Six On Saturday — September 28

I’m back after another full month away and joining in again with the Six on Saturday gardening fans, led by The Propagator in the U.K. I hope to summarize September with this post to make up for a month’s absence, so prepare for a lengthy read!

ONE – The signs of early fall in the garden can’t be denied. Two of autumn’s A-List blooms, asters and anemones, are gorgeous right now throughout Coppertop.

TWO – September has been a month of abundant vegetable harvests. In addition to the varieties of veggies shown below, the lettuces, broccoli, eggplants, kale, and onions have produced well this month. Next week I really need to finish digging over 20 pounds of carrots. Yikes.

THREE – Not to be outdone by the vegetables, our September fruit crops have been delicious. Plums, pears, and these raspberries are the highlights, while it’s been a sorry year for apples. I’m hopeful that heavier-than-usual rains will abate, leaving us the rest of these juicy berries.

FOUR – I neglected to mention two new additions we planted back in June. Young Hydrangea paniculatas have approached their full beauty this month as their tones deepen. One is ‘Rensun’ or Strawberry Sundae, and the other is ‘Wim’s Red’ or Fire & Ice. These are fabulous in vases.

FIVEDahlias sit atop the September A-List blooms, in my book. They’ve been popping open daily for the past two months with many more to come.

SIX – I’ll end with news of a big project. Inspired by the success of our new rose garden, we took the plunge to re-do another large garden area. The 20×30′ plot is an area we’ve called Lupine Hill and is bordered on one side by beautiful lilacs. The slope had become overgrown with weeds these past few years, including way too much Achillea millefolium (yarrow), Centaurea montana (perennial cornflower), and my personal nemesis, Ranunculus repens (creeping buttercup).

This summer, we dug out all the plants we wanted to save, from lupines to astrantia to veronica, and I potted them up. Then in order to kill off the weeds without chemicals, we covered the entire slope with the poly sheeting I use each winter to create low tunnels in the veggie garden. Although it certainly wasn’t one of our hottest summers on record, solarization did the majority of the work it was meant to do. We removed the poly a couple weeks ago. Hubby finished digging out stubborn weeds while I removed many bucketfuls of large stones. Plenty of worms and beneficial bugs were visible, in case anyone worries that we killed them off with the plastic! We’ve been adding back four cubic yards of compost to the hill. Next we’ll add back the plants along with some fun, new, easy-care perennials and shrubs, then top it all with a few inches of arborist chip mulch. One key to keeping this new bed and the rose garden free from creeping buttercup and creeping lawn is the newly-dug, deep edging — a beast of a project in its own right.

Below is the bed, looking fresh and ready to be planted. The lupines can’t wait to get out of their pots and move back home. The empty canvas makes me drool.