October is for enjoying the harvest and finishing up the growing season.

Garden Enthusiasm


Apples, Bulbs, Autumn Chores -Oh My

That is the summary of this time of year for me in Ohio. Apples are in season and there is fresh apple cider at the farm markets; pumpkins and gourds are to be found for decorating; I have bulbs to plant, raking loads of leaves (a leaf vacuum sure comes in handy), and fall cleanup on my agenda.

Everything is orange and gold, with touches of purple and pink- and it's all gorgeous.

Chrysanthemums rule the perennial border, but foliage reigns and takes center stage in the landscape at large. I always found that taking notes of what I like when it is in its peak season gave me ideas for what I wanted to plant in my yard. What trees and shrubs give the best color in my region? Which flowers are blooming and would look together in a seasonal border or for cut flowers?

For those with smart phones there are great apps to quickly note your observations. I like Evernote. It is something that I installed on my phone and on my computer, easy to use and in today's busy life, a real time saver. Do you use Evernote yet? It comes in both free and premium versions.

Garden Bloggers Conference

I attended a garden blogger's conference, the first of its kind, ever, as a matter of fact. There are people, some like me, some who are designers, some who are in the plant industry, who want to give something of value to the gardeners of the world and to spark new enthusiasm for this wonderful occupation of our minds and hearts called gardening.

Everyone I touched base with felt it was helpful and informative, and I can tell you there are new bloggers coming up and some that are working very hard to earn your love and eyeball time.

You have to love garden people! We all share a connection with our earth, a love for growing and nurturing flora and fauna, and our gardening is something which gives to us while helping us give to others. I saw a lot of that spirit at the conference. Put on by Design Sherpa, they did a really great job, and I appreciated the work that went into creating something that truly was aimed at improving and supporting garden writing. I'll be making some reports, but if you want to look at the momentary blogpost on IGJ: Blog Conference Revives Old Blogger (that is me!)

Working On : Bulbs

Garden chores report
I bought lots of bulbs this fall and they are sitting at home waiting for me to put them into the ground.

The Tulips had run out after a number of years and I am putting bunches in so that I have something beautiful to look at from the kitchen window. I always call tulips 'the lipstick of the garden',  and I felt ready to freshen up the look of next spring's garden.

Are you ready for more tulips and other spring bloomers? Try my pages for refreshers on how to plant, or which ones will tend to be more perennial.

What's happening on the sites?

I'm working on a page about Chrysanthemums, but it won't be published in time for this newsletter, since I am still in Atlanta after attending the Garden Bloggers Conference.

Since what I learned will be giving me lots more ideas to work into Ilona's Garden I am open to hear any ideas you have for what makes a site something of value for you. I'll be posting pages just for reader comments in Ilona's Garden Journal and on Ilona's Garden website. This year has sure been one for change in my garden and on my sites.

I was also given advice to change the template... so the look will change again ( I know- I'm worse than an interior decorator that way).
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If you like the newsletter or any of my pages, please do share them.

Thanks :)



For October:

Speaking of planting tulips- lots of people use a bulb planting tool to make holes for each bulb. I never liked to do that. I prefer to dig out a rectangular area to the depth of the bulb ( usually 8 inches), place the bulbs according to their spacing and cover all at once.

The bulb planting tool is useful if you wish to remove a plug of dirt in sod and place bulbs for naturalizing. Daffodils and small bulbs are best for that manner of growing. In any case, I usually used a nurseryman's spade which is a narrow, smaller bladed shovel.

However, if you like bulb planters, there is nothing wrong with that and I'm not recommending one way or the other. The tool and method easiest for you is the one to choose.

This is the tool I call a nurseryman's spade:
Seymour 29-Inch D-grip Handle Drain Spade

Here is a bulb planting tool:
Yard Butler Long Handled Bulb Planter

Time to clean your tools

Except for rakes and bulb planting tools, it is time to get those tools ready for winter storage.


Spiced Maple Pecan Pumpkin Bread

1/2 cup butter
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 organic eggs
1 1/4 cups pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Bread: In a large bowl cream the butter, maple syrup, eggs,pumpkin, and vanilla. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl: flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the pecans.
Fold wet ingredients into the dry 'til just incorporated, do not overmix. Spoon into a well greased loaf pan. Bake 350 for 1 hour, until toothpick comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup organic butter
1/2 cup agave nectar

Frosting: Cream all the ingredients together well.

Optional: Add 2 tablespoons flax and 3 tablespoons sour cream/ greek yogurt.

Good Links

Oh Grow Up!
Check her tasty  tomato reviews.

Studio G
One of the speakers and finalists in the Garden Blogger Conference.

Born 2 Grow
Voted best new blog and I think you will love this organic veggie grower.


The pumpkin bread is one my daughter makes and finds it a huge success with everyone who tries it.
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