The colourful foliage this time of year is hard to beat, one of the reasons fall is the favourite season for many. The burning bush in my neighbour’s garden is absolutely gorgeous this year.
Temperature, moisture levels and the amount of sunlight dictate just how colourful the foliage becomes. Apparently, the vivid colours on the deciduous trees and my neighbour’s burning bush can be attributed to the wet growing season we had as well as the cool nights and warm days this fall. The scientific explanation involves fancy words like:
xanthophyll (yellow pigment)
carotenoids (orange pigment)
anthocyanins (red and purple pigment formed by sugar trapped in the leaves)
chlorophyll (green colour)
abscission layer (when nights get cooler, this layer forms blocking chlorophyll from entering the leaves, so other colours are visible)
Also (still) looking good, along with the burning bush, are some of the containers I planted this season. We have had a few frosty nights, but nothing severe enough to slow these beauties down:
As long as this nice weather continues I just may get all my gardens put to bed this week!
Yes, I know, I said fabulous fall. Last year I posted about how fall is not my favourite season and provided a (quite short) list of things I like about it. Well, this year I have come up with a few more things to expand my list. I grudgingly have to admit that fabulous fall does boast these advantages, over and above the gloriously colourful foliage of course. The incredible display of colour always seems to be at the top of every fall lover’s list, at least here in the north.
I love opening the windows in the house to let the breeze cool and refresh the air, but my husband and the only son left living at home prefer the AC. We have arguments every summer over canned air versus fresh air. My argument is that fresh air is free, not to mention it lacks the feel of an arctic blast!
Our AC lowers our home temperature to 18 degrees (Celsius) overnight to prevent them from getting too warm when they sleep. I too like the lower temperatures to sleep, but not during the day. I absolutely hate when it’s too cold in the house in the summer. Somehow wearing a sweater in the summer (when it’s sunny and hot outside) does not feel right. As a compromise, I set the temperature to a liveable 22 degrees during the day.
So, when the nights are cooler (less than 18 degrees), I win with the open-windows method of air conditioning at night. And during the day too if the temperature stays below 22 degrees.
Great Gardening Weather
In my gardening business, fabulous fall probably (spring is close too) provides the most productive days. In the hot summer months, I have to get started quite early in the day to avoid the overwhelming temperatures and humidity that slow me down. These (fabulous fall) days I can work longer hours, although some mornings are quite nippy so I wait until it warms up a bit.
When my children were younger I used to bake much more frequently. In fact, I used to spend hours making and decorating their birthday cakes, until they were old enough to graduate to Dairy Queen ice cream cakes.
Now that my grandchildren are old enough to help (sort of) and appreciate freshly baked goodies, I am getting reacquainted with the fine art of baking. Although my 2.5-year-old grandson is a little too exuberant with the buttons on my mixer. Our last batch of blueberry and banana muffins were pretty tough, not to mention greenish in colour. Blue and yellow do make green, if you mix the colours enough (excessively). Folding the blueberries into the batter at the end was not his idea of fun.
These are my latest creations, made for my granddaughter’s 6th birthday…
My neighbour helps with the decorating ideas, she is the most talented decorator with unparalleled artistic imagination. She bakes to fundraise on National Cupcake Day supporting Sit With MeShelter Dog Rescue. Check out the link to support the cause, at any time of the year. If you live in the Ottawa area and would like to sample some of her incredible creations while supporting the dogs, let me know. I will send you the link to her next event. Here are a few examples of her talent…
Incredible Deals at Garden Centers
Fabulous fall is the best time to find great bargains on perennial plants, trees and shrubs to spruce (pun intended) up your (and mine) gardens. The deals are especially awesome at locations where their garden centers are seasonal; Canadian Tire is a great example. Some of the plants may look a little sad and bedraggled, but the beauty of perennials is that they come back bigger and better each year.
Fabulous fall is also the best time to plant or move perennials, shrubs, and trees. As long as you do it NOW, (in my area) at least six weeks before the ground freezes. This will allow for the roots of whatever you are planting to settle in for the winter before they are assaulted with the looming cold weather.
Fewer Bugs at the Cottage
The bugs (mosquitoes, black flies, and horse/deer flies) seem to disappear this time of year at the cottage. They were brutal earlier, from April right through to August, making it difficult to get any work done outdoors. We can finally sit around a campfire without getting eaten alive.
Cheers to a fabulous fall, may it last a long time…
One of the best things about fall (autumn) is the glorious sunflowers that seem to sprout up so quickly this time of year. Fall is probably my least favourite season, with spring being favourite, but I do like the cheerful sunflowers. That’s why I renamed fall sunflower season. Few flowers have the dramatic showmanship of sunflowers. Tall, (there are short varieties too), sturdy, brightly coloured, and easy to grow, sunflowers are spectacular.
This past spring I planted a variety of sunflower seeds with my grandchildren. You can start some inside before your last frost date, or wait and plant seeds directly in soil outdoors. We planted some in pots on the back deck and a few in my front garden. I also plant lots in the gardens I tend to.
Sunflowers are annuals here in zone 4/5, meaning they have to be planted each spring. Some do self-seed if the squirrels don’t devour all the seeds dropped from the flowers in late fall. Squirrels will jump right onto the plants if they are located too close to a fence, tree, or any other scalable surface. Choose your location wisely when planting them, unless you don’t mind the entertainment provided by the perseverant squirrels.
This orange beauty was one of my favourites, different from the typical yellow sunflower: