Observations in October
No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one autumnal face.
Autumn, to me, is one of the best times of year. It is not only because I live in New England, where the colorful hues of changing leaves blend to make a delightful tapestry in the landscape. Rather, this time of final harvest is the time to look back on the spring and summer seasons and evaluate the year's successes and failures in the garden. While tidying up herb beds and securing all for the winter, it's a great time to reflect and also to look ahead and plan for the next growing season. The seed and plant catalogs have started to arrive, and I hope to spend many an enjoyable hour plotting out next year's plantings. There's a lot to do, but this seems to be a slowing down time as we head towards the end of the year.
This spring, I started a "Winged Wonders" garden. I wanted to include plants that would attract butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and other beneficial insects. Plants were moved here from other parts of the garden, and new plants were added. The dill I planted early was quickly decimated - by what, I'm not sure as I never saw the culprit. However, there were lots of tiger swallowtail caterpillars in other parts of the yard - particularly on the fennel and even the rue!
Some of the plants were:
Russian sage, Borage, Echinacea "White Swan", Thyme, Dill, Butterfly Weed, Butterfly bush, Oregano, Sedum, Nicotiana, Roman Chamomile, Lemon Gem Marigold, Pholx, Rosemary, Beebalm, and others.
I must say I don't see more "winged" activity in this special bed than I see in the rest of the garden. I have always left milkweed, Queen Ann's Lace, lemon balm and anise hyssop to seed wherever they like (though I am now a little more ruthless with some of these invaders).
Incorporating some of the above plants into your garden willl most likely encourage the winged beasts to visit and enjoy the smorgasbord you have created. One place that is literally buzzing with bees is my Autumn Clematis, which has been happily climbing a fence for the past 10 years. It is an enormous carpet of small, white fragrant flowers, providing much needed nectar late in the season.
Have a happy harvest season!
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