens and spaces.  Utilizing some of the ideas found around us for public viewing pleasure just might excite you, cause a stir and cause you to try something new.  This is also a great time of year to assess your perennial to annual planting ratio and style.  If you only have an abundance of colorful interest during the summer months, research and explore what you might try to add three or four season interest.
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Make a few moments – not take as you already have them – and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you, right in Our National’s Capitol, right on the National Mall….our Front Yard!!!  I hear there is even a fall show in a neighborhood near you!
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Enjoying the beauty that surrounds me!

Saturday morning in my garden

One of my favorite past times of an autumn weekend is waking up and running to the window  to see my garden in the early morning light.  During the week, I do not have that luxury.  It is dark when I leave and dusk when I return home.  The many colors of fall, right in my own backyard are simply amazing.  The crepe myrtle has a cloak of many colors…

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A hydrangea that sat all summer, green as could be, finally bloomed…

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Sedum, a perennial that never fails me, stands regally on her throne…

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Roses, high hips brightening up a landscape of greens and shades of brown…

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The Japanese Maple……oh the glorious shades speak to the changing temperatures…..

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The Oakleaf, another faithful garden buddy donning her autumnal dress…….

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Shades of the season…..oh the joys of a weekend morning in my garden…..

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Enjoying the anticipation of continued bloom as the garden heads to rest after a wonderful season ……

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Listen to the season change as the leaves drop….a peaceful kind of music……..enjoy !

Not just another Thursday…..

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I came to work reading about Helianthus angustifolius….and thought that was a terrific morning.  However, I arrived at work and was gifted with this!!  Another morning of mentally at the Philadelphia Flower Show taking part in the floral arranging competition….in my mind.

Momma said there would be days like this…..

Appreciating the beauty that surrounds me……..

If You Want to Grow a Healthy African American Kitchen Garden–Here are Your Marching Orders

Teri:

Michael Twitty has once again embraced connecting with the land and growing what we knew to be healthy..check out his words and reconnect with the Earth….

Originally posted on Afroculinaria:

Climate change is real.  While we are still on land we need to figure out how to use this warm spell this year to our advantage.  You might just get eight months of reasonably warm or frost-free temperatures if you are not living in those coastal extremities that favor 8-12 months per year of growing time.

A Spring Meal--Lumper Potatoes Included

A lot of you have written to me concerning healthier eating and heirloom vegetable gardening, etc.  Let me say this first–in the African, African Diaspora and African American cultural traditions have long embraced the kitchen garden as an essential piece of daily life.  Don’t let the new crop of food advocates and activists fool you–this is a tradition that our Ancestors established, cultivated and fought for…Before anyone ever heard of a Victory Garden we had our truck and huck patches, which served as a means of cultural, economic and social power in the…

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Noticing the season that is upon us…………..

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What a glorious Tuesday evening, with a gentle, chilly rain tapping on my windows.  It is amazing that the guests in my garden who were looking a bit droopy, simply stood at attention as if to say Thank You to the Heavens.  I decided to venture out and see exactly what I could trim back without making my garden look naked just yet.  When you have a cottage garden, the organized jumble that I find beautiful, is meant
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Oh what a beautiful day!

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I started my day off at PAUL MAISON DE QUALITE…..was crazy busy at work and all I can think about is CLEAN UP GREEN UP on October 18th in District Heights, MD. AND Open Garden Day …an opportunity to visit some very special gardens in the DMV.   This is my kind of day… 

Beauty Berry…and WOW ..YOU CAN GROW THAT!

Callicarpa Americana …Callicarpa japonica…….I have to catch my breath after uttering these words.  This shrub takes my breath away every time I see it in it’s autumn splendor.

  
Used by Native American Indians for medicinal purposes, this native shrub has an interesting history.  Multiple parts of this shrub were boiled and used in sweat baths to treat rheumatism, colic, itchy skin,certain types of malaria and numerous other diseases.  Many birds and animals also cherish the stem, leaves and berries as a food source. We tend to appreciate Beautyberry shrubs for their ornamental flowers in the Spring and the fruit clusters in the fall.  It is a beautiful way to remember fall, while providing food for wildlife during the winter months.  
Callicarpa usually ranges from about 3 – 6 feet in height, but can take a heavy pruning in late winter to control its growth.It blooms from late spring to early summer with pinkish or violet blossom that are inconspicuously held in clusters along the stem.  The difference between the two species is mostly in the branching.  The Americana holds its fruit on long stems away from the main branch.  Japonica or the Japanese Callicarpa has long skinny leafed, weeping branches and the fruit is held in clusters all along the stem.  To some, these shrubs also have an aromatic hay like scent. This makes it a phenomenal statement in the landscape.
Mostly found in thickets from Maryland to Florida.  It loves dry, open wooded areas and is adaptable to humid summers and moderate winters.  
Japonica – narrow leaves and weeping form
Callicarpa Americana – larger berries and longer branches…simply stunning in the landscape!!

Callicarpa ………..it is a wonderful shrub to invite into your garden…..YOU CAN GROW THAT!!!

Bulbs…………..they are easier than you think!!

Usually at this time of the year, as I am prepping my garden for fall, I wander into my garden room and find bulbs that I have tucked away.  Last year I went to Clyburn Arboretum (a must see if you re into the beauty that surrounds you!!) in Baltimore and happened upon their bulb sale.  The tulip and daffodil display that dotted the landscape was phenomenal, so I had to purchase some bulbs to support their ongoing educational opportunities.

Although the tags have now faded, so exactly what cultivars I have, well I am not quite sure – but most are still firm and some even have bulb-lets……

As with most gardeners, early Spring got away from me and therefore, I did not store them properly…however 98% survival is not bad.

So let’s talk about how simple it is to have an outstanding bulb display in your garden.  If you have bulbs from last season and they were stored in a clean and dry spot you are fortunate.  Improper storage of bulbs can lead to rotting and sometimes total disintegration.  Nothing like thinking that a package of bulbs is viable when there is merely a shell with nothing inside.  Gently squeeze any bulbs for firmness.  If all is lost there are many resources where fresh bulbs can be purchased.  If you mail order, use reputable resources for quality bulbs.  I highly recommend Brent and Becky’s for mail order.  Don’t forget your local small garden centers, without our support, they will surely disappear.

Deciding where you will plant the bulbs is your next most important step. On the back of packaged bulbs there is usually a guide to tell what lighting is needed, how deep, soil requirements, bloom time, etc.  These are written to ensure optimum growth and bloom.

I had my heart set on the taller snowdrops.  The botanical name is Leucojum aestivum. I purchased these at my local garden center Ginkgo Gardens on Capitol Hill. I have also ordered some but I believe in supporting local first.  Considered o be Giant Snowdrops, these bulbs have many of the attributes that I was looking for – they naturalize, deer resistant, late blooming, 14 – 16 inches tall, great for containers and great for rock gardens.

They are recommended to be planted at 5 inches deep and 12 bulbs per square foot.  These bulbs , also known as Summer Snowflakes require well drained soil, full sun to partial shade and definitely should be considered a must have for the garden.  The smaller, earlier blooming snowflakes – Galanthus Nivalis – are sometimes missed due to snowfall depth  or just too cold to linger in the garden to notice them.

Fall is also the right time to plant summer bulbs like lilies.  I marveled at a friend’s tree lillies offered by Breck’s. Mary Alice gifted me with a box this year and I will be putting them in as soon as possible.  These tree lillies stand taller than me and I am five foot, eight inches tall.  They are healthy and when they bloom, simply light up the garden.  Once again, the packaging inside gave me all the information that I need to ensure optimum success.  My box included red, purple, white and a golden yellow with names like Satisfaction and Garden Treasure..  Yes I am just too excited about the possibilities of them in next year’s garden.

So I suggest that while you are looking at the gaps in your garden or remembering all the fantabulous bulb displays of last Spring,, think about planting some bulbs.  YOU WILL BE GLAD YOU DID!!!

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