Thursday, November 15, 2012

November Blooms

This will probably be the last month for outdoor blooms here in our zone 5b garden until next spring. There are still a few hardy hangers-on in sheltered spots, in spite of frosts we've had each night this week. Borage seedlings are sheltered near the foundation of our house.  Even so they probably won't last much longer.

I'm not sure I've shown a shasta daisy photo on Bloom Day before.  I always forget about them because they're in a spot where there aren't many other things (yet!)  They're in a very dry spot where the soil is pretty sandy.  In spite of the heat and drought this year, they thrived, and bloomed all summer.  This last single bloom somehow escaped the clutches of bunnies who eat so much of our garden.

We've had some good rains this month that helped revive this hardy cyclamen.  The blooms are declining now, but the beautiful foliage will remain until it goes dormant in late spring.  It was great to find the other two cyclamens come back after the rain.  They didn't bloom this year, but the foliage is still beautiful and I'm happy knowing they survived the drought.

If we have any outdoor blooms left by December, they will likely be on this mini-rose.  It often retains its foliage and flowers into mid-or-late December.

Sedum 'Matrona' was extraordinarily long-blooming this year.  These tough plants laugh at drought.

Geranium 'Rozanne' lives in a sheltered spot, and this year she sports three last blooms that, while on their way out, still managed to retain their color after several frosty nights.

Pink mums are still hanging on.  The blooms on the orange mums are all gone - eaten by something, most likely rabbits.  I'm amazed there are any mum blooms left.  The orange ones are always the first to go, and these are probably not long for the world.  Every time I'm in the garden now, a couple of bunnies skitter out of their leafy, insulated garden hiding places.

As the gardening season draws to close here in the Chicago area, we're already busy planning for next season, while tending our basement greenhouse, bursting at the seams with tender plants already blooming again after being cut back and brought indoors last month.  Every sunny window upstairs is lined with even more of them.

Happy Bloom Day, and to see more blooms in gardens everywhere, please visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Holiday Wreath Giveaway!

Today's my birthday, and that makes it a great day to kick off a holiday giveaway, don't you think?

I'm celebrating my birthday on the blog this year with a giveaway sponsored by P. Allen Smith's Holiday Collection, with this beautiful, fragrant wreath from Allen's new Lodge Collection.  The Collection is inspired by National Parks lodges from the turn of the 20th century, and honors American craftsmanship and artistry.  
The 20" wreath is made from fresh, sustainably-harvested, hand-tied Noble Fir and pine, with pinecone, birch and  snowflake accents, and can be used either indoors or outdoors.

The giveaway is open to US residents, and here's how it works:  Leave a comment on this post telling me where you'll use the wreath if you're the winner, or alternatively, share your favorite holiday memory, or your favorite holiday recipe - one entry per person.  

For a bonus chance to win, leave a comment on my facebook page and tell me how you spell the cone of a pine tree - pinecone, or pine cone, or share any fun holiday anecdote you wish!  Inquiring minds want to know! (Or is that enquiring minds?)  Have fun, and be as creative as you like.

I'll need to be able to reach the winner, so be sure your email address is easy to find, either through your blogger profile, on your blog, or linked through your comment.  I'll need to hear back from the winner within 48 hours after emailing you.  If I can't track you down, or if you don't respond in time, an alternate winner will be selected.

The winning entry will be selected on Friday, November 16, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. Central Standard Time, via  Once the winner is selected,  I'll update this post.  

Update 9/16/12:  Congratulations, Thea - you won the wreath!  I wasn't able to find your email address so I contacted you both through your facebook, and google+ page.  Please contact me with your email address asap - no later than within 48 hours, or I'll need to select an alternate winner.