async defer src="//" My Enchanting Cottage Garden: September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

10 Fabulous Fall Party Ideas

Fall is a great time of year for a garden party with the temperatures cool and crisp with spectacular fall foliage and cool breezes. Decorations for a fall harvest garden party are plentiful this time of year and are relatively inexpensive because everything is in season,  so call your friends and invite them over for a Fall Garden Party.

Grab a few bales of straw, cover them with a blanket or rug, and you’ll have all the seating you need.Fall is such a wonderful time of year to be outdoors with the


Begin by lining your walkway with carved pumpkins - - simple carvings to allow light to flow through the pumpkins looks beautiful lining both sides of your entrance. Gather fallen branches that still have the fall leaves on them and arrange them in pots on either side of the doorway or entrance to your backyard or garden.

 If you have a trellis and can move this to the entrance, decorate the trellis with fall leaves and branches to create a warm, inviting fall canopy as your entrance. Keep the seating and decorations within a fall them by using bales of hay, wooden benches & tables, and wrought iron chairs & tables to create a beautiful fall garden.

Use large pumpkins as serving pieces, vases and holders (clean inside as if you were going to carve the pumpkin but instead allow to dry and then fill with fall flowers or add a large cloth napkin and use it to hold chips, bread or other items. Small wooden buckets are perfect for holding the table wear while plant stands double for holding buckets containing other serving items.

 Use gourds and berry vines to decorate your food table and as centerpieces for other tables. For drinks, fill an old wooden box with ice and place bottles and cans into the ice to keep them cool. Wheelbarrows are wonderful for holding decorations or items for banquet. Place blankets over rocking chairs for those who get chilly and have a nice bonfire to roast hot dogs and make smores.

Hang lights throughout trees to give a soft glow as the sun begins to set. As for your buffet, choose food that guests will enjoy and that are easy to serve, carry and eat outside.

There are no rules for the food and you can be as simple or as creative as you can and your budget will allow.

Plow & Hearth

Sunday, September 29, 2013

10 Top Perennial Tulips

 Most tulips have a reputation for fizzling out after a couple of years. But if you select the right varieties and give them proper care, you can ensure a brilliant display every spring. Some tulip varieties come back better than others. . To ensure success, we recommend the basics of good Tulip culture: deep planting, regular spring and fall feeding with a bulb fertilizer, deadheading after bloom, allowing the leaves to yellow before removing, and minimal watering in summer.  To discover which tulips are good bets for long life, read on.


     1.    Go for Gold

'Olympic Flame' tulip is a Darwin hybrid tulip, one of the most reliable groups of tulips for perennial performance in the landscape. Its dazzling golden petals erupt with streaks of red, similar to a flickering flame. It grows up to 2 feet tall and blooms in mid- to late spring.





 2.  Cute Candy Cane


'Peppermint Stick' is a variety of species tulip (Tulipa clusiana) that features alternating red and white petals, reminiscent of the stripes on a peppermint candy. This sweet little bulb grows only 10 inches tall and blooms in early to midspring.








      3.     Enjoy Rich Color

'Negrita' is a Triumph tulip that blooms in shades of purple and blue. It's one of the most reliable varieties in this group of hybrid tulips. Its cheery flowers are borne on 18-inch-tall stems in midspring.


      4.     Perfect Perennial

Your search for a perfect perennial tulip may be over once you find Tulipa batalinii 'Red Hunter'. This 10-inch-tall species tulip explodes with brilliant red blooms nestled in blue-green leaves.




       5.     Go Green

Make your neighbors green with envy by growing the perennial Viridiflora tulip 'Spring Green'. A band of green runs through the center of each petal, transitioning to creamy white edges. This late-season bloomer grows about 16 inches tall.





    6.     Play It Again

'Honky Tonk' tulip will have you singing its praises if you grow it in your rock garden or flower border. Yellow petals blushed with peach overtones distinguish this species tulip that grows only 8 inches tall.



      7.     Frilly Find

'Flaming Parrot' tulip resembles a flamenco dancer with its ruffled petals of brilliant red and primrose yellow. Most parrot tulips fade quickly in the garden, but this one lasts for years if grown in a sunny site with good drainage.



      8.     Long-Lasting Lily

Late-season 'White Triumphator' is a graceful lily-flowered tulip that comes back year after year. It has large, long-lasting ivory white blooms with pointed petals that arch outward and stems that grow 2 feet tall.


      9.     Sing a Sweet Song

'Ballade' tulip finishes out the tulip season with its graceful two-toned petals of purple edged with lavender. When fully open, its yellow-centered blooms resemble those of a lily. It grows 16 inches tall.






     10.      Royal Showing

The 'Orange Emperor' tulip blooms in early spring with regal-size cup-shape orange flowers. Each petal has a flaming yellow base. The stocky plants grow just 14 inches tall.















Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Taste of Fall: Hard Cider

Hard Cider Serves Up Autumn in a Glass

In the United States, the term cider has always referred to apple juice but in England and other European countries cider means an adult beverage made from fermented apples. We know it as hard cider and it's been an American tradition since Colonial days. Now hard cider is back in vogue and has tripled in sales since the trend emerged in 2007.

 Why the recent surge in popularity? One reason is because hard cider is a light and refreshing alternative for drinkers who want something other than beer or wine that has a similar or lower alcohol content. It is also a natural gluten free beverage for the wheat intolerant.
 Like beer and wine, there are so many varieties available in the hard cider world that it's not hard to find the ideal choice—sweet, dry, sharp or bittersweet—to suit your taste. The whole farm to market movement has helped accelerate this trend with apple orchards, especially in the major apple producing states of Washington, New York and Michigan, partnering with cider makers to create flagship brews with local apples. Add to this the renewed interest of chefs and bartenders who are creating new dishes and cocktails with hard ciders and you have the makings of a culinary phenomenon. 

For many years, only a few major brands like Strongbow, Crispin and Woodchuck ruled the hard cider market but they are starting to face serious competition from such innovative start-ups as Jack's Hard Cider in Pennsylvania, Albemarle Ciderworks in North Garden, Virginia and Noble Cider in Asheville, North Carolina. Most of these smaller cider operations are dedicated to only using local apples from their state and are creating complex and distinctively flavored ciders. 

What sort of apples make the best cider? According to Shane Doughty of Jack's Hard Cider, "Your very tart, very acidic apples, such as crabapples, make good cider. And those aren't particularly great to eat. But industry wide, that's a difference of opinion with some people." Trevor Baker, for instance, with Noble Cider, has had great success using a variety of eating apples for their brews such as the Mutsu, the Crispin, Stayman-Winesaps, Courtlands and Jonagolds. His cider, which began its operation in 2012, also has plans to grow more than 30 apple varieties for future ciders such as "the older Colonial apples like Thomas Jefferson was growing—Newton Pippins and Roxbury Russet—as well as some British cider fruits and those from the Normandy area."

The alcohol level of most hard ciders is around 7.5 percent but there are more potent varieties available. "GoldRush, which we just started releasing, is ten percent," said Chuck Shelton of Albemarle Ciderworks. "There are state laws of what you can call cider. In Virginia, we've had to change it to allow for 10 percent alcohol. And that's determined by the amount of sugar in the apple in fermenting. We're not adding sugar to raise this at all. That was just a really high sugared apple that produced that." 

In general, hard ciders are produced within a sixty day period which allows sufficient time for the pressed apple juice to properly ferment and be ready to drink from the keg. If bottled, they are best enjoyed within the first two years of storage. Most ciders are carbonated though there are a few still varieties on the market such as Farnum Hill Extra Dry Still Cider from Lebanon, New Hamphire. Shane Doughty of Jack's Hard Cider said, "I would always recommend that people drink cider on the colder side, not room temperature. I think most ciders drink similar to a white wine where you'd want a little chill to them." 

Although apples have traditionally been the main ingredient for hard cider, some brewers are experimenting with other fruits and creating adventurous new blends. Noble Cider is planning on releasing a limited edition for the holiday season made from apples, spiced figs and raisins with the flavor profile of a Christmas pudding and Jack's Hard Cider has created both a peach cider and pear cider in addition to their signature brands. Jupiter's Legacy from Albemarle Cider is a special blend made from Virginia apples and apple juice from several bittersweet apple varieties in New Hampshire.

Top chefs who create food pairings with cider is another way people are learning about this classic beverage and its versatility. Baker suggests serving a dry cider with a charcuterie plate or with spicy meats like Eastern-style barbecue with a vinegar based sauce. Bartenders are also revisiting hard ciders in tried-and-true favorites like the Poor Man's Black Velvet, which is 1/2 pint lager or stout with 1/2 pint dry hard cider. Other mixologists are introducing more exotic concoctions like Waltzing with Vincent Price, a Halloween cocktail consisting of French hard cider with port, cognac and Benedictine which is served at La Belle Vie in Minneapolis. 

Reprint HGTV

Friday, September 27, 2013

10 Fun Fall Porch Decorations

It's officially autumn, and it's high time to change the summer decorations of your beautiful porch onto fall ones.  Use these pretty fall decorating ideas to add pizzazz to your porch this autumn. From gourds and wreaths to full porch displays, you're sure to find beautiful fall inspiration for your front entry.




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Winter Protect Your Roses Now

Roses are an expensive asset to our landscaping, so gardeners need to take a few precautions to protect this valuable asset.  With these four easy steps you can be assured of a bounteous display of blooms come spring.
Zone 4-7

      1.  Watering Roses During Fall

It is best to continue monitoring the amount of moisture that Mother Nature provides from now through just before the soil is frozen.

Before the soil is likely to stay frozen, you should thoroughly soak the soil so that the roots are well hydrated for the coming colder weather.

      2.       Stop Deadheading Rose Blooms

By mid-September, in the colder zones, you should stop the roses from re-blooming by not removing spent blooms. Roses need to store their energy for another season.

So around mid-late September, for repeat-flowering roses, you should start sending messages to the rose bushes, telling them to stop their reproduction efforts and to conserve energy in order to survive the coming winter and bloom again next season.

           3.       Clean Debris From The Beds

From mid-October onward until you are ready to take the final steps in winter protection, clean all debris such as old mulch, fallen leaves and flower petals, from the rose beds.

Trash all debris away from the rose beds in garbage cans to minimize disease carryover into next season.

Remove debris on a weekly basis as it accumulates, if not pulled off.

Veterans Day week in the US (late November), is a good target date for finishing pulling petals (not deadheading) and removing foliage from the rose bushes.
4.       Apply a winter mulch to mound about 6 inches, or higher, over the bud union of all the modern type full size roses, and lesser amount on miniature roses.

This is also a good time to consider spraying with  Dormant Oil Spray to kill any fungus spores and prevent any insect eggs from overwintering.


Wrap all canes of climbers and cold tender roses such as hybrid teas in several layers of burlap or a horticultural fleece material, and tie with rope to secure it. That's all there is to it for fall rose care.

 Zone 8-10

If you live in a warmer climate follow these steps

1.       In December cut the canes back and remove ALL leaves from plant.

2.       Add nutrients around the outer base of rose.  Use one cup per plant of bone meal or any other natural rose/plant food and one cup of Epsom salt.

3.       Water well to soak nutrients in then reduce watering  during the cooler winter months.

4.       Add mulch around the outer base of plant up to six inches.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Easy, Affordable DIY Backyard Fire Pit

Fall weather brings cooler temperatures but you are  still reluctant to head indoors, so stay outdoors and enjoy these nice cool, crisp autumn evenings with a backyard fire pit.

Bring out the marshmellows or smores and watch the twinkle of stars as you enjoy your own warm, crackling fire.

Create a cozy space for outdoor entertaining with a stone fire pit.

These directions are so easy to follow, anyone can build it.

Tools and Materials:
cast concrete wall stones
cap stones
tape measure
steel rake

Before building a fire pit, check the building codes in your area to get the proper specs and regulations. Choose a spot that is away from your house and away from any low-hanging trees or other structures. Take precautions when digging holes, so that you don’t hit utility lines.
1. Lay out your pavers in a circle in the approximate size and shape of your fire pit. Fire pits should be about 36 to 44 inches in diameter. Our surrounding patio is made from recycled rubber pavers. We laid the fire pit stones out to the correct dimension then pulled the pavers out of and away from the pit.2. When you have your circle roughed out, dig a 12-inch-deep hole in that location. 3. Pour sand into the bottom of the hole and tamp the sand level.
4. Begin to lay your wall stones around the perimeter of the hole. Continue stacking the stones so that they are 12 inches above the surrounding ground.
5. Pour a layer of sand into the ring of stones so that it covers the first layer, approximately 4 inches deep.
Courtesy of HGTV

Plow & Hearth
 All-In-One Fire Pit And Accessories 


Pine Bough Fire Ring