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Monday, October 29, 2018

Blueberry and Blueroot mix n' match in color only

Here is a chance combination that makes a stunning contrast at this time of year.

Aconitum carmichaelii
The last Aconitum to flower and one of the last flowers of the Fall garden. 
Intoxicating to the eye. Toxic to the touch.

Vaccinium corymbosum
High bush Blueberry

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Beautiful Betula

Our River Birch (Betula nigra) planted primarily to create shade for the patio,

 but also for its eye catching exfoliating bark.

We chose a multi stemmed tree to increase the shade area, currently 36ft in diameter.

After a long growing season of being attacked by caterpillars, leaf miners and various pathogens, the tree will absorb the remaining chlorophyll (green) leaving nothing but the skeletal leaves natural pigment (Fall colour) as they abscise and fall to the ground.

The exfoliating bark exposes the inner layers to sunlight, which in turn allows the tree to photosynthesize on sunny winter days, rids itself of  some parasites, lichen, moss, fungi etc and increases transpiration. All aiding in the speedy growth of this exceptional tree.

As the tree ages, the bark takes on a more normal look,

and becomes almost scaly in maturity.

In March 2018 we had a winter storm of wet heavy snow.

Some of the limbs were bent to the ground, but very few broke and returned to their upright position once the snow load was removed.

To prevent recurrence I cabled the main trunks.

When first planted, to give the 8ft birch (left foreground) a head start I excavated a good cubic yd of the sandy soil and replaced it with a mix of moisture retaining aged horse manure and good quality top soil,

while the proximity of our pond provides a constant supply of water.
(River Birch circled in blue)

So when I tell you the above photo was taken on Dec 21st 2009 and this photo dated Oct 16th 2018, you will understand just how quickly this tree has grown.

Bon appetit

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Last of the Fall Bounty

While the temperature forecast for Wednesday and Thursday evening may not result in a killing frost, it is certainly low enough to gather in the last of the harvest beforehand.

Our Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) have been growing with renewed vigor in the cooler, less humid fall weather.

Every part of the plant above ground is edible, leaves, flowers and seeds.

Commonly known as Nasturtium because they produce an oil similar to watercress (Nasturtium officinale). 

How to store and preserve for the winter, next.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A New Parmelee Farm Wall

We are all set for this weekend's walling workshop. We will be building a low wall to compliment the latest addition to Parmelee Farm.
The Sugar Shack

The original workshop wall from the fall of 2009, built by a group of enthusiastic novices is still standing proud.

Now covered with lichen which gives an appearance of aged permanence.

 The Spring 2010 wall had a Lunkie which sadly was dismantled to make way for the underground electricity lines,

and a stile which is still present. Both walls, with a little expected settling are still like new.

Perhaps this Killingworth wall's longevity is due to the vertical capstones. 

More likely due to the instructors, four of the top ten Dry Stone experts in the country.
From L to R
 Chuck Eblacker
Dan Snow
Brian Fairfield
Andrew Pighills

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Magnolia fall colour

At this time of year, I don't recall our Magnolia soulangeana  being quite so colourful.

The seed pods are many and varied.

Some rather grotesque looking.

A contrast in colour is added as the pods split open to reveal bright red seeds.

Although not as spectacular as individual flowers,

or as a whole.

At this time of year, I'll take colour in the garden wherever I can find it.