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December 2009

November 2009

The last of November...


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The garden is looking rather barren these days with the shortest day of the year creeping ever closer.   The holiday was spent with family and friendsIMG_0283
and there was even time for some tasks to be completed in the garden.  All the birdbaths were turned upside down and the pots were covered or put away.  The statuary made its' trip to the garage and the bulk of the leaves have  been raked and added to compost heaps.DSC_0047
The grasses are still standing tall and looking quite seasonal.   The hellebore which was budded up two weeks ago looks decidedly out of place in the barren border on the left side of the walkway.  DSC_0046
It might go unnoticed if it bloomed during the height of the season but now, with browns and grays taking over the landscape, these pristine white flowers with their deep green skirts or leaves are quite satisfying.  

Belated Bloom Day

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Spent blooms are the order of the day here.  There are few actual blooms in the garden right now.  The 'Sheffield Pink' chrysanthemum is showing its' last bedraggled petalsDSC_0016
and the Clematis 'Etoille Violette' has faded from rich purple to limpid lavenderDSC_0018
but they are there, in the garden, worn and tattered, ready for rest.  Not so this Hellebore which seems to understand the meaning of 'Christmas Rose'.DSC_0022  It is fully budded and color is showing.  With warm temperatures today, it's petals may even unfold.DSC_0030Attention turns, this time of year in New England, indoors and  to those plants which have joined the ranks on the sills and surfaces of every horizontal shelf.  Some of these are blooming for Bloom Day  which is hosted by Carol of May Dreams.  Thank you Carol.  As my garden fades Bloom Day offers the opportunity to see wonderful flowers from all parts of the world. 

Garlic - Allium sativuum

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Fall may be the end of the  growth cycle for most of the plants in the garden but it is just the beginning for garlic.  That is one of the reasons why I have planted it in the past and again this fall.  There is the reward of plunging one's hands into the still warm earth to plant the individual cloves.  Early spring brings its' own delights as the green scapes emerge from the ground when all else is still in winter slumber.  This weekend was a gardener's dream.  It was clear and in the 60's .  Perfect for many garden tasks and most certainly planting.   Planting garlic is easy but preparing the bed after a good month or two of neglect will raise the sweat on one's brow and provide a weekend workout on par with that of the best trainer. DSC_0009
Garlic likes a rich, loose, well drained soil which necessitates a good cleanup of debris, a new layer of compost and then the planting of the individual cloves.  I sent away to Filaree Farm for a blend of garlic types.   I planted four different types and even took the time to label DSC_0016
them which is something I have neglected to do in the past.  DSC_0014
The three bulbs on the planting board planted about a twenty foot row. I highly recommend a planting board which makes the job of spacing easy since there is a notch every six inches.  It also comes in handy for marking a row with the V shaped side.  I digress so back to the garlic.   Romanian Red is a Porcelain variety of garlic.  I also received Chesnok Red, a Purple stripe variety, Killarney Red, a Rocambole variety and Silver White, a Silverskin variety.   They each have a wonderfully written description reminiscent of the J. Peterman catalog which makes choosing one type difficult.  I went for the variety pack.  I hope to have a review of each next summer and the goal will be to save some bulbs for planting next fall.  The final step was to add  some mulch to the bed.  DSC_0033
I used straw but this straw did seem to have some seed heads and that may be a problem next spring.  Only time will tell.   It was also the day to pull the last of the leeks, another member of the Allium family.  One member at the end of its' growth cycle and the other just beginning.   DSC_0020
I think there will be a leek and potato soup on the table sometime this week.  Bon appetite!

Colors in the garden

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The leaves of this Acer j. 'Aconitifolium' have dropped and the cool days of November are upon us.  November can be so gray and bleak in New England.  This past weekend was leaf raking weekend and so the garlic remains as yet unplanted and the beds untidied.  The bulk of the leaves have been carted to the compost piles but the windy day left the lawn littered yet again with scattered spots of oak leaves. The statuary needs to be put away as cement does not fair very well with the freezing temperatures of New England. DSC_0009
This birdbath will freeze over if left and Buddha must spend the winter in the shed.  Mickey Mouse was a favorite of my dear Aunty Hope who passed away this year.  P7160077
He needs his own garden but what would you put in a Mickey Mouse garden?  He sits among the hellebores currently but they are a bit over his head.IMG_0063
There are various bits and pieces lying here and there and also some remaining containers which must be put away.  I never realized that the Elephant Ear is so cold hardy.  We have had quite cool temperatures here and even a bit of snow but this Elephant EarIMG_0076
has not succumbed and will be moved, hopefully this weekend, to the basement.  Under lights of course. It seems impossibly green in this ever browning landscape.  Are you snuggling under for the season or is it in full throttle in your area?