the first gardening task of the year.

I can now positively say that spring has finally sprung, and so have my alliums.

Just before I left to visit my mom in Vegas we had several days with temps in the 70’s and it really started to feel like summer is on the way.

Between you and me, I’m taking full credit for the weather warm up.  Every time I plan a trip somewhere warm in the winter, Minnesota gets unseasonably warm temps while I’m away.  As soon as I booked my ticket to Vegas, the forecast went from 1′ of snow to sunny and 75.  You’re welcome Minnesota!

Now that gardening season is upon us, I’m going to resume my ‘Sunday mornings in the garden’ series.  So for those of you who are gardeners, be sure to keep an eye out for Sunday morning blog posts.

The very first gardening task I take on each year is pruning my hydrangeas.  This is a job that can be tackled pretty early on in the season (even late winter if you’re so inclined), but I usually save it for our first warm sunny day when it’s still too soon (and too muddy) to do much else in the garden.

After a long, snowy winter the blooms that I left on for winter interest are looking pretty tired (and yes, that is still a big patch of snow and ice in front of the potting shed, will it ever melt?).

There are a few general rules I keep in mind while pruning my panicle hydrangeas (Limelight, Little Quick Fire, Strawberry Vanilla, etc, etc).

  • reduce the overall height of the shrub by about 1/3.
  • remove any dead, broken or weak branches.
  • remove any branches that are rubbing on other branches.
  • prune just above a leaf node.

All of that being said, in my experience you don’t really have to worry too much about rules when pruning panicle hydrangeas.  A couple of years ago I totally hacked at the Limelight hydrangea in my front garden.  I took it down to about 2′ (from probably about 7′ or so).  I left only the thickest stems, and I didn’t even look for leaf nodes.  Yet it still came back gangbusters, and was right back to 7′ tall two years later.

Since panicle hydrangeas bloom on new wood, pruning them will maximize the number of blooms you get.

  I like leaving a little more height on the hydrangea next to our deck because once it leafs out it creates a nice little privacy screen.  It doesn’t look like much now, but here’s how it will look from this spot in August.

I also prune my arborescens variety hydrangeas (I have Annabelles) in the spring.  They also bloom on new growth, so pruning will encourage blooms.  However, one major downside to this variety of hydrangea is that the stems are often not strong enough to support the flower heads.  The first big rain after they bloom will turn your bush into a floppy mess.

A few years back I read an article that recommended pruning your Annabelles by no more than a couple of inches below the flower heads, leaving the strong old wood stems in place to help support the flowers.  You can also remove weak, broken or dead stems all the way down.

I’ve also given the Annabelle under my kitchen window a little extra support with an old brass headboard.

It was looking quite straggly after the long winter, but I cleaned it up a bit.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend adding an arborescens hydrangea these days.  Even though some of the newer versions claim to have solved the flopping problem, they haven’t eliminated it entirely.

I actually inherited this Annabelle with the house, and since we moved in I’ve divided and moved it.  There is a big chunk of it out behind the carriage house in my cutting garden, which can be another good idea for this variety.  Place it in a spot where you will just be cutting the blooms off, but it doesn’t have to look good in situ.

So now I’ve checked the first gardening task of the year off of my to-do list.

I’m hoping that I don’t miss the blooming of my scilla while I’m out at my mom’s.  The flower buds were just appearing before I left, but they weren’t open yet.  They do usually bloom in mid to late April, and have even been known to be blooming in the snow as they were in 2020.

I think they’ll hold off this year until I get back.  Fingers crossed.

I also have lots of daffodils, tulips and allium coming up.  Luckily they are willing to pop right up through the snow.

You may remember that I put in a lot of bulbs last fall, so I can’t wait to see how they do.

It feels so good to be back out in the garden!  I’m really looking forward to spending lots more time out there again this year, and sharing lots of tips with you guys along the way.

So tell me, are you back out in the garden yet this year?


on the flip side.

I’m embarrassed to admit that my Rudolph and Co. sign, and all of our other outdoor Christmas decorations, were still up until last week when we’d finally had enough snow melt to be able to reach some of it.

You have to cut us some slack here in Minnesota, especially when we’ve had a winter with a lot of snow.  We can’t always get through the snowbanks to take things down.  In addition, decorations often get frozen into place and we have to wait for them to thaw.  The spruce tips in my rusty urns only just thawed out enough to remove them, and I still can’t get to the potting shed or my front window box at all.

But now I’ve gotten at least some of my Christmas things tucked back away for next year, and I wanted to put something else in that spot on our deck for spring.

Last fall I painted a Farmers Market sign to hang there.

Somehow ‘Farmers Market’ says autumn to me though, so I didn’t want to just put that back up again.

You may also remember that I had a fresh flower market stencil on the flip side of that sign though.

But I was rather tired of that black and white look.  It definitely pales in comparison to the Farmers Market side, doesn’t it?

So I decided to give the flip side some new life with the Flower Market – Open Til Dusk stencil from Wallcutz.  I started by sanding over the previous stenciling.  You always want to do this to prevent seeing a shadow of that old stencil under your new paint.

Next I painted the sign in Dixie Belle’s Kudzu, a spring-ier green than the Dixie Belle Juniper I used on the other side.

I followed that up with the stencil, painting a shadow of the word “FLOWER” in DB’s Midnight Sky, followed by the full stencil in their Drop Cloth.

That tiny black shadow adds so much!

You may remember that the first time I used this stencil on a dresser, I separated the first two lines of wording.

But no worries, I was still able to use the entire thing on this piece.  In fact, it made it even easier for me to once again re-arrange the layout somewhat to fit my sign.  I moved the “always fresh” to the top where it fit nicely on that raised trim, and then put the curved “open ’til dusk” wording below that instead of above it.

Once all of the paint was dry, I sanded to distress.

It’s always fun to distress down to a pre-existing color that works well with your new look.

To finish the sign, I added a topcoat of clear wax.  I’m often asked if clear wax is suitable protection for an item that will be outside, and if I wanted to be on the safe side I would say no.  Certainly not if the item will have standing water on it, and maybe not if you want the piece to look good for years and years.  This sign hangs vertically and although it will get wet, it won’t sit in water at all.  The Rudolph sign that I took down is also finished in clear wax and it has held up just fine in our snowy climate.

So, for me, wax is good enough for things like this sign.  Plus, I don’t mind a little accelerated aging … at least when it comes to painted décor items.

Once the sign was finished, I hung it back up outside.  Just in time for April Fool’s Day!

Yep, Mother Nature played a cruel joke on us and we got a foot of fresh snow on April 1.  I had been planning to get some pansies to replace those spruce tops and fill the urn on the bench before taking some pictures of the sign for this post, but luckily I hadn’t done that quite yet.

But I think it’s going to warm up enough for pansies next week, fingers crossed!

In the meantime, I’m still enjoying my Flower Market sign and telling myself that garden season is going to be here before I know it.  Right?

the fresh flower market case.

Sometime last summer I came across this wooden case at a garage sale.

I have to admit, I walked away from it at first thinking it was too big and cumbersome, and it felt a bit too utilitarian for my tastes.  But then I realized that of course I could change that last part with some paint, and maybe a stencil or some transfers.  So I went back and grabbed it.

Here’s what the inside looked like initially.

The whole thing looks very much homemade.  I do wonder what it was made for, a ventriloquist’s dummy?  an accordion?  a secret stash of gold bouillon?  Hopefully it wasn’t anything creepy, like that time I accidentally bought an embalming table at an auction.  It’s made out of solid wood, so it is rather heavy for toting things around.  Any of you have any ideas about its original purpose?

After scuff sanding and cleaning the case inside and out, I painted the inside in Dixie Belle’s Collard Greens, and the outside in their Drop Cloth.  Next I added some sections from the I.O.D. Wall Flower transfer to the inside lid.

I think the florals in this transfer have that look of old 1940’s wallpaper.

I also added some pieces of the Wall Flower transfer to the front of the case, and then I pulled out a new stencil from Wallcutz called Fresh Flower Market.

I couldn’t quite fit the entire thing on my case, so I masked off those trim lines around the outside as well as the bottom line of wording using painters tape.  I then stenciled the word “MARKET” in Dixie Belle’s Collard Greens, and the rest of the wording in their Holy Guacamole.

I used a small artist’s brush to fill in the bridges on my stencil, and I think that really made the cursive font of ‘fresh flower’ work better.

For a final little touch, I added one of the bees from the I.O.D. Brocante transfer near the handle of the case.

You can’t have a flower market without bees, right?

With it’s fresh new interior, this wooden case could be used to store all kinds of things.  Maybe your spare linens, or your heavy winter sweaters?  Or even your ventriloquist’s dummy.

Or, you could just simply use it as décor.

It would be sweet just hanging out in your foyer, or on a protected porch.  It would also be perfect in your potting shed …

assuming you can get to it.

Earlier this year when I was planning for this project, I thought I’d be able to photograph the finished case out in the potting shed.  But then we got a lot of snow, and then we got a lot more snow, and then earlier this week we got another 7″ more.  I basically can’t get to the potting shed at this point.

Well … I could if I was willing to trudge through a couple feet of snow, and then shovel away the giant pile that fell off the roof and is now blocking the door.  But I’m not.

This was a bit of a tactical error on my part since most of my garden themed photo props are out there too.  I sure do hope spring is just around the corner.

In the meantime … an indoor photo shoot it is.

What do you think?  What would you use this case for?

The fresh flower market case is for sale, check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint, and to Wallcutz for providing the stencil used for this project and sponsoring this blog post.

a rose window.

I picked up an old window at a garage sale last year.  I tend to grab chippy old windows, especially when they have a unique shape like this one.

This particular one was in pretty rough shape with the glass practically falling out before I got it home.

So, I started out by giving the window a good clean, and then I re-glazed the glass.  Now, you should be forewarned that I have very little talent for glazing and I really don’t know what I’m doing.  But, I need to get it figured out because we have quite a few windows at our house that need re-glazing and I want to do it myself.  So this seemed like a good way to get some practice in.

However, I’m pretty sure I picked the wrong product.

I saw the words ‘window’, ‘clear’ and ‘paintable’ on the label and thought it was what I needed.  I also thought a ‘sealant’ was what I needed.  In the end, this worked OK for my purpose here, which was basically to hold the glass firmly in place.  But it’s not really the right product for glazing windows, so I’ll be going back to the drawing board before I attempt to work on my house windows next summer.

In the meantime, here’s how my totally imperfect sealant looks on the back side of the window.

Fortunately it’s on the back, and it’s clear, so it really isn’t noticeable from the front at all.

Next up I debated re-painting the frame.  But the thing is, I like the authentically chippy look.  So rather than paint it, I sanded off any loose paint and then added a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat to seal it.

Next up I pulled out two sections from the I.O.D. Ladies in Waiting transfer to add to the glass.

I cleaned the glass well before starting and then applied the transfers to the front of the window.

I have to confess that I nearly applied the first one to the back of the window before coming to my senses.  The transfers do not work that way.  Here’s how that would have looked …

Yep, I dodged a bullet on that one.  Don’t know what I was thinking.

Ultimately the Ladies in Waiting transfers were the perfect fit for this window.  One on each side (the full set includes four of them).

I added a number to the side of the window frame too.

That came from my pile of transfer scraps, so I’m sorry, but I don’t know which particular transfer it was from originally.

One question I get frequently is whether or not I use a sealer over transfers that are applied on glass, and I do not.  The transfers stick to glass extremely well.  However, they can be removed using a razor blade, if one should ever want to remove it down the road.

As for cleaning, I would simply dust it using a soft cloth.  I would not recommend using a spray glass cleaner of any kind on a transfer.

This window looks great hung on the wall over a desk.

But you could hang it anywhere.

What do you think?  Are you a fan of transfers on glass?

If so, here are links to some other projects I’ve done with transfers on glass; this one is on a mirror, this one is on a barrister bookcase, and this one features glass cannisters with transfers on them.  Check them out!

In the meantime, this window is for sale.  Check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

a beautiful white Christmas.

Merry Christmas dear readers!

Since Christmas just happens to fall on a Sunday this year, I thought I would take advantage and bring you a holiday greeting from the garden.  Once again, not technically my garden, but a garden.

The Sunken Garden in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park does a different holiday display every year.  This year they went all white.

Well, white and green anyway.

Of course there were lots of white poinsettias, plus other flowers that I think of as typical Christmas plants like paperwhites …

and amaryllis.

They also used plants that I think of as typical summer annuals in our area like euphorbia and dusty miller.

Plus, there were plants that I think of as potted plants like the little lemon cypress trees, and white kalanchoe.

I find an all white color scheme very serene and peaceful.

I’ve often thought about adding a white garden to my yard.  White flowers really pop in a shady area, or in the moonlight at night.  Some options for white flowers in a shade garden include impatiens (of course), white bleeding heart, lily of the valley, astilbe, snow drops, bloodroot, sweet woodruff, foam flower and anemones.  There are so many to choose from!

But if you’re not a lover of the all white look, you might enjoy last year’s red, orange and yellow theme at the conservatory a bit more …

What do you think?  Are you a fan of the serene all-white look, or do you prefer a lot more color?

Leave a comment and let me know.  But in the meantime, happy holidays to you and yours.  I hope you are enjoying a serene and peaceful holiday season, or possibly a vibrant, colorful one … whichever one works best for you!

winter interest in the garden.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the movie A Christmas Story.  You know that scene where Ralphie wakes up on Christmas Day and looks out the window to find it has snowed over night to create a magical winter wonderland?  I always feel that same sense of magic when I wake up to find that it snowed overnight, as I did last Wednesday night (and Thursday night, and Friday night).

This was the view from our bedroom window when I got up on Thursday.

I’m not sure my photo does it justice, it really was magical.  It got even better on Friday.

So I thought this might be a great time to bring you a Sunday morning in the garden post, winter version.

Most of the garden vloggers that I watch on YouTube have been talking about adding winter interest to the garden lately.  I have to admit that I’ve never really given ‘winter interest’ much thought in the summer when I’m planting.

So most of my winter interest plants are totally coincidental.  The many hydrangeas that I’ve planted for their fabulous flowers, also look quite pretty after a snowfall.

Even my dismal failure of a lilac hedge adds some decent winter interest.

Otherwise, most of the ‘interest’ in my winter garden comes from the trees.

Or the garden ornaments.

Things like statues, trellises, and obelisks are a quick and easy way to add interest to the winter garden, although not necessarily the cheapest way.

Another recommendation for adding winter interest is to leave attractive seed heads on plants like echinacea (coneflower), astilbe and bee balm.  I have those perennials, but in our climate they pretty much first get battered by a heavy snow, and then buried in it.  They work better for autumn interest rather than winter interest here.

We need to rely on sturdier options in Minnesota like evergreens, or shrubs with winter color like winterberries or red twig dogwood.  They can stand up to a couple feet of snow.  And the red of the winterberries and dogwood look especially amazing in the snow.

But until I get some red things planted, I will have to just admire how the red paint job on the carriage house really pops in a snowy landscape.

How about you?  Do you have any recommendations for adding winter interest to a garden?  Or perhaps you enjoy living in a perpetually green climate.  Leave a comment and let us know!

a tropical garden for Christmas.

Welcome back to Sunday mornings in the garden.  Once again, this post is not coming from my own garden which is currently buried under a couple of inches of snow.  Instead, this one is coming to you from Puerto Vallarta!

As I’ve mentioned, my neighbor’s family invited me along on their family vacation to Mexico.  Yep, I’m very lucky when it comes to neighbors.  I think I won the good neighbor lottery.

So I spent a week at Velas Vallarta with my neighbor Karen and her parents.  The resort was gorgeous, and so was the weather.

  We had 7 days in a row of mid-80’s and sunshine, not a drop of rain or a cloud in the sky.  Perfection.

We basically spent the bulk of our time looking at this view while a very nice waiter named Edwin delivered pina coladas and nachos.

Most of the time it felt like we practically had the place to ourselves because the resort was only about 50% occupied.  The week immediately following Thanksgiving week is not very popular apparently.

We did venture out to the beach a couple of times.

And we also ventured out to the marina to do some shopping.

But I said this was going to be a garden post, and that’s because the grounds at Velas Vallarta were just beautiful.

Not only that, but many of the plants had markers so it was a lot like being in a botanical garden.

I enjoyed finding out what the various plants were called, like the Washingtonia Robusta or Mexico Fan Palm.

And the Musa X Paradisiaca or the Banana!

There were two flowering plants that stood out as my favorites.  First up, the bougainvillea.  This is one of my mom’s favorite flowers, and she would have loved how they were spilling out of a multitude of planters on the balconies at this place.

But I think I liked the Blue Sky Vine even more.

They had long pergolas around the several swimming pools that were covered in this vine and provided perfect spots for shady lounging.  There was one small problem in that they really attracted the bees, and Karen got stung twice in the pool.  Ouch!

I have to admit, I find it difficult to feel properly Christmas-y in the tropics.  But the resort was doing their best to add some holiday vibes.  One morning I woke up to find that they had planted poinsettias in the garden the previous day.

They’d also put up a huge tree in the lobby.

It was decorated with these beautiful silver lanterns.

Still, it took coming home for me to get back into a holiday mood.

As much as I enjoyed that gorgeous warm, sunny weather in Mexico, I need a little snow on the ground to feel like Christmas.  How about you?  Do you enjoy a tropical Christmas?  Leave a comment and let me know!

gardens around the world.

Good morning from the garden.  Unfortunately, I came home from Florida last weekend to a garden that was pretty much completely done.  All but the most hardy of perennials have died down to the ground, and most of the leaves are off the trees.  So I’m not sharing my own gardens today, instead I thought those of you who are gardeners would enjoy seeing the gardens of Epcot’s World Showcase.

For anyone not familiar with Disney World, Epcot is one of the four theme parks there.  The back half of Epcot is devoted to the World Showcase which features 11 areas themed to specific countries situated around a large lagoon.

Back in the day, Disney offered a guided tour of the gardens in the World Showcase and Mr. Q and I did that tour.  I loved it.  You got to go into the World Showcase in the morning before it was open to the public.  This was back when the World Showcase didn’t open until 11 a.m.  (this was also before the Norway ride became the Frozen ride, ahhh, the good ol’ days).

Anyway, unfortunately they no longer offer this tour.  But I did get a lot of insight back then into how they use landscaping to enhance the feeling of each country’s pavilion.  The attention to detail at a Disney park is always impressive, and no more so than in the World Showcase.

The garden in Canada is modeled after the famous Butchart Gardens in British Columbia.

It’s filled with big swaths of flowering annuals, as well as colorful coleus.  If you want constant color in your garden, annuals are the way to go.  But you’d better have a Disney sized budget for that since you have to replace them every year.

It inspired me to consider putting a few patches of coleus into the ground in my gardens next year though.  The only problem with that approach here in Minnesota is that it takes most of our short growing season for the coleus to fill in, and by the time it starts looking spectacular our first frost is only weeks away.  So maybe not.

But Florida can definitely pull it off.

By the way, here’s a quick q tip for you.  If you want to explore the World Showcase without hoards of people, these days you’ll want to head there immediately when the park opens.  Everyone else will be getting in line for rides.  You’ll have about an hour to make your way around the lagoon (roughly 1.2 miles) before the crowds catch up with you.

The shops and dining locations may not quite be open yet, but you can explore the details of each ‘country’ while having it practically to yourself.

Next up is the U.K. pavilion, and it’s definitely one of my favorites.

It’s so dang charming.

A formal sort of hedged garden is right up my alley, and they have them in spades in the U.K. pavilion.

Hedges and topiary, I need to add both in my own garden.  I’m putting them on the wish list.

There was a liberal use of annuals for color again, and also big masses of caladium.

The light green on the left and the pink on the right are both caladium.

We cross over the Channel into France next.  The landscaping here feels even more formal than the U.K. with more hedging and topiary.

But aside from the hedge garden above, the France pavilion doesn’t have much else in the way of gardens (it does have a lovely water feature, but I neglected to take a photo of that).

The next country you’ll encounter on the way around the showcase is Morocco.

Once again, there aren’t any large garden beds in this pavilion.  But really, the tilework is so impressive that you wouldn’t want to detract from it with gardens.  Plus, Morocco has a dry Mediterranean climate which isn’t really conducive to lush, green gardens.

Here’s a quick bit of trivia about the Morocco pavilion.  It was sponsored by King Hassan II and is the only Epcot pavilion sponsored directly by a country’s government rather than a corporate sponsor.  The King sent Moroccan artisans over to design and create the tile mosaics.

Next we head into Japan.

You just know that this pavilion is going to have some gorgeous gardens.

And specifically a lovely koi pond.

I love the simplicity and serenity of a Japanese garden.

Just a sidebar, if you’re interested in Japanese gardens be sure to watch Monty Don’s Japanese Gardens series (available on Prime).

The next country on your way around the world is Italy.  Once again, it’s a gorgeous pavilion with architecture borrowed from Venice, Rome and Tuscany.

They don’t have any formal garden beds in this pavilion, instead they seem to rely heavily on terracotta pots.

There certainly are some gorgeous pots though.  That one in the back of that trio above has an annual in it that I used myself this past summer.

I believe it’s Evolvulus Blue Daze and it performed really well for me.  I need to make a note to plant it again next year.

I was a little surprised to find that they had hostas growing in containers as well.

To me they look a bit sad though, don’t you think?

Germany has a very unique garden, it’s a model railroad garden.

There are several trains running around the tracks at all times.  The plants seem to mainly consist of small, pruned evergreens.  But I did notice that they have quite a few of the Berberis thunbergii ‘Concorde’ that I have in my fairy garden.

That’s it in the lower right corner of the photo above.

Next up we have China.

The garden in China is mainly dominated by a beautiful pond filled with water lilies.

Again, very peaceful and lovely like Japan.

Norway doesn’t have a very structured garden area, but they do have a building with a sod roof which is quintessentially Norwegian I think.

As is the lefse that my sister purchased at the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe in the Norway pavilion.  I’m not much of a lefse fan myself, so I went with the Verden’s Beste Kake, which was delicious.  We enjoyed our treats in the seating area under that sod roof.

The royal sommerhus also has a sod roof.

The last country on our journey around the world is Mexico.  I was hoping to find an orchid garden in this pavilion, but apparently they only do that during the Flower & Garden event.  So really the pavilion just features lots of tropical foliage.

It’s certainly pretty, but definitely not my favorite.  I have to say I’m not really all that into tropical foliage.  I have no desire to plant things like hibiscus, or orchids.

Any of you familiar with Epcot have probably noticed something missing in my post.  I completely skipped over the American Adventure pavilion.  Ooops!  Well, aside from flowers in red, white and blue, there wasn’t much to write home about in that one.

Looking back at all of these pavilions, the U.K. gardens are definitely my favorite with Canada as a close second place.  How about you?  Which would be your favorite?  Have you ever toured the gardens of the World Showcase?  Leave a comment and let me know.

feels like 12.

We woke up to a bright and chilly morning last Tuesday.  The actual temp was 21, but the ‘feels like’ temp was 12!  Twelve!  In October!  Yikes!

I don’t really remember when they switched out ‘wind chill’ for ‘feels like’, but I did a bit of googling and apparently the ‘feels like’ number takes humidity levels into consideration whereas the ‘wind chill’ did not.

Either way, ‘feels like 12’ is too cold for October.  And as I’ve discovered, it’s also too cold for mums.

Dang!  I probably should have covered them.  But then, the soil is frozen rock hard.  I’m not sure that covering would have helped.

It’s funny, when I planted all of my bulbs a couple of weeks ago I thought I was planting them way too early.  But here we are in October with a hard freeze already.  I guess my timing was pretty good after all.  Likewise, I also pulled out all of my caladiums last weekend in preparation for saving them over the winter.  Just in time I think.

I used quite a few caladiums in my planters this summer.

That tall white one above was one of my favorites, as was the pink and green one I planted along with some double impatiens …

Caladiums are another fantastic way to add colorful foliage to your garden.  They will grow in full to partial shade and perform best with some dappled morning sunlight.

They are not fond of cold weather though.  Caladiums are only hardy in zones 9 – 11.  Here in my Minnesota zone 4 garden I have always treated them as an annual and just tossed them at the end of the season.  But, you know what?  Caladiums are kind of pricey.  They are around twice the price of other annuals that I plant.

So this year I’ve decided to try saving the bulbs for next year.

The first step was to dig them all up, and gently shake off any loose soil.  Do not rinse or wash off the dirt with water as this will make the bulbs more susceptible to rot.

Leave the foliage in place and allow the bulbs to ‘cure’ for a week or so (sound familiar, feels like we’re painting).  I just left mine in the potting shed on vintage plates to dry.

Once they are ‘cured’, or dried out, the leaves should drop off or at least be easy to pull away from the bulb.  Go ahead and remove all of the leaves.

At this point you should inspect your bulbs for any signs of damage or rot.  Be sure to toss any that are damaged, moldy or soft.  As they say, one bad apple (or in this case, caladium bulb) will spoil the bunch.

It seems like with the many caladiums I had, I should have a big pile of bulbs.  But after weeding out the bad ones (maybe about 25% of them were bad), I ended up with just this one plate full.

Then again, if each one of these becomes one plant, I have plenty!

Next up comes packing these away for winter.  The bulbs need to be kept dry, therefore the packing materials should allow them to breathe.  A cardboard box or paper grocery bag should work.  I’m choosing to nestle mine in a cardboard box filled with shredded paper.

I’ll put the box in the basement where they will stay cool, dry and out of sunlight.

The big trick for me will be remembering to pull them out again next spring.  I plan to pot them up indoors 4 to 6 weeks before our average last frost date.  With our short growing season here in Minnesota, it makes sense to give them a good head start before transplanting them out into my pots.

I’ve put a reminder on my calendar for the end of March.

Hopefully next summer I’ll have lots of beautiful caladiums and will have saved myself a few bucks by not having to buy them.  Wish me luck on that!

just for judy.

Thank you to those of you who took the time to leave an encouraging comment about my ‘sunday mornings in the garden’ posts. I was reminded that even though many of you never leave comments, you’re still out there reading and enjoying (hopefully) my posts.

I think the most surprising feedback I had was from my neighbor’s mom, Judy.  I popped across the street for lunch one day and Judy was visiting and she mentioned how much she enjoyed my gardening posts and wished I wouldn’t discontinue them!  I didn’t even realize she followed my blog.

So just for Judy, and the rest of you who said you didn’t want me to quit posting about the garden, I am going to continue with ‘sunday mornings in the garden’, just maybe a bit more sporadically.

Which brings me to today’s garden subject, fall color in the garden.  I have to say, I really do think fall is the most beautiful season of the year.  It’s an unfortunately short season, but I sure do enjoy it while it lasts.

Now I have to admit, I have not done all that well with adding fall color to my garden.  I don’t have a single tree that turns a beautiful color in fall.  Well … that’s not entirely true, I do have a huge maple next to the driveway that eventually turns a pretty yellow, but it’s not a show stopping orange or red.

But that photo is from a few years ago, this tree turns really late in the season and it’s only just starting to show a tiny bit of color now.

We’ve attempted to add pretty fall color trees to the front yard, but we’ve had bad luck with trees in that spot.

Since we’ve lived here we’ve had two trees in front that have come down in wind storms.  I feel like there’s something about this spot that funnels the wind through in some way.  The last one came down in September 2019 and we still haven’t talked ourselves into replacing it.

But gosh, that tree sure was pretty in the fall.

I think I’m talking myself into replacing it again as I’m writing this post!

Anyway, I also have to say that luckily I don’t have to just rely on trees in our yard to provide fall color, just down the street there are some trees that put on an amazing show every fall.

I get to admire those regularly from my piano room window.

In addition, you don’t have to rely solely on trees for fall foliage.  There are shrubs that provide some fabulous color too.  One of my favorites is Tiger Eye Sumac.

My Tiger Eye is planted right next to a Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea, and the flowers on that also turn a deep red as the season progresses.

And of course, all of my various hydrangeas add nice color to the garden in the fall.  The Limelight turns a pretty combo of pink and green.

I also get a surprising amount of pretty fall color from some of my perennials.  Have you seen how many gorgeous options there are out there for heuchera these days?

This one is called Fire Alarm, and it’s the perfect color for fall.

Believe it or not, there are also some varieties of hosta that change color nicely in the fall.

Not all hostas turn color like this, but if you google it you can find lots of recommendations for those that do.

I also rely a bit on annuals to add some fall color to my garden.

I feel like a few of my favorite garden vloggers have been dissin’ the mums lately, but I like to pop a few into my containers after pulling out the more brightly colored summer annuals.

I try to stick to a moderate budget of $100 for that though because the fall season just tends to be so short for us here in Minnesota.  I filled the front window box with some inexpensive mums from Home Depot, and then filled in with some of my dried hydrangeas.

I left the Lemon Coral sedum in place because it’s pretty hardy.  It won’t make it through the entire winter here in zone 4, but it can handle some freezing nights in fall.

But speaking of fall being a short season, we went from 80 degrees last Tuesday to snow on Friday.

So, I guess you could say our fall season lasted about three days this year.

The snow didn’t stick around long, it was gone by lunchtime.  But it was certainly a reminder that summer is definitely over and winter is coming.  We should all enjoy fall while it lasts!