Saturday, November 17, 2012

November Comes and November Goes

 Pumpkins -- the epitome of autumn.

 “November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.”
Clyde Watson

November is more than half over and I have been busy with last minute garden maintenance. Hurricane Sandy left a mess to clean up, although mostly just downed branches and blown-over shrubs. We were without electricity for three days and I had to throw out all the contents of the refrigerator and freezer. The misery of no heat, water, lights, telephone or electronics was the worst of it. Now we have a generator on our wish list -- but they are so expensive. We borrowed a small one for the sump pump in the basement, so we avoided flooding there. I am not complaining because so many have lost everything, and thousands are still without power. We got off lightly in comparison.

A lot of debris to pick up.
Last weekend, H.H. emptied the compost bin; I sieved the 'black gold' and spread it on the vegetable beds. The weather was warm and sunny and I had pangs of spring fever as I worked, planning what vegetables to sow next year.

We have a new composter -- actually a 'different' one; not new. For a couple of years I have wanted a compost bin that can be rotated, as I find it very difficult to turn the compost with a fork. I just don't have the upper-body strength I once had. H.H. found a used compost bin for sale on Craig's list, and we decided to buy it. An important selling points was that the seller had put the item together, saving us a lot of work and anxiety. We are not very 'handy' people and there were a million screws, so this was probably a 'marriage saver'. I like the design -- it is insulated and has two compartments. I'm quite excited! (I know -- only an obsessive gardener would be excited about a compost bin!)

The 'new' compost bin.
The pond was winterized already, so after spreading compost on the kitchen-garden raised beds, I cut down many of the perennials in the cottage garden. The beds look much tidier, though boring ...

I didn't cut down the perennials loved by the birds, such as purple cone flower and black-eyed Susan.

I still have to put protective mulch on the less hardy and new plants, and straw on the strawberry bed, but they needed to go dormant first. The hard frosts of the last two nights have probably done it.

Every year at this time I lament that I don't have enough plants with winter interest in my garden. When I returned from my trip to England, a week before the storm, there were still a few interesting plants to enjoy.  I'm glad I captured some photographs of them ...

Clockwise from top left: stachys, vibernum, mini roses, fleabane, herbs, 'green lustre' holly.
Some leaves were still clinging to the maple trees
Now the trees are bare and the garden is looking rather desolate -- except for my grasses. I don't cut them down until the spring, so they do provide interest throughout the winter season. My favorite grass is Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrinus' or Zebra Grass.  In midsummer this exotic foliage develops distinctive golden horizontal bands. In late summer silvery-white plumes appear and last through winter.

Zebra grass in summer 
Plumes develop in the fall.
My zebra grass today.
Delicate plume of the zebra grass.
You need plenty of space for this plant which can be aggressive. I am so happy I have room for it. I planted my first zebra grass near Bluebell Creek, next to Troll's Bridge (named by my grandsons after playing many games of "Three Billy Goats Gruff" there.)

 I am choosing zebra grass for November's Dozen for Diana.  I am off to visit Elephant's Eye to see what Diana chose this month for her wonderful meme. I am also linking (late) to GBBD at Carol's May Dreams Gardens to share what is blooming around the world.

November comes and November goes -- I am amazed how fast the months pass. I can't believe the holiday season is upon us.  H.H. and I are taking a short vacation to celebrate his birthday which happens to be on Thanksgiving Day. He says he is the Big Turkey this year.

To all of my USA friends I wish a very happy Thanksgiving!

Pamela x

PS. I seem to have lost the blogging habit lately, but I resolve to write more often.

~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.