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Dallying In The Dirt, Issue #237--- The burning bush is really on fire.
October 16, 2015

Why doesn’t Mother Nature like me? I try to follow her schedule but some days it’s just not possible. I went outside this morning to take pictures for Dallying and it was warm and sunny. I finished my morning chores and appointments and as I was coming out of the grocery store, on the way home to spend time in the garden, it started to pour rain and the temperature had dropped noticeably. I realize that I should have seized the moment and worked in the garden when the weather was nice but I needed to be clean and tidy for the noon appointment. The upside is, now that I can’t go into the garden, I can sit here and publish this week’s Dallying. My loss, your gain. One of the pictures I wanted to take this morning was the brilliant Euonymus alata you see above. Its common name of Burning Bush becomes very evident at this time of year. I have been taking pictures of it every few days as the bright scarlet colour slowly spreads through the whole plant. It has been growing on top of the berm at the back of the yard for several years but it was always obscured by the large Ash tree in front of it. This year, with the Ash tree gone, its dazzling colour strikes me every time I look through one of the south facing windows. The Maple trees that are exhibiting such wonderful colour everywhere, seem to turn colour all at once but my Euonymus started at the tips of the upper branches and is slowly spreading that amazing colour down and in. It’s such a delight to watch and it reminds me why I planted it there. I also remember searching for the full sized version as the dwarf variety is much more common.

Surprises always surprises, that’s what keeps me gardening year after year. I’m not sure what to do with this surprise. I was about to clean up this Cactus to bring it in for the winter. The “weeds” that had germinated at the bottom are quite clearly Begonias. It spent the summer under one of the fancy Tuberous Begonias that I had grown from seed and just across the path was one of the Begonia boliviensis that produces large quantities of seed. I will have to carefully dig them out of the Cactus soil and transplant them. A few months under the basement lights and we should find out just what we have. I didn’t notice any seed developing on the Tuberous Begonias but if that’s where these seedlings came from it should be very interesting to see what develops. I have removed one of those fancy Begonias from its pot and went looking for a tuber. I found one but it is only about 3 cm long. I’m hoping it has enough storage to survive until I try to start it next March. The predicted frost this weekend should give me the opportunity to unpot the rest and see if there are any bigger tubers.

Miscanthus sinensis Zebrinus is a wonderful decorative perennial grass usually called Zebra grass. It is one of those things that grows quietly in the garden all year and then suddenly seems to appear in the late summer garden. It bursts into bloom, showing its feathery plumes atop those striped leaves and stems. We really start to notice it at this time of year as most other features of the perennial garden have faded and it is reaching its full height displaying those delightful plumes. There are several cultivars available that have different striping patterns and grow to varying heights but I like this huge original. It will provide colour and interest until long after the garden is covered with snow. Each spring I await nervously to see if it has survived the winter and Mother nature has always made it slow to emerge just so that she can tease me again. It does not spread but develops into a large clump. This one has been growing here for several years and is about 75 cm (30") across at the soil line. There are many other decorative grasses that come in to their own in late summer and fall making dramatic statements in our gardens as the earlier perennials fade.

Now it’s time to answer a few of my reader’s questions. Don’t forget to check the front page of the Website for frequent short ideas for current gardening activities.

Mary Asks? Is it too late to plant my bulbs?

Ken Answers! Absolutely not. Nobody want to pull out annuals to plant bulbs and without frost the annuals are still looking good. That means that the soil is still warm and the bulbs have plenty of time to get rooted and ready for winter.

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