Fall has officially arrived and now we go into the half of the year when the nights are longer than the days. The cool weather has been so welcome after the long HOT summer. We could use more rain but it certainly isn’t as dry as summer. Many of the Heartland Harvest Garden plants weathered the summer well and are ripe with fruit or have a second wind with repeated bloom.
Grandpa Ott’s Morning Glory is in radiant bloom in the Author’s Garden. This plant inspired Seed Saver’s Exchange as it was brought from Germany to Iowa by Seed Saver’s Exchange co-founder Diane Ott Whealy’s grandfather. Yes, these are plants grown from Seed Saver’s.
Here is another heirloom plant: Baseye’s Purple Rose from the Antique Rose Emporium in Texas. This rose has single flowers of darkest red and produces edible hips–it reflowers nicely through the season. Look for it between the Vineyard and Author’s Garden.
Roses are good at having a second round of flowering now. Here is ‘Falling in Love’ hybrid tea rose in the Vineyard. Hybrid tea roses have been grown with grapes for centuries and considered the canaries in the mineshaft to grapes. In other words, they indicate cultural problems before they show on the grapes. This is the only place you will find hybrid tea roses at Powell Gardens, and our plants are young, own root plants.
This rose is in the Apple Celebration Court where shrub roses are utilized as companion plants to apple trees. It’s our own seedling of the Rugosa Rose cultivar ‘Njnveldt’s White’ and has the most delicious rose petals and largest, most flavorful hips of any rose we grow. Consider using rose petals for a floral flavor in a salad besides making perfume with them.
Our Perennial Mullein (Verbascum chaixii ‘Alba’) is also reblooming spires of white in the Apple Celebration Court. They are planted here as a companion to apple trees because they are considered a trap crop for stink bugs that can damage apple fruit.
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is another companion plant to the apples–it attracts pollinators and beneficial insects! It has a wonderful anise aroma to all its foliage and makes a great tea. My favorite part of it is the licorice-tasting florets; it is one of the finest edible flowers. I also like it for blooming almost all summer and all the wonderful butterflies and bees it attracts.
The Quinces (Cydonia oblonga) are also near ripening. I love the beauty of these large, aromatic fruit. Quince are best enjoyed baked as they turn a beautiful pink color when cooked besides becoming soft and palatable! The quince tree between the Vineyard and Author’s Garden is currently laden with fruit.
This weird fruit is of the Medlar (Mespilus germanica) and is related to our hawthorns. The fruit is not even close to ripe but is at full size and color. This fruit must blett (rot!) to be palatable! Matt Bunch likes the fruit to drop and weather a bit into December when they soften and have a somewhat apple sauce-like flavor and consistency. Look for Medlar in the Missouri Star Orchard Quilt Garden.
My favorite ‘Nikita’s Gift’ Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana x D. kaki) is recovering from the wild winter a couple seasons back and producing fruit again! This hybrid between the native persimmon and the big Oriental persimmon combines the best of both.
Our Kieffer Pear (Pyrus communis) is loaded with pears again. It certainly is our top producing pear every season. Look for it between the Author’s Garden and Peach Court.
The Vineyard Arbor is starting to get the ambiance we wanted with grapes covering the structure to add shade and interest. Missouri’s state grape: Cynthiana / Norton is sure loaded with grapes this season. Grapes were one plant that really loved our hot, dry summer!
Here’s a closer view of the grape-laden Cynthiana / Norton vines. They sure make my favorite Missouri wines and I like to eat them fresh as well. Come out to Powell Gardens and experience the beauty and bounty of the Heartland Harvest Garden. It is full of all sorts of unique plants that offer beauty as well as culinary delights.