Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011- Fall- week 4

Hello again. Through a combination of factors I haven’t found the time and/or energy to keep up this blog. I am prepared to try it again.

It is major fall at this point, as you all know. Fall has a long list of meanings in the garden. Let me talk about one of them.
It is a time for cleanup.

It seems as if there are the leaves constantly coming down. We have a wonderful set of trees, and they are mostly different. The buckeye tree drops its leaves and its buckeyes first, in September. Falling buckeyes and the early football games go hand in hand. Then in succession come the walnut tree, the elm tree and the linden tree. I am not done. We have this great sycamore tree in the backyard that holds onto its leaves as long as it can. There will be falling leaves for months. One of the sounds of fall is the hum of the city leaf sucking machine out there somewhere.

Part of “cleanup” is cleaning up the beds. That means trimming the old foliage. I find it interesting, one of those science things, how the old foliage for plants so differs from plant to plant. The variegated Solomon’s seal in the front yard gets a blast of cold air, drops its leaves and you can just rake off the old stalks without any effort at all. Hosta foliage will be killed by the frost, and after it goes through a slimy stage, will dry and can be raked off without any effort. Finding that stage where there is not much effort is a goal. Siberian iris has a very different leaf. (Is “Siberian Iris” singular or plural?) It will die back over the winter and still need clippers after months of cold. Some times I must confess that I have fond thoughts about a weed wacker.

The third part of fall cleanup at our garden is the great plant migration inside. I should count the plants sometime that have to come inside. There are the jade plants and agaves and the orchid cactus and the other cactus. There are the orchids and clivia and non hardy hibiscus and bouganvilla and mandavilla.
Who am I forgetting? The are the plants that can come in and go dormant (even though most plants except some orchids sort of go dormant inside.) That would be the amaryllis and the brugmansia and some begonias. I obtained some crotons this summer from a sale at the grocery store. They come in and will provide wonderful color for a while.
Let’s just say that that it gets crowded inside sometimes.

That’s it for the big cleanup items. I will write again soon about two other favorite fall garden pastimes- reflection and planning.
Maybe I will just write about pansies.

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