Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Winding Down

The new shape of my North Border, with extraneous plants and weeds removed. The curvy front area will be my new Summer Border, and the back part that currently holds perennials will be the all-evergreen Winter Border after I move things around next spring. The vividly green patch of grass on the left end is newly planted this fall, as I'm making the border shorter and that end was too shady. 

Things are winding down here in my gardens and I've been taking care of the final tasks of the year before winter comes:
  • I got the last of the 1,200 bulbs planted
  • My husband and I put away most of our garden furniture and statuary
  • I carried the large potted plants down to the basement, where they will spend the winter under lights
  • We've been mulching some of the tree and shrub beds

A larger task over the past few weeks has been to work in the North Border, which I am planning to completely redesign next Spring (see above photo). I have cut back the perennials, pulled out the many weeds and tree saplings that have grown up over the summer, and removed all annuals and any perennials that I don't want to move next spring. Plus I made a list of what perennials are planted there, so I can think about where to move them while planning over winter. All this will make my job easier in spring, when moving things to the new Summer Border and other locations.

I potted up a few bulbs in another attempt at forcing them over winter.
My attempt last winter was a total, utter failure, as I'll relate in another
(very embarrassing) post sometime....

Thankfully, there is little raking of leaves to be done in our gardens -- one of the good things about living on a windy hill in the country is that most of the leaves just blow away into the fields. (The rarity of powdery mildew and other fungal diseases is another benefit.) I'll rake the few remaining leaves out of my flower beds in the spring.

The Yellow Garden still shows some gold hues even in November, and the North Island, behind it, is newly mulched.  

There are just a few final flowers still blooming in mid-November. We've had a number of light frosts, but nothing below 26°F or so. The tender annuals are long gone and the roses seem to be done for the year, although there are still a few last hardy flowers:

Don't these snapdragons look as lush as in late spring?
What a great flower, and a great value in the garden.
They seed around in many spots for free, and they
bloom almost non-stop from May until late November.
AND they're one of the best cutting flowers too!

Near the snapdragons are these last yellow petunias,
which are still blooming in their protected spot next
to the house.
These mums have been in flower since September in these window boxes.
Violas are so cute!
This Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum) thinks it's spring again!

This gold lamium still has all its colorful leaves, and is
even starting to set flowers again. Doesn't it know
that winter is nearly here?

My Pacific Giant delphiniums are aiming for a third round
of flowering this year. We'll see if they have time to
open their flowers before this weekend's predicted hard freeze
does them in....

I bought these stocks (Matthiola) in April. When the summer got hot, I put them under the edge of my porch roof,
 so that they only get morning sun. I cut them back in summer and they bloomed again by September and are still going. They are so fragrant that they are one of my favorite flowers, one that I have on my porch every year. I'm thinking about trying to overwinter them indoors -- has anyone had any luck doing so? Will they continue to bloom inside my house, or in my basement under lights? (The spiky foliage is from freesia bulbs that I planted but that disappointingly never flowered.)

Anyway, it's good to have most of the fall work taken care of, now that a hard freeze is coming (down to 15°F, they predict). We've had a pretty warm November thus far, so I really can't complain. Time to move on to inside projects and cozy wood stove fires.

Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends to gardeners here in the US, and for an enjoyable Stir-up Sunday to my UK friends -- thanks for reading! -Beth


  1. Yikes! Your grass is still so green! Here in California it is a sin to have green grass these days. You can have brown grass, plastic grass or gravel grass. There are drought-shamers, too, who are vigilantes and post pictures of people's gardens who don't obey the latest water restrictions. Awful. What a shame. Shame on the shamers. I like the way grass smells when it is cut.

    Funny, too, the nurseries are now selling snapdragons for next year's gardens. Snow-in-summer is pretty soon gonna be snow-in-winter.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, too.

    1. Hi Jane, Yes, we've had pretty regular rain this summer and fall, so the grass didn't turn brown like it does in drought years. I'm so sorry CA is still under drought conditions, and that people are so tyrannical about it. But it must be nice to buy annuals to flower over winter -- snaps are actually perennial in zones 7-8. Sometimes in a mild winter the ones close to my house will stay evergreen. We may have green grass, but you get flowers all year round. :-) Thanks for reading! -Beth

  2. It has been amazing this fall to have so much time to work and still see so much green...but the winter storms are coming across the country so stay safe and warm.

    1. Hi Donna, I'm glad you've been enjoying warm fall days too, and I hope you weather the winter storms safely too. Safe travels at Thanksgiving, if you will be traveling. Best, -Beth

  3. Hi Beth, I have enjoyed reading about your plans for change in your garden next year. Not looking forward to the colder temps/snow, but we have been truly fortunate to have such a long warm autumn. I loved seeing your blooms. Happy Thanksgiving, Beth!

    1. Hi Beth, I'm glad the snow is melting off for a bit, but we know there's more where that came from. Thanks for reading! -Beth