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.


  1. Bluebell Creek has gained a Troll's Bridge ;~) I have you hooked on naming the parts of your garden! My zebra grass battles, but I'm a bit nervous when I see how big it could get. I'm a sucker for interesting leaves and my zebra lives in Summer Gold.

  2. You really nailed the season with this post Pam--I liked the poem a lot too. Sorry you suffered in the storm-- I hate it when the power goes off. Tidy boring winter beds sound familiar. Happy holidays!

  3. The months seem to have whizzed by this year, I can't believe we'll soon be in to December. So pleased to hear that you've got over Hurricane Sandy, we've heard lots about it on the news over here, it's been dreadful, I know. The composter looks great, it will really help you in the task of turning the heap.

  4. I'm sorry to hear that Sandy caused you trouble! We certainly take power, heating and water for granted and it's not until these awful things happen that we realise how essential they are!
    Your garden is looking lovely and I love to see beds that are all bare waiting for all sorts of possibilities.
    Great composted - I'm sure it will mix you up a great batch!

  5. Pam, so glad you made it through the storm. How are the animals? Miniature horses make it through fine? Three days would be misery here with my fish and cockatoo. We need a generator too but my husband is not too keen on one and he can even to the install. He thinks it will get stolen in the city.

  6. Even though I have winter interest here and there, I still don't like the empty, desolate look of the garden in winter. It's so sad! But it does give us time to rest.

  7. That Sandy sure got around! We even saw her here in Ohio. It's tough to be without power, especially when it's so cold. I'm glad it wasn't worse for you.

  8. Your raised beds look beautiful with all that fresh compost. I am glad that Sandy wasn't too bad for you. We were in Maine so avoided the whole thing except a downed cherry tree here. I worry about miscanthus because it is so invasive. It is the scourge of Valley Forge Park. I still have one left and try to cut the flowers off before it seeds. I am blogging less too.

  9. I hope Mother Nature has thrown her last punch for 2012, we have all had more than enough of freak weather for a long time - some boring, normal weather would be nice for a change!
    Nice to see you tucking up your garden for the winter, here in London, gardening never really stops up :-)

  10. How awful to be without power - what a terrible time you have had with this dreadful storm.

    I was cheered to see those veggie beds mulched with black gold - so full of hope for next year! Time to snuggle up and drool over seed catalogues.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. I can't believe that Zebra grass flowers like that! I've had mine in my own English (and therefore very wet) garden for the past three years and it has never flowered. It does come back each year and I love it, but I'll hold my breath for it to put on a show like yours in the U.S!

  12. That miscanthus is lovely but WOW look at the size of those lilies! They must be 8 feet tall. Sorry to hear about the power outages. We lose our water when the electricity goes and I know how awful that can be. Three days would be very difficult. Finding a generator that it capable of powering all you need is a tall order too.

  13. Haha! I laughed at your "obsessive gardener" comment because I was excited for you as I read about your new composter. I'm so glad you didn't have lasting damage from Sandy. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  14. I feel the same remorse each winter at not having enough for interest.... and I am in a bit of a blogging slump at the moment as well. Perhaps they are tied together?

    We had our first snow this weekend. The kids were so thrilled, so I tried to smile as well :) Happy thanksgiving and birthday wishes to your HH!

  15. Pam,Without electricity for three days, I would be pulling my hair out, as you say many suffered far worse. The Zebra grass has been in our border for a good few years, doesn't behave like yours, of course it doesn't flower in Scotland but I was pleased to see how fascinating they looked. In fact this past Summer was so cool the stripes didn't even develop.

  16. Your garden beds look so nice. Was thankful to hear you all were spared the brunt of the storms. Hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving.

  17. Hi Pam,
    Nice blog glad to have found it.
    I'm not too far from the Pocono's in Drums, PA.

  18. Wonderful to see your post today Pam. I'm glad you made it through Sandy's wrath without too much damage. I know from experience(Hurricane Ike) how hard it can be without electricity for any amount of time. We also want to get a generator.

  19. I am new here. Just read your blog and like it very much. Your vegetable beds are already ready for spring, that looks very tidy. I am gardening in Europe, The Netherlands.

  20. belatedly enjoying the November tour Pam - and thanks for the ID on the Zebra grass. Was admiring the plumes in Regents Park recently and wondered what they were