Monday, October 18, 2010

Breezing Through October

Goodness me!  Has it been two weeks since my last visit with you?  October has been a whirlwind of activity here at Blooming Hill--moving steadily onward toward Halloween and beyond.  Whoever thinks that things slow down in the garden for the devoted gardener is probably not a devoted gardener.  Weeds do not stop even though the annuals and perennials have decided to take a well deserved rest after a very hot and dry summer and there is always fall planting and transplanting that needs to take place since the rain and cool, dewy mornings have returned.  This, in turn, invites some last minute pruning of overgrown bushes like boxwood and also awkwardly hanging tree limbs hoping to snag my shirt as I drive by on the lawn mower.  And, then of course, there are all of the fall fairs that this devoted gardener has gotten herself into...

The first weekend of October found Peter and me out rearranging lavender beds and even adding two that now accommodate the fifteen lavender plants I bought at the Pennsylvania Lavender Festival that I went to way back in June.  Due to the lack of rain this summer they spent the last few months in a temporary holding bed close to the house where they could be watered easily while we waited out the dry months and debated how many new beds of lavender should we be challenging ourselves with.  In the end, Saturday, October 2 became a day devoted to the care and reorganization of lavender here at Blooming Hill.

Now, all of the pretty little "Martha Roderick"  lavender bushes, which had found themselves this past summer feeling a bit claustrophobic squeezed in between the "Sara's,"  "Jennifer's" and "Nana Atropurpurea's" can easily branch out with their new neighbors that go by names like "Madeline Marie" and  "French Fields"  and "Two Amy's," to name a few.  I love the poetic names they've been given even though the work they required that Saturday was not so poetic.  By the end of the day, every bush had room to breathe and plenty of time to prepare for winter.  Much needed rains came during the week which also helped them along.   All that day, the curious devil deer kept vigil out in the back forty and, I think, hoping we were planting a little lettuce or something they might enjoy as well.

The next day was deemed "Pack the Greenhouse Before a Fall Frost Sneaks Up and Surprises Me Without Warning Sunday."  As much as this day was all about work, it's a day I look forward to every year since everything coming  in and taking up winter residence here is happy and healthy and the greenhouse, once a gain, looks like a proper greenhouse, all green and glowing, smelling of freshly dug earth and scented geraniums with the tingly scents of a little lavender and rich rosemary mixed in for good measure and to assure the plants they are home.  It is such a lovely place to spend an hour or two, at this time of year, all neat and tidy--before the really cold and sun-starved days set in to torment the plants while they struggle to make it through and see another spring.  The greenhouse is heated but it can still get a bit chilly on bleak winter days and freezing nights so, I snuggle the plants together as much as possible while still allowing for good air circulation to keep molds and fungus's from taking hold.  There is still much to be brought in, like the large potted bays and myrtles as well as several rosemary's, annual lavenders and hibiscus waiting patiently to take their rightful space, but they also enjoy these cooler days and nights and can even tolerate a light frost or two, if worse comes to worse.  However, I will have to bring them in soon as I do not want to experience one of those  "Oh no!  I didn't Know It Was Going To Be a Hard Freeze Night With a Bitterly Cold Couple of Days to Follow" kind of surprise that I have, regretfully, experienced before."

Columbus Day weekend came along, last week and we spent our Sunday selling our crafts and wares at the Clifton Day Fair.  We decorated our little 10 foot by 10 foot tent with as much as we could and, I think, it was one of our loveliest booths yet. I know...I always say that but I just can't help myself...I think it's true!  Packed from floor to ceiling, it invited curious shoppers, dressed in everything from colonial day garb to redskins jerseys, into our "little piece of paradise for the day" where they found something to take home and enjoy.

My friend Tami, once again, joined Peter and me there as well to sell her handmade purses.  It was so crowded in our booth, we found ourselves taking refuge outside of it where we soaked in the sun and watched the shoppers peruse to their heart's content.

Down the road, a bit, my friends, Kim and Jo Ellen had their own  booths set up.  This is Kim's booth where she demonstrated the art of lavender wand making while Jo Ellen looked on.  Kim had a lovely spot on a shady piece of grass near the center of the town where she had a 3-D view of all of the comings and goings as well as all of the fair visitors from the past and the present.

In the midst of this very busy Columbus Day weekend, Kevin came home from college for a few days during his fall break.  Tucker was all too pleased to have that much more attention.  Two of my favorite boys, together again, and we were all a happy family.  Then, just like he breezed in, Kevin was gone in a flash and back to school and I was back to my typical work week of preparing for yet another fair...
Here we are in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania at the Herb Society of America's Mid-Atlantic Symposium where they spoke about and featured "Useful Herbs During the Civil War."  Although I am an HSA member-at -large, Peter and I went as vendors and this time were treated  to an indoor space where we weren't limited to just a 10 foot by 10 foot booth Here at the conference center, we could spread out along a lovely hallway just outside of the conference rooms that had, dare I say it, indoor bathrooms.   Ahhhhh, almost heaven, protected from wind and rain, although this weekend was glorious indeed weather wise as well as everything else.

Those that had come to participate in this herbal symposium are highly educated in the uses and delights of herbs. They range from well known writers and nurserymen and women to scientists and teachers as well as housewives and gardeners all with a passion for expanding and sharing their herbal knowledge.  A few, like the "general" and his "wife" were dressed for the parts they played in a reenactment of the Civil War period in the Gettysburg area.  In fact, I found them to be pretty savvy shoppers, too.

My friend Kim was a vendor there as well.  This is a picture of her booth, above. She also was a symposium attendee since she is a member of the Potomac Unit of the HSA and spent a lot of her time in the presentations as opposed to her booth.  So, to accommodate her customers, she left a sign that said "If you would like to buy something, please leave your money in the money box here and take your purchase with you.  Thank you very much!"  All "herbies" are very honorable people and she had nothing to worry about.

Well, that was our Saturday, this past weekend, and me being me, a glutton for fall fairs and events, spent Sunday at one last event--The Fall Color Tour which is an annual event here in Loudoun County Virginia.  Where was I, you ask with bated breath?  Well, I set up shop one more time at the Philomont General Store enjoying the sunny fall day but also braving the gusty winds which threatened to blow down everything from lavender pomanders to fluffy pillows.  It was so windy at one point I turned to Peter and asked if he knew whether a front was blowing through.  He looked at me, a bit perplexed and said, "It's October Cyndie." What a day!  What a weekend!

So, that brings me up to date with you...phew!  No more fairs for a few weeks and that, in the words of Martha Stewart, "Is a good thing," as much as I hate to say it.   However, now I have time to catch my breath and regroup for the holidays.  Most importantly, I'll have time to spend in the gardens and greenhouse and take stock in what still needs to be accomplished here during these remaining October days. It's also time to stop and smell the rosemary and lavender a few more breaths, savor the autumn sparkle and shine and be thankful for all things garden and garden-related in my life from husband, son and dog to friends and fairs who help me make gardening possible and enjoyable everyday, not just in October, but also throughout the year.

1 comment:

  1. Hope you and the fam are doing well. I'd love to see you all sometime in November if we can work out a time.