The end of November

11-23-13 shed & plantings6Got (almost) the last of the bulbs planted today.  I think today was the last big Fall push in the new ‘shed gardens’.  Planted 50 drumstick alliums, 8 little crocus chrysanthus (maybe Goldilocks – yellow w/deep maroon stripes), and another pot of 12 red/yellow tulips.  Still can’t find the bag of daff bulbs that is in the garage somewhere…  will look again tomorrow, but it’s really getting too late to plant.  Going down to 21F tonight.  Brrrr!  I just have to face it – what’s not done yet is gonna stay ‘not done’ for this gardening season.

The area around the shed looks really strange (see below).  Sorta polka-dotted.  Everywhere I’ve planted in this new area, I’ve also put down Preen mulch.  It was a way to keep track of where I planted things and where there were still ‘vacancies’ for things yet to be planted.  And Preen because I’ve got 4 trucks-full of fresh topsoil & compost (a 1.3 ratio), and also stirred up the dirt in that area when the stump grinding was done.  Goodness knows what’ll sprout, but you can be pretty sure it won’t be things I’ll be happy about!

The installation of the rain barrels is completed and I’m pleased with it.  Two barrels may look too ambitious for that little patch of roof, but one heavy rain comes close to filling one of them.  I intend to capture as much rainfall (aka – free water) as I can.  The paths in this large garden are emerging as I walk through it, over and over.  Already I’ve got a ‘mistake’ – the path leading up to the shed door is gravel.  NOT a good choice.  Can’t push the mower through it, or the wheelbarrow.  So, come spring, the gravel will come out and pavers will go down.  Live and learn.  I don’t know if it’s just too deep or what?

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Lots still just staged and waiting its turn (below)

  1. The pallets (5 of them) will be formed into double compost bins at the back right side  of the shed
  2. Pavers, wall stones, and mulch, waiting for their spot
  3. The holding spot for all the old daylilies I saved
  4. All the German Irises, waiting for a permanent home

11-23-13 shed & plantings411-23-13 shed & plantingsThe sweet pink Knockout rose (above), placed at the left front corner of the shed, still has buds.  But I think the cold temps tonight will end that.  I’m really looking forward to it in that spot.  I gave it plenty of room to grow & fill up that corner.  In the front of it I’ve planted a handful of snow crocuses (mixed) and behind is a clump of 15 Narcissus ‘Thalia’.

Below is my ‘infant’ red twig dogwood (cornus sericea, seems to be the native in Wisconsin).  I grew it over the summer from two twigs I snipped when I was in Wisconsin in early April this year.  It was the only color in the late winter landscape and it was everywhere!  I brought them home in my suitcase, kept them in water for a few weeks on the kitchen windowsill, then, with a bit of rooting hormone on the stems, I potted the twigs, which had sprouted tiny leaves.  I put a plastic bag greenhouse over them.  Kept them in a pot all summer and now they’ve moved into their permanent garden spot.  I was pleased to see they were root bound when I dumped them out of the gallon pot.  Hoping they survive the winter.  I look forward to their winter color a year from now.

11-23-13 shed & plantings3I’ve spent most all of my time working in the new beds out back.  Raking, which is always a last choice for me, was really let go this year.  Below, on the left, is my yard covered in leaves.  And on the right is my neighbor’s pristine grass, not a leaf in sight.  I feel bad when the wind blows south and sends all my leaves into his yard.  When I apologize, he says it works both ways…  he’s right tolerant.  One day I said, “Mike, why not get a chair, sit out back, and enjoy all the gorgeous yellow maple leaves drifting down and decorating your lawn”.  But that’s not his thing.  Different strokes.  His thing is raking daily, sometimes two or three times daily.  He’s retired, I’m not.

11-23-13 shed & plantings2I did mow the front yard one last time last Wednesday, so all those leaves are gone now.  Shredded, gulped up into the mower bag, and then added to the compost pile.  I can hardly wait til the compost bins are built.

My Christmas cactus has become a Veteran’s Day cactus.  It looked dreadful this spring, so I threw a little fresh dirt on it with some Osmocote, and put it on the side porch for the summer.  It put out SO much new growth I was amazed.  When I brought it back inside a few weeks back, it promptly budded up (over 30 buds).  The first one opened for Vet’s Day.  It’s still looking lovely and I’m enjoying it thoroughly.

11-23-13 shed & plantings5Today I also emptied all the various outdoor planters/pots and got them ready for winter storage.  Tomorrow I’ll rake leaves…  It’s almost done, almost…

Fall is like…

“We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done”.  -Book of Common Prayer

Fall is sort of like those lines from the Book of Common Prayer, isn’t it?

I have a gazillion things to be done outside and it’s a bright, sunny day (but cold & windy), so I should be out there taking care of various fall garden chores…   “left undone those things which ought to have done”.  I know once I get out there working, I’ll get warmed up, but I’m procrastinating.  Maybe after lunch, it’ll be warmer then.

Instead I’m inside, fooling around with all the seeds I’ve collected over this growing season.  And it’s a task that could easily be done on a winter day, long after the fall garden wrap up is complete… “done those things I ought not to have done” (right now, anyhow).

I never want to buy a plant twice – – – which is not the same as not wanting to grow it again, or not wanting to have more of the same.  I just don’t want to spend my hard earned $$ on it again.  It’s about collecting seeds!  Propagation.  I do it avidly in my own gardens and have been known to collect seeds in other places, too (garden centers, public gardens, friend’s gardens, gardens that grow street-side, in the wild… you get the drift, no seed is safe from me).  I save seed from the fruits & veggies I buy at the Farmer’s Market during the growing season.  Oh, and I do actually buy seeds, too, both locally and online.  And I exchange seeds with my Flickr friends.

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Just a small portion of my bags of seeds

Just a small portion of my bags of seeds


Anyhow, I’m working on all these seeds, cleaning, packaging, & labeling.  I get to the tiny 2×3″ plastic bag where I’ve been stuffing the ‘almost ready to pop’ dry seed pods from the annual silky deep red butterfly weed (asclepias ) I grew this summer.  I mean, the unopened pods are stuffed tight in the bag.  There are easily a dozen and a half pods.  I let very few of them open in the garden.  So, I grab hold of the stems and pull them all out… you know what’s coming, don’t you?  If you know what milkweed seed pods look like and how the seed disperses, you know.

flowers and seeds

flowers and seeds

Every one of those pods popped open, simultaneously!  They’d been waiting to disperse their seeds for ever-so-long and those babies were ready, and I mean READY!  And that’s exactly what they did!!  All over my work area in the corner of the living room!  And all over me!  Oh my!  How I wish I had a video of this event to share with you!  And then I started laughing, and they blew around even more!  I’ll undoubtedly have bits of this ‘fluff’ all  over for some time to come!  I did manage to capture most of them and stuff them in a new, larger baggie.



And, yes, I’ll plant those seeds next year.  But next year I’ll collect their seed a bit differently,with a bit more intelligence and understanding of the ways of this beautiful  red and yellow butterfly weed.

My new garden shed with trim not yet painted dark brown.

My new garden shed with trim not yet painted dark brown.

I’m working (or should be) on planting the area where I just had a garden shed built.  And I need to finish painting the shed door and trim (white trim now, will all be chocolate brown when – if – it ever gets done).  All those sale plants purchased end of season will be planted there.
It’s so gorgeous out today!  Fall leaves are just exquisite, showing their crayon box reds and yellows!  I’d best get out there and quit procrastinating…

4:30 PM update – Yay me!  Got out there & got some things done.  Once I get started, I’m a ball o’ fire :-).  And, sure ’nuff, hadn’t been working 15 minutes before I shed my jacket.

Planted and mulched:

  • 1 Beautyberry (callicarpa dichotoma ‘early amethyst’)
  • 10 reblooming German irises ‘Immortality’ (soft white)
  • 2 Ilex crenata ‘Helleri’
  • 1 Pink Knockout Rose (rosa x ‘radcon’ PP#15070)
  • 10 clumps of grape hyacinths (dug up prior to removal of the driveway fence)
  • a handful of mystery crocus bulbs (were mixed in with grape hyacinth bulbs above)
  • a Eupatorium Hyssopifolium (don’t know common name, but reminds me of the wildflower called boneset, which is also a eupatorium).
  • Rudbeckia ‘Henry Eilers’ (moved from an unsuitable place; I failed to read the height on the plant tag when I originally planted it and put it at the front edge of a bed).

Also got the gutter guard put on the back gutter of the shed where my rain barrels will be located.  In a climate with below freezing winters, do you empty out the rain barrel in late fall??

And I got the path from the front of the shed to the edge of the grass ready for gravel by putting down the landscaping cloth and placing the pavers at the edges to hold it down.  Now I need to get the gravel, but not today.  Whew!  I’m bushed!