Autumn Decorations From The Garden

The deciduous trees are turning luscious shades of orange and burgundy now, the grape leaves and witch hazel leaves are spun gold, and so it is time to spruce up the front of your home with some easy autumn decoration from the garden.  I’ve started to plant corn, and even if it doesn’t yield edible ears, the stalks and baby ears are lovely grouped together  in pots by your front door.  Combine with them rosy and blue hydrangea blooms, and bind them together in bouquets using garden twine.

I also grow ‘Rouge Vif d’Entemps’ pumpkin, also known as Cinderella pumpkin.  These are rather expensive to buy, but you can easily grow them yourself for a fraction of the price.  These look beautiful at all stages of growth, so I have them gathered near the top of the steps by the front door.  I also mix in any of the squash that are growing–anything that has perhaps grown beyond a size that will make it good to eat will work well for decorating, and especially if the skin is a different color from the pumpkin, like dark green or creamy white.  I ended up with some plants that turned out to be a pumpkin and danish squash hybrid that was stringy and not very good to eat, so those squash were put to use as decorations.

To add some contrasting color to the orange, add something blue to the mix.  I have pots that are a great shade of deep turquoise, and I placed a two-gallon turquoise pot behind an orange pumpkin.  The pot was filled with yellow grass of unknown origin, as well as black mondo grass, a gorgeous filler for containers, and a yarrow with grey filagree leaves.

None of this cost anything except for the cost of a few seeds, but it offers quite an impact to the front of the house.  These decorations can go up now, and can stay up through Thanksgiving if you do not carve the pumpkins or squash.


Inexpensive Northwest Native Plants Now Available To Order

The Clark County Conservation District each year holds a Northwest Native plant sale. The way it works is you fill out their order form and mail it with a check to the Clark Conservation district, or you can drop off your order at their office during the work week. The ordering deadline is February 12, 2010 at 4:30pm or while supplies last  (I suggest you place your order early, because they run out fairly quickly).   You then go to their office and pick up your plants on February 25, 26 or 27, 2010, where people will be available from 9am to 1 pm each of those days to give you your plants.

These plants are typically sold bareroot. What this means is that you will end up with several sticks with roots sticking out of the bottom. But, these bareroot plants take off very quickly once planted. I have had good luck by potting the bareroot plants up first in one or two-gallon containers, and growing them on for a season in the containers. Then, when they have more of a root system in place, I plant them out in the garden, typically in fall when it starts to rain again.

This is certainly the least expensive way to expand your Northwest Native plant collection. The bareroot plants come in bundles of 5, with prices ranging from $3 to $8 dollars per bundle. (My kinda plant sale!)   There are a variety of plants suitable for dry or wet growing conditions, full sun or shade.

To get on their plant sale mailing list and receive their plant sale flyer each year, contact the Clark Conservation District office at 11104 NE 149th St., Bldg. C, Suite 400, in Brush Prairie, WA. Their office is open Monday-Friday from 8am-4pm. You can also call them at (360) 883-1987, or visit their website at for more information.

Morning Glory in Bloom!

My late-planted ‘Heavenly Blue’ morning glory are in bloom now, and look gorgeous climbing up a metal tuteur and a blue and white gate that I use in one of my vegetable beds. Every year, I have darker purple morning glory that reseed, and they are lovely now as well. Really nice if you have something yellow and purple nearby, because the blue of the morning glory is such a striking sky blue color!