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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Autumn Colors And Remembering Summers Past

2010 – Fall Letter to Friends,

I made a nice Thanksgiving dinner for my parents but it had me cooking for most of Thursday which was very tiring. On Friday I left a jar of my homemade turkey noodle soup and a pie at my parents’ house, so I had ALL of Saturday free. I didn’t go ANYWHERE! What a luxury!

The autumn colors have come and gone and left me remembering summer in my gardens. I spent most of my time yesterday in the yard tidying up for the winter. It was 58º F but I bundled up and kept busy. I brought in ceramic pots and garden ornaments, the garden hoses, the drip hoses, and winter-wrapped the AC unit. I like being in my yard now because with the healthy soil treatments I have done and all of my plantings, many animals now make my yard their home. Sometimes I see them and I find many traces of them, footprints, bedding areas, nibbles here and there. When I bought my house, the very first things I put in my backyard were a birdbath, double-Shepherd’s hook feeder, and three birdhouses sized for my favorite bird, little brown wrens. I now have flocks of wrens in my yard that are not afraid of me because they grew up over my backdoor. I leave the leaf litter, branches and such laying about in the yard so that the wild animals have shelter in the winter. I will clean it up in the spring when the plants sprout again.

I am surprised at how much gardening I have done, and I am really pleased with my yard. When I bought my house three years ago, all it had was several drought-starved spirea and scraggly burning bushes in front of the house, and two peonies and three lilacs in the back yard. I knew I could really do some nice things to make the perimeter of my yard into a garden. And I found that I can do gardening if I hire the shoveling done, and then sit indian-style on a tarp and put the plants in patiently. I have to pace myself, and then have it planned so I can spend the rest of the day in bed resting or reading until time to feed and care for my parents. What a strange life. I used to be so active. Well, anyway – in the past three years of working on a tarp in my yard, I have put in:

a butterfly garden all along the back fence, with a variety of plants that butterflies like, planned so that something will be blooming for them from spring to fall, a variety of Sedums, Spirea, Speedwell, Bee Balm, and Cone Flowers. There are also Day Lilies and Daffodils.

4 fruit trees, 3 Forsythia and a Bridal Wreath bush. I have a Red Apple, Yellow Apple, Plum and a little Peach tree that bore two, large, delicious peaches in its first year in my yard. The fruit trees will take A LOT of watering for a few years, but I’m so pleased with them. The Japanese beetles like them too. AWK!

Several raised hosta beds (purple and fragrant white) to fill in low points which really made my yard level and added variety. I interplanted the hostas with Snow-on-the-mountain and purple ajuga, and they are all mulched so I won’t have any fuss with them, especially NO weeding.

Iris beds. Two iris beds flanking the driveway entrance, and one iris bed under my bedroom window. Iris rhizomes are really expensive and can come with disease, but I got lucky and most of the fifty rhizomes of assorted, exotic varieties that I bought were healthy. I used a little of the money I won in a contest, it was one of those “come see our condos and see if you win a cash prize.” Well, I won a $1,500.00 cash prize! Most of it went straight to the bank for that inevitable rainy day.

Assorted plants given to me by friends are tucked in corners of my yard here and there. I put in Zebra Grass that cover the rain downspouts nicely, Cardinal Vine for the hummingbird, Mint & Catnip under the faucets to benefit from any drips, Lily-of-the-valley, Blackberry Lily, Geranium, Buttercup, Lavender (had to try several different varieties before I found Lavender that wintered over here in Illinois), Spiderwort, Columbine, Pink Phlox, Purple Phlox, fragrant White Lilies, and in the summer I will have pots of Coleus, Abyssinian Gladiolus, Elephant Ear and a Banana Plant on the front and back porch. Such a joy!

50 Rose bushes (really FIFTY!) in a border along the inside AND the outside of my patio fence. The roses are interplanted with Snow-on-the-mountain and Ajuga, and mulched too, so no weeding, but oh those Japanese beetles really take a lot of time to pick off the rose bushes. Next year I’m going to use more chemicals. I had two criteria for buying rose bushes: I buy just the healthiest-looking rose bushes that were ON SALE without regard to color or type, and what a surprise my rose garden is! I have a delightful range of types and sizes of roses, both hybrid tea and floribunda. My roses’ colors range from pinks and reds to yellow, coral, white, and even purple. Yes! PURPLE! Such a pleasure, I never tire of sitting on my patio to look at my rose garden. In mid-November my neighbor pointed out that several of my rose bushes were still blooming. The freeze a few days ago finally put them to sleep for the winter.

Yesterday, I also put in the last of my tulip bulbs along the back fence, under my butterfly garden. In early spring I should have several hundred tulips (again, of all varieties) blooming along the back fence. Also, I have a collection of dwarf spring bulbs planted where I can see them from my kitchen window. I bought them this spring on sale, and am excited to see how they will look next spring. I hope I got the assorted bulbs arranged nicely. In the front yard, I have about a hundred more tulips, daffodils, Hyacinth (fragrant pink and blue) planted in front of the bushes, and more excitingly, I put in an assortment of several hundred crocuses along the driveway. My, I have been busy!

Thank you, friends, for reading along with my memories of my garden.



Caption: Autumn Colors Are Beginning To Show Through

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2019

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