Not a lot of garden news -- rain rain rain, every day. I'm not complaining about that; in fact I love fall, madly, almost to the exclusion of all other seasons. Sweatshirt and apple weather, with its memory of childhood football games in the college towns I grew up in, the crunch of leaves underfoot, woodsmoke beginning to curl through the evening air... It's soup-making season, time to anticipate curling up on the sofa with the cats and the gardening catalogs, planning out my forays for the spring.
So here in Seattle, it's raining, most of the time. Wettest, grayest September of the last five years, it seems like. I took out the first of the tomato plants this weekend - the black cherokee produced three huge, mottled, purply tomatoes which were mouthwateringly sweet, then three rotted ones, then it rotted up itself and died. I cut it out on Sunday and was sorry to do so - tomatoes are the main reason I garden, and when the first plant comes out I must acknowledge that I'm not going to have fresh tomatoes for much longer. The cherries are still producing, though, as are the lemon boys and the medium-sized red ones whose name I've forgotten.
There was the lightest hint of a frost on the grass today when I left the house. Not real frost, of course -- too early for that -- but a precursor of frost, a pre-mortem of my garden's denuouement in four weeks or so. We've turned on the heater and taken out some of the screen inserts in windows around the house. I can occasionally see my breath in the mornings or late at night. It won't be long until it's time to mulch and lay things to rest.
I'm looking forward to it, and to planning next year's garden. Or gardens. I just signed up for a P-Patch at one of Seattle's local community gardens. There's one just down the road that appeared to have space free when I walked through it a few weeks ago, so I'm hoping I can get in. This will give me room for the big rambling stuff I can't really fit in my yard -- zucchini, pumpkins, bean towers, big huge dahlias, maybe some corn. My friend Jacki may garden it with me. It'd be nice to share the planning this winter and some of the heavy watering next summer.
Everything that's left in the yard is enjoying the rain very much - the Queen Elizabeth rose has burst into yet another round of exuberant bloom (show off!) and the Sceptre'd Isle rose, it's quieter cousin, is about to rebloom as well. The lavender hedges are blooming anew. Nearly all the sunflowers are out - the latest arrival is one dark red Chianti species. The new seed dahlias have settled in happily into the old vegetable bed, and out front, the parking strips are yet again a veritable jungle of weeds. Craziness. How do people keep up with this?
Is it just that the parking strips used to be grass forests? None of the other beds disappear under weeds after a week or so of rain - they get little infestations but nothing I can't keep up with. The parking strips nearly disappear every time it rains for more than 48 hours. I'd leave it but my parents are coming in a week or so and I was hoping things would look nice when they did. They haven't seen it since last year when it was untouched by the hand of man. But it looks unlikely that I'll get through it in time.
One final note - a year ago this very day, I was marrying the best guy in the world. The year has flown by, and I still feel lucky every day:
And because it's vaguely gardening-related, here are the beautiful flowers we had on our tables - dahlias, persimmons, hydrangeas, edible grapes, dark red roses, rosemary, and sage: