September Snapshot in the Gardens
At Castle Hill the ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum has started to bloom, the rose of Sharon is at its peak, the very first leaves are beginning to turn… and the deer have begun eating our Swiss chard and kale! It must be September. The dry weather that persisted through the second half of August and into this month made food scarce for the local deer, which turned the fence surrounding our culinary garden into a mere hurdle. To keep the hungry deer at bay, we have improvised with materials at hand to create a garden scarecrow, which helps a bit, so long as it is moved to a new position each day.
The towering yellow marigolds have come into bloom and match the yellow scarecrow jacket and ripe husk cherries nearby. This year the husk cherries (also known as gooseberries and ground cherries) are being served in The Dining Room on the cheese board, and as a welcome amenity for inn guests. These intriguing fruits are a favorite of mine and other staff members, so if you get a chance- do try them!
Red amaranth and dark opal basil microgreens have continued to go strong in the greenhouse from spring until now, and we’ve planted a few seedlings in the culinary beds to get full sized. The magenta leaves of the amaranth are gorgeous, and I am looking forward to the cascading maroon flowers that come next. The deep purple of the basil adds to the interesting color display and will be an excellent complement to our watermelon salad.
The New Guinea impatiens in the fountain garden display a similar color contrast to the amaranth and basil with their pink blossoms and deep green leaves. The variety we are growing, known as a ‘Sunpatien’, grows well in the sun, unlike standard impatiens which prefer part shade. These annuals are a hardy and colorful addition to our garden and have recently been joined by the first batch of chrysanthemums, or “mums” as they are often called – another hardy plant that will bloom until the first frost and will come up again next year if the roots become well established.
Moments ago, I watched a squirrel scamper up an elm tree with a mouth full of leaves it had collected. He or she is busy building a nest to keep warm in the coldest months. This reminder of the changing seasons has me reflecting on all that has transpired this year and realizing that, before I know it, we will be mulching the beds and planning for next year’s growing season. As the cooler weather sets in I am inspired to make the most of our garden’s bounty while it lasts!
-Leita Lord, Horticulturist