Friday, October 30, 2015

An Autumn Drive in Northern New York

Mirror Lake, Lake Placid, NY

We like to go for drives/rides this time of year - in the fall, when the leaves are turning colors.

The landscape is truly nature's beautiful palette. So many colors of reds, yellows, greens, browns, oranges, and against the background of the blue sky and white, puffy clouds the views are just amazing. And the smells, too! When the leaves have fallen, and they start to decay, you can smell the slight pungent odor of the leaves after a rain. That's when you know that fall is here and winter will follow soon in autumn's footsteps.

When we go for a leisurely ride in our car, it usually always involves a ride to either the mountains, a forest, or some type of water (that could be a river, a pond, a lake or a waterfalls, etc.), and usually we're lucky if we can get all three in on one trip.

And in the fall we usually head up to the Adirondack Mountains. From our place, in Mexico, NY, we can get up there in about 2+ hours. Of course that depends on how many times we stop for photos along the way of any of the above three mentioned items (mountains, forests, or water).

We're so lucky in New York State to be able to experience all four seasons of nature, and each with its distinctive qualities. The fall, as the days get shorter, allows for the transformation of the summer greenery in the landscapes of trees, flowers, and fields, to turn a golden yellow or brown, and other rich, glowing fall colors.

Whiteface Mountain (in back) from Lake Placid, NY.

The days can be brisk from cool mornings, to a warm and sunny afternoon. And then you have the autumn rains and wind that finish off the colorful leaves left hanging on the trees by disposing of them on the ground to be blown around the house and then to be raked up or left until spring. And you could even be surprised by a snow flurry or even an accumulation of snow this time of year.

Several areas of the Country experienced the effects of Hurricane Patricia as well as we did, too. In the last few days our areas have had high winds with some people experiencing power outages, and lots of rain. We were fortunate that we did not get as much damage as several areas of the south experienced. Personally, we just had some small branches come down.

Only in New York, in October (and no, that's not Ted)

So back to our autumn drives around the area - this year we headed up to the Lake Placid area. Home to the winter Olympics of 1932 and 1980. There is a museum there that you can tour for the history of the games as well as visiting the sites where the competitions were held. And you might be able to see some athletes in training for the next Olympics.

Lake Placid also offers some great eateries as well as some great shopping. We had lunch at The Cottage Restaurant, which is a pub-like restaurant offering wonderful views of Lake Mirror and the High Peaks. They have a woodburning fireplace both inside and out, and it was warm enough the day we visited so we were able to dine outside.

On a separate day, we took off for an afternoon drive on some of the dirt roads in northern Oswego and Jefferson Counties. With the heavy winds we've had the last couple of days, most of the leaves were down in that area, but the leaves scattered on the ground and in the woods make for delightful woodland fairy scenes.

Hope you are able to welcome in the "Trick-or-Treaters" or catch some of them in costumes at your local venues. I just love watching all the little goblins and ghouls running around the neighborhoods in search of their sweet treasures!

May Jack-o-lanterns burning bright
Of soft and golden hue
Pierce through the future’s veil and show
What fate now holds for you.
~Author Unknown

Feel free to leave a comment. 
Would love to hear from  you ~

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Blank Page . . .

As I stare at this blank page I'm pondering what I'm going to write about today. How technical do I want to get about "gardening stuff"? Maybe I just want to share some photos and thoughts on this page. Or some chores that you need to do this time of year.

One of my friends asked me a few months ago if I was worried I was going to run out of ideas to write about. I answered her, "Well, I can always find something to write about, even if it's about dirt." Well, here's the scoop on dirt! No, not really. I don't feel like writing about dirt right now. Maybe in the winter when there's not too much blooming or the skies are displaying their drab colors.

Actually we're getting closer to winter now. Can you believe it snowed in Mexico, New York earlier this week (October 18, 2015)? Yes, we actually got 8" of snow! I don't think it got above 38 degrees that day and we got our first frost. Not a very heavy frost, but a frost. I guess this is the end of our growing season.

I got quite a bit of my fall gardening chores completed the last few weeks with the help of my husband, Ted. I still have some hostas and other perennials to cut back and it's supposed to warm up this week, so I think I will still have time to finish most of gardening jobs before we get the big snows.

Today I write about Color! Color in the landscape and color in the sky! I'm not a professional landscaper, just a home gardener (and mostly flowers at that). I've learned by trial and error. Probably mostly error. But I try to keep my losses and mistakes to a minimum. When purchasing new plants for a garden I usually buy one and see how that does in my soil, climate, and environment. If the plant doesn't make it, and I really like the plant, I might buy another one and try it again. And usually after that I'll give up on a plant and find something else.

Plants with different color combination and textures make a garden interesting and can create moods of relaxation or excitement. But sometimes this can be very difficult to achieve. Especially when you have plants where the colors look great together, but in reality those same plants bloom at different times of the year. Some might bloom in spring and others in late summer. As an example, you can plant them together and even though they bloom at different times of the year they might compliment each other in their shape, color or texture of the leaves and stems. Many plants have more attractive leaves than they do flowers. Different colored leaves can blend your flowers and plants together.

When I'm planting perennials in my garden, I usually select a plant by it's color, size or shape. Not specifically for an overall plan, but that's usually my first priority. If it's visually appealing to me and it's the right height I'll try it out. Also, a lot of plants might look wonderful in a photo, but when you see it in person it could be much smaller or larger than you expected. Or it could also be a plant that is very much an aggressive grower and over grows its boundaries. Be sure to check labels on plants before you buy them for the size and requirements of that plant. Fall is a good time to plant shrubs and trees as well, as long as you can plant them at least six weeks before a heavy frost is expected so the roots can settle in. It might be a little late here, but trees do well when planted in the fall.

I'm also sharing photos from some of my friends and their beautiful gardens this past season.  And some of my favorite photos from this past year as well.

Also, as most of you have noticed, I haven't posted my blog lately. I had a busy and enjoyable summer spending time with my family and friends. Also, when it was too hot to do any gardening outside, I started a queen-sized quilt for us to replace a well-worn out one. I finished the quilt top a few weeks ago and now it's at the quilt shop being machine-quilted.

A garden "bed"! Created by Colleen & Phil McAllister. Photo by Colleen McAllister.

Photo by Cynthia Kresman Hatalak of one her gardens
with beautiful varergated New Guinea impatiens.

I think we had a very beautiful summer, and September was gorgeous as well.

While the fall colors have been beautiful, I don't think they have been as brilliant as they have been in previous years.

I hope you get the chance (if you haven't already) to get out and maybe explore your area for the fall changes in the landscape. The fall colors look so glorious against a bright blue sky.

And it's also a good time to go for a ride in the country and check out the fall produce at the farm stands. Pumpkins, winter squash & apples!

One of Sandy Nichols-Leinbach's beautiful garden borders (Photo by Sandy). 

A photo shared by Judith Lembree of one of her colorful perennial borders. 

Another photo from Judith Lembree.

A photo I took of my friends' (Jan & Jim Tighe) backyard retreat.

Here is a very extensive guide to color in your garden from UGA (Georgia) Extension: Landscape Basics: Color Theory

And a special thank you to my friends, Cynthia Kresman Hatalak, Judith Lembree, Sandy Nichols-Leinbach, and Colleen McAllister for allowing me to share their photos on this blog post.

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, 
than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

Thanks for taking the time to 
check out my blog post. 

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