Six on Saturday – 22OCT2022 – Sadness and Gladness

Monday through Thursday this week it was raining, and windy – many leaves have fallen and the spectacular fall foliage I showed last week have pretty much gone around here. And while we’ve had a few cold nights this month, with temperatures at the freezing mark, a frost has yet to settle in. Peppers and chard are still producing, and anemones, dahlias and other flowers are still blooming in my garden. Other areas not too far away have had killing frosts, I know, but for now, here, I’m quite happy with this extended warm autumn. The Six things in my garden this week are fall oriented though – to see more like this from the northern hemisphere, as well as some spring gardens from the southern, head over to Jim’s Garden Ruminations site.

I’m going to start with something sad, just to get it over with. Emerald Ash Borer is a beetle that arrived in Canada about 20 years ago and reached The County a few years ago. It made itself known in my garden early last year, when I noted a few ash trees (Fraxinus) in decline. This year, many are plain dead and by this time next year I’ll have lost a few dozen, some quite old and big and beautiful. Ash trees were one of the dominant species in many parts of the County and this summer the devastation has been very apparent when driving pretty much anywhere. If you’d like to read more about the beetle here’s a fact sheet, and here is a branch on a dying tree in my front yard, the tell-tale holes a giveaway that this tree has likely seen its last summer.

Emerald Ash Borer holes on an Ash tree branch.

A much happier story is how I came across a nut lying in the driveway a few weeks ago. It had an unusual shape, and I didn’t think there were any nut trees on the property, aside from a few Butternut trees on the opposite side. I looked up and, lo and behold, a tree beside the driveway had many more such nuts hanging still in the branches. It’s a Shagbark Hickory – Carya ovata – no wonder the squirrels are so happy around here! Here’s the tree:

The leaves on the Hickory tree are a beautiful butter yellow this autumn.

Another reason squirrels might be happy are the sunflowers I grew – they didn’t do too well this year though, and even this one, the best of the lot, looks more bug-eaten than rodent-eaten:

Pretty much all the coneflowers and Black Eyed Susan’s are done for the year, but here and there a late bloom is still poking up, such as these white Echinacea:

I’ve yet to plant the hundred or so new tulip bulbs waiting patiently by the back door (next week…) but I did get into the ground the funky tuberous roots of a Foxtail lily (Eremurus robustus) – something I’ve long wanted to grow. I scattered seeds from several asters around the planting hole and I’ll likely add a few daffodil bulbs as well to provide interest all next year. Fingers crossed it’ll survive!

More bulbs, but this time the gladioli bulbs I pulled out last week. Some are huge and there are a gazillion bulbils… These will spend the winter in a paper bag in the basement, along with some calla lily bulbs and a tuberous Begonia, waiting to be planted again at the end of May.

I’m saving about three dozen Gladiola bulbs…

Hope everyone has a great week ahead – it’s supposed to be in the high teens (low sixties, Fahrenheit) and sunny here – perfect for end of season gardening!


  1. Good luck with the eremurus bulb. I fell in love with this pretty flower a long time ago and I was planning to add one, but I’m afraid it may catch the damp cold of your winters… I’ll have to google to learn a little more. I haven’t plant my spring bulbs yet either but they are all already in the garage ready for the next weeks

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    1. It was hit and miss for me as well…the stalks weren’t as tall and blossom-laden as I had hoped but, like you, that was probably due to our dry summer. They’re easy enough to lift though, and don’t take up much room…

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  2. Oh, that really is awful about the ash. As an arborist, I hear about it often, but fortunately never experience it. Even if it were to come here, ash are uncommon, and I currently work with none directly. Shagbark hickory is one that I wanted to add to my home garden years ago, but never did. I met a few hickories in Oklahoma, as well as pecan. I still intend to add pecan to the garden.

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    1. As well as being native to southern Ontario, ash was used extensively as a street tree in cities. Toronto, for example, planted 860,000 over the years…the gaps in the tree canopy there will have major implications…

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      1. Dutch elm disease was a deterrent to the monoculture street trees that were so common in the large tract neighborhoods in cities that expanded significantly in the 1950s. It came here also, but was not so destructive since elms were not so common. Some tracts still install monoculture street trees, but to a lesser degree. It is unfortunate that some of the cities that were affected most by Dutch elm disease used so many ash afterward, while cities here learned from their mistake.

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    1. I’ve just had my chainsaw tuned up – ash makes pretty good wood for the stove so I’ll be lumberjacking in a few weeks…enough wood for a few years, I think, and with propane prices rising (a propane furnace is our secondary heat source in the winter) I anticipate also using the felled trees for something positive.


  3. So sad about the ash trees, I’m sorry they’re being lost. I very much like the look of the eremurus flowers, a species I’m not familiar with. It will be interesting to see yours when they flower.

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  4. So sorry about your ash trees, it seems that one by one our native trees are succumbing to invasive parasites and viruses. I wonder what will be left? At least you have a SB hickory. It is my favorite nut, the flavor is like a really rich walnut. The meat is tough to extract, but worth it, IMO. You have to first beat the squirrels to them – they love them, too!

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  5. We’re steadily losing our ash trees to a disease but at least there is some prospect of them eventually recovering from the small percentage of resistant trees. That’s probably much less likely with an insect pest. Every year there are new problems but the old ones don’t go away.

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  6. Good luck with the Foxtail Lily! I dared plant a couple more after my success this spring, but I know how fussy they can be so am trying not to raise my hopes! So sad about the ash trees. There always seems to be something affecting one tree or another. Here we have several bark beetles that attack pines and spruce. Sometimes areas are designated as quarantine areas and the removal of wood is prohibited. It works for a while…

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    1. Exactly…it works for a while…I so clearly remember the first reports of EAB in Canada – about 500 km west of us… government clearcut a huge swath of ash trees to create a barrier, and banned movement of firewood and lumber from the area..

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  7. Very sad about the ash trees, we have ash dieback here which is taking its toll. Ash seem to be in for a tough ride at the moment. Still lots of positives in your garden. I love eremurus, looking forward to seeing it flower next year. Enjoy your warm spell.

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