Dreaming of Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie by endless beauty

This is the season that I start dreaming of pumpkin pie.

To make my pie from canned pumpkin or to buy a fresh pumpkin, that is my question. I like them both. A friend says that because fresh pumpkins are so expensive and canned pumpkin is so cheap and so good, why go to the bother of making it from a fresh pumpkin. I agree that pumpkins are terribly pricey especially when they are sold by the pound. And you really get so little meat from the pumpkin- I read that a 4 lb sugar pumpkin will only give you about 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin- not even enough for the famous Libby’s pie recipe.

But I think it is fun to use fresh pumpkin at least once. I think it helps the farmer and if people will try various varieties, the farmer will have reason to plant different types. If only canned pie is used, the farmer will only farm for the factory and variety might be lost for the future. So at least once each year, I buy my fresh pumpkin.

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Pruning Chrysanthemums‏

Chrysanthemums all bokehed except one by naruo0720

Chrysanthemums are spectacular this year. There are so many beautiful ones for sale in the stores and nurseries that they are irresistible. If you buy them fully flowered, you can put them in a pretty cache pot or urn to display them. Or you can plant them in the ground.

To be successful and have them return the next year to flower, one grower said that you should be sure to buy farm raised chrysanthemums, not store plants that were forced to bloom this season. And when you buy even the farm raised ones, choose ones that have many buds. Those that are fully flowered have finished their work and may not grow again next year.

Plant them in the ground during cool weather which is what chrysanthemums prefer. In hot weather the flowers will bolt and not open gracefully. In the cool weather the buds will open more slowly to become beautiful flowers while their roots will settle in. And this, the farmer said, will ensure that the plant will return next fall. The chances of forced plants or fully flowered plants to live and produce flowers the next fall are slim to none.  See here.

The farmer’s recommendation to get the beautiful mounds of flowers that growers get on their Chrysanthemums is to cut the plant back three times during the year. The best way to remember the times to cut them back is to remember the three holidays when the pruning time is due. The first date to cut back is on Thanksgiving after the flowers have finished blooming . The second cut back date is when the leaves emerge in the spring and should be done at Easter. And the final date to cut back chrysanthemums before they bloom is on July 4th. Then in the fall you should be rewarded with the beautiful mounds of chrysanthemum flowers you are now seeing in the store.  See here.

Little Heathens: Growing Up on a Farm and Appreciating Tomatoes

TheGardenLady just finished reading Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish. I decided to read this book not only because the cover said it was voted One Of The Ten Best Books of the Year by the New York Times Book Review but because TheGardenLady wanted to learn what life was like on an Iowa Farm during the Great Depression. This Garden Lady grew up on a farm, but fortunately it was after that Depression. Still I felt certain that some of the things the author remembered would be similar to the way I had grown up. So here was the opportunity to be nostalgic as I read someone else’s nostalgia.

And there were many similarities. For example, the frugality of life on Mildred’s family farms was just like my family’s. We never wasted anything- just like Mildred’s family, my parents could not afford waste. We never threw out anything. For example, when we had accumulated a pile of ruined or old rags my mother cut them up and crocheted them into floor rugs (see here).  We had linoleum on the floors that was easier to clean than carpeting, but when company came, we could put down these hand made rugs to have the house look more decorative. Mildred did not mention anyone in her family making these rag rugs.

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Scotts Company Advice about Fall Lawn Care

Lawnmower on Leaves by tvindy

TheGardenLady doesn’t want you to think that she advocates just certain products on her site- though if I like something, I will tell you.  There are many good gardening products on the market. But when good advice is given by companies, this garden site will let her readers know.

In this video by the Scotts Company, they give good advice about fall lawn care from Michigan State. This is for those GardenLady readers who haven’t seen this video or don’t know about the easiest method of handling all the fallen leaves on your lawn. This advice gets rid of the leaves, but then you can choose to buy the added nourishment products that Scotts recommends or if you want to get your favorite brand.

Miscanthus: Ornamental Grasses

More Miscanthus in Our September Garden by UGArdener

TheGardenLady received this question from Joanne.

I am looking for a maintenace free ornamental grass. I need it to be about 4′ in circumfrance and about 7′ tall.  I live in zone 6 in connecticut. I don’t know what to buy. I have partial sun.

This year ornamental grasses seem to be having a great year. I just visited Grounds for Sculpture where they seemed to be dancing in today’s wind.

I am not sure what you mean by maintenance free. There is really no plant that is completely maintenance free, but grasses do require little effort to maintain. Some of these grasses have to be cut back when the new shoots are emerging or if the plant flops over.

You do not tell me how much sun you mean by partial sun or if the area for the grasses is for a dry or moist site.

Since you live in a cooler zone than some grasses like and since you do not have full sun, TheGardenLady thinks you should check out the grasses that are in the Miscanthus family.

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Now is a Great Time to Plant Azaleas

‘Autumn Sunset’ and ‘Autumn Embers’ Encore Azaleas by pawightm

Fall is an ideal time to plant azaleas as well as Encore Azaleas! See here.

Plant azaleas as well as Encore Azaleas in fall to enjoy flowers until first frost and allow time for roots to establish without damage from extreme temperatures. In some areas, summer can be too hot to make planting azaleas fun, while fall is just right. Also, plants may appear dormant during winter, but they are working hard at creating stronger roots and new flower buds for spring.

Farfugium – Giant Leopard Plant

Farfugium japonicum cv. Aureo-maculata by brewbooks

TheGardenLady received this question from Jane.

We live in Zone 7 and have just this summer planted a giant leopard plant – farfugium. We are wondering if we need to bring it in for the winter or just cover it with mulch. If so, how much mulch?

TheGardenLady has Ligularia growing in the garden. This name was difficult enough to pronounce but now the Latin name has changed. Now we have to remember that the new Latin name is Farfugium– though websites and many nurseries still refer to the plant as Ligularia.  See here.  Very confusing, isn’t it? Anyway, if readers have this plant and have been told it is called Ligularia, you can tell people its new name. Or if you want to buy this plant, refer to it with both names in case the salespeople don’t know that it is now Farfugium when it is being sold. So to this questioner, congratulations that you know the name it is now.

If your giant leopard plant is indeed Farfugium japonicum ‘Aureomaculata’ it is supposed to be hardy in Zone 7 so you should not have to bring it indoors for the winter. (Different farfugium have different temperature zone needs and the common name of different farfugiums can be leopard plant – thus you should have the entire Latin name; for example, the japonicum tells that it is from Japan. Others originate in China, Taiwan or Korea. Knowing where it is from helps in knowing the zone it grows best in.) You would keep the less hardy farfugium in pots as you would keep Farfugium japonicum in pots if you were raising it in zones 1thru 6.

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Pruning Hydrangeas

Hydrangea by Eric M Martin

TheGardenLady received this question from Mary.

Last month I planted a hydrangea plant and it has 8 blossoms on it. Can I cut the blossoms off now, and will it affect the growth next year? Or should I leave it alone?

The choice of cutting the blossoms or leaving them on your hydrangea plant is up to you. Either way is fine for the plant. If you decide that you want to cut the blossoms off now, it is ” safest to remove them with very short stems so you won’t disturb any developing bloom buds for next year. As long as you cut above the first set of large leaves, the blooms will be fine. ” Read this good website for pruning hydrangeas. Deadheading, which is what you do when you remove blossoms, is a type of pruning.

Aristolochia: Dutchman’s Pipe Vine

Dutchman’s Pipe by annkelliott

TheGardenLady received this question M’Lourdes.

I would very much like to know the name of a delicate climber I was given [photo above].  Can you please help me identify this climber?

This plant has three common names, calico flower, pipe vine or Dutchman’s Pipe Vine.The Latin Family name of this plant is Aristolochia. There are over 500 species in this family. See here.  Most of them seem to have the common name Dutchman’s Pipe Vine.

Since you did not mention where you live or your temperature zone you have either Aristolochia (elegans) littoralis (The Latin species name seems to have also changed.) Or you have Aristolochia durior.

Aristolochia littoralis grows as a perennial in zones 8-10. Aristolochia durior is a perennial in zones 4 to 8. To see some of the many Aristolochia you can buy them here.   (There is another Aristolochia that is also called Dutchman’s pipe or Wooly Dutchman’s pipe that will grow in temperature zones 5 to 8. It is Aristolochia tomentosa but its flower is different from the photos you sent. See here. )

These pretty vines are not too well known and are really quite exotic looking. They seem fairly easy to raise so long as you have the one that grows in your temperature zone. They don’t seem to have many pests or diseases and if you have Aristolochia durior, they attract and support the pipevine swallowtail butterfly.  See here.

Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly by † David Gunter