Tuesday, December 4, 2007

December is starting in a wintry way.

December is only four days old, and we have already had snow on three or more.
Perhaps the prognostications of a "real" winter will come true.
We had a messy little storm last night, with wet sloppy conditions persisiting today.
The only thing that came of it was a cancellation of our planned trip to Halifax.
Snow persisited in some form for most of the day, but didn't make much accumulation.
It isn't even a particularly pretty day, snow-wise.
The dogs and I are pretty much staying in.
They to do their usual sleeping thing, while I am working on the Rhododendron Seed Exchange list.
Amazing how weather takes prevalence this time of year!

Friday, November 30, 2007

November is Ending

All of our complaints regarding the miserable month of November wil have to end this last day of the month. This last week has been a mixed bag with respect to weather with some very cold days and nights, and one very warm balmy day with temperatures of 17C. That day was spent digging a rhododendron for a Christmas present, and stowing the tag-end stray plants, plus a bit if clean-up in the big perennial bed at the front. I had a Birthday this week, so found that day to be quite busy with some nice socializing. My friend Pauline gave me a gorgeous garden book...."The Oxford Companion to the Garden ". It will need quite a lot of perusing as the winter progresses. I harvested some ripened hot peppers that had been in the sunporch since the early fall. Hopefully they are ripe enought to dry properly. We grew these hot peppers in planters, so they can be brought in as summer ends. 'Hole Mole' was a new one this year. They are a Pasila type and produce long green peppers that ripen to a sort of chocolate colour. They are a very mellow "hot". I am not quite sure how to best use them. Our other favourite "hot" is 'Ring of Fire', which is quite hot, and produces loads of small to medium, pointy peppers that ripen a brilliant red. When properly ripe, they dry beautifully. Most years we grew a few Ancho pepppers but they didn't seem to get planted this years. They are another rather mellow pepper, but have a very nice "depth of flavour". There were a few puny little Jalapenos, but they were stray plants that didn't do very well. Bill has been finishing his seed collecting(mostly!), and has many cleaned. We have a slightly more minimal approach to seeds this year, but there still seem to be more than enough. Our online seed list is mostly up to date.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A slow week

This week has been rather slow in many respects.
We did get snowtires installed, which is a good thing, I guess.
Bill has been busy making Apple Wine the last week and a half, so perhaps we shall have to pursue that project.
We are quite disenchanted by the small number of seeds we have received for the Rhododendron Soc. Seed Exchange. I hope others magically appear in short order.
Word has it that the seeded Rhododendrons have mostly sprouted.....babies for Bill to nurture for another winter.
I have spent quite some time trying to pick out 10-12 pictures for the "show & tell" at the next Rhodie Meeting, quite the challenge with so many to choose from.
It seems we settled on pics of the plants we sent off to be propagated via the Society. This is one favourite we have nicknamed "Ruby Lemon".We chose a few azalea pics as well, they always make life a lot brighter in June.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Clearing Debris

The last few days have been a bit of a mixed bag of November weather, with the weekly wind and rain, plus a day or two of quite nice moderate weather.
We got out and did some cleaning up in the Octoberfest and Beech beds, so they are quite ready for winter.
There are a few other places still needing some removal of old foliage remanants.
James was out and cut down the "hanging" spruce, plus a couple of other straggly ones in the same vicinity.
We now have quite a different view towards the top of the driveway.
There are still some log remnants to be removed, but we thought a neighbour might want them for kindling.
It has been quite frigid since Sunday with the skimmer of snow actually hanging around.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Beautiful November Day

I have to give the month its due, as yesterday was very nice after the snowy Tuesday.
In addition to "ditch work", I had a little look around.
The many groups of fall crocus(C. speciosa) were still looking quite perky, with some just poking their noses out of the ground. They have had the challenge of a lot of wind and rain in the past week or two. Some are always looking quite floppy. This little bee was just tumbling about in the crocus flower.
This year the azaleas didn't seem to have such vibrant colour as in most years, but some are still quite nice. Some varieties have lost most of their leaves, while others are still hanging on. The mild fall seemed to have kept the deep red of the Enkianthus foliage from appearing as well.
Enkianthus foliage is normally the most intense red.
These skies are promising rain.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

We Ditched the Orphans

This title has a somewhat unfriendly sound, so perhaps a bit of clarification is in order. Every year we have a bunch of plants that sit around as leftovers from our Plant Sale or divisions, or acquisitions that have not been planted in a proper garden spot. Each fall for a number of years we have been sinking these "strays" in a ditch along the path behind the manure area. A ditch here in our domain of sandy soil will never have water, so it is a dry spot below grade that will accommodate quite a number of plants. There is quite a variety of mostly shrubs and trees that end up here. Here are a few little Evergreen Azaleas to go in.... A couple of Rhododendrons have spent the last 2 years of their lives in this situation, doesn't seem to hinder them too much. Each fall the ditch will need a bit of cleaning out, as it gets a bottom layer of composty/maure-type stuff that is shovelled in around the plants.
A winter with lots of snow, actually means less need for this filling in. We can't count on snow, so we do add quite a bit of manure to the packed in pots. I did intend to count the number of plants that actually landed here, but didn't!
Now we need to deal with another bunch of herbaceous perennials that also need a home for the winter.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

An Uninspiring Few Days

November has been kicking in with its inevitable miserable weather.
We, at least, escaped most of the first snow that many in the Maritimes have been having since Saturday evening.
We did have a fun little "early" first Birthday Party for Ava on Saturday.
She had a nice time with her first cake!
The late evening was plagued by a power failure (so much for the movie!). A bit of deja-vu from the week before.
Sunday was very nasty....wet, windy and cold; making for a miserable Remembrance Day.
We were pretty much stuck in with 4 cats, 3 dogs, and Ian and Gina.
We did make some delicious Lavender Shortbread cookies on Sunday, and had a good feed of "ribs".... the comforts of food!
This day has detiorated somewhat with quite a little bit of snow.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bulb Planting Finished

The seasonal chore of bulb planting may have been finished yesterday.
We have been fairly restrained to this point, only putting in about 250 new bulbs, compared to a thousand last year.
I am of the opinion one can never have too many spring bulbs. They are among my very favourite plant categories.
One of several areas carpeted with many of the "tiny" bulbs....Scilla siberica , in this case.
The very vibrant tulip Praestans unicum. They are very bright and early, but deer love them.
Some mixed tulips I have a tendency to adopt favourites , and add more of some types each year. One such tulip is 'Spring Green', quite an elegant late bloomer that blends well with just about everything, especially rhododendrons. It is sometimes a bit of trial and error to find which tulips will perennialize rather dependably. I am hoping that 'Shirley's Dream' will be one that does. 2007 was the first year for these.
Narcissus are my all round favourites, and we have many varieties(75 or more). This group of a pink one named 'Accent' did very well last year. Prepared space is getting to be quite scarce. One little trick which proves to be space worthy, and quite aesthetic is to plant "bulbs on bulbs".....little bulbs like Grape Hyacinths, Anemones and crocus can get planted on top on deeper plantings of tulips, hyacinths or narcissus. They will bloom at the sane time or in sequence. An example would be the Anemone blanda with these purple Hyacinths.
Perhaps after Bill's new venture on the back hillside there will be spots that "need " bulbs another year.
The plan for this lower area near the Rhodie nursery bed is to move some rhododendrons of named varieties, or at least chosen ones, so they have some elbow room.
Tissue culture plants, and some returned rooted cuttings of our own plants need to be moved in the spring. There are a bunch of these at the bottom of this 2005 nursery area that are getting too shady on the east side, and are starting to lean!
This is the 2004 nursery bed in July, 2007. growth this past season has been very good, and quite a few of the 3-4 year-old plants have flower buds. These plants came out here in the spring of 2005, having been grown as seedlings from the fall of 2004.
The "teenagers in the the nursery" syndrome is forever plaguing us.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Post "Noel"

We are now spending part of this day cleaning up some debris, from the windy, rainy onslaught of the storm "Noel". We were not seriously impacted by this storm , although it was definitely a "good blow". We didn't get as much rain as some areas of Nova Scotia, our power was off for ~17 hours. The inconvenience of no power was somewhat offset by our new little generator.....a loud , stinky little machine, but still quite useful!
The wind damage was mostly restricted to the downfall of two quite large white spruce in the front yard. One is still quite hung-up, so it may require a bit of effort to get down. Hopefully James, with chainsaw in tow, may deal with it by the end of the week. Bill spent time cleaning away the debris, and trimming the branches to yield quite a large log. One of the willows at the bottom of the drive lost quite a large branch. Considering that the tree is not in very good shape, it is amazing the whole thing didn't fall. A catalpa in the backyard shows quite a tendency to lean, so don't know if it can be persuaded to stand up straight or not. The ground is bulging

It is amazing how the Japanese Maples have kept their leaves inspite of the heavy winds, and the fact that it is November.

Friday, November 2, 2007

November- the least favourite month

This Blog is starting now in early November, a month which brings out the worst when it comes to garden ramblings. The need to do things before winter, the lament of shortening days, never make for much productivity. Fall ,thus far, has been very gentle, and we have gradually performed some of the pre-winter tasks here in our garden. The garlic is planted, the bulbs are mostly planted, the begonias are "harvested", the leaves are raked,

and we have a brand new supply of horse manure. There are still jobs to do....peonies to be cut down, perennial beds need tidying, a host of stray plants need to be stowed in the "ditch". We are also anticipating some very nasty weather on Saturday. The only hurricane of the season to be predicted for Nova Scotia. A rather wintry name is hurricane "NOEL".

We also have to remember to turn back the clocks to standard time tomorrow night....a week's delay was to have served some purpose.