Friday, November 16, 2012

November is Proceeding

November is not renowned as the favorite month of the year, but this year we are having quite an enjoyable month so far.
It seems we have the usual annual chores that need to be done.
Bill embarked on a gutter clean out a few days ago. The biggest virtue being that it was a nice warm day (Bill will wear his toque regardless!).

The potato pit has had its insulating blanket of leaves added and covered.

This group of baby rhododendrons and azaleas are settled in for the winter. They are not in the usual nursery bed arrangement, since they were very small in early summer. Hopefully they will survive the winter this way. We may put some evergreen boughs over the area to give a little more protection.

After two lovely summery days, we are back to cooler, wetter conditions.
Before that we were the proud recipients of two truckloads of old horse manure. They were added to the manure area. 

Now if time and energy would cooperate, we might get some distributed before winter descends.
Each walk around the garden seems to yield some little surprises. This rhododendron seems anxious to bloom . It would normally bloom towards the end of May. 

We have been trying to conjure a name for this rhodie, which we had propagated a few years ago. It has rather interesting "peppermint " stripes when flowering, plus doubling of the calyx.
Most of the leaves are down , but the red oaks and several shrubs still are in the process of changing color before leaf drop.

This little Rhododendron dauricum has lovely foliage with different coloration at different times of the year. This species is considered semi-deciduous and will retain part of its leaves and lose others.

Some of the deciduous azaleas have lost their leaves, but others are still vibrant. 

This is a nice time to admire the flower buds which will hopefully add to next spring's show.
Some of the Magnolias have pretty buds as well. This is from 'Butterflies', a nice yellow magnolia.

Others don't seem to set their flower buds out in prominence.
We were amazed that these seedlings of Magnolia macrophylla are still very green.

There are always a few little blooms here and there. Some areas of the Vinca minor have a few flowers.

We always admire the Pieris in bud. 'Dorothy Wycoff' is getting fairly well established and is very attractive in the fall. Pinker buds are logical, since she blooms quite pink.

She is much pinker in bud than the "regular" Pieris.

The theme of browns and green is offset by so many things, but is attractive nevertheless. This is Heuchera 'Lime Ricky' nestled among fallen leaves.

The permanent green provided by the rhododendrons is really appreciated this fall into winter time. The good foliage plants will look good most of the year. Some of the heavily "tomented" rhodies are starting to have that surface tomentum worn away as the seasons progress.

The rest of the month will have some birthday celebrations(Ava's and mine) plus the annual Jingle Bell Frolic sponsored by St. Martha's Hospital Auxillary. That event is on November 30th at the  Marie Clare at the hospital. I am in charge of the "Fudge" table, so hope there will be another good year of volunteerism. Lots of calls to make this week regarding donations of baking and fudge.
Winter tires are getting installed today, so perhaps that will ward off winter for awhile longer!
Here is a slideshow of these and other images from our mid-November garden.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ditching the Orphans

We have been blessed with two days of wonderfully warm weather for mid November. This seemed like the best opportunity to stow all the miscellaneous potted  plants in our dry storage ditch. It is one of the last fall jobs that needs to be done. It is not an especially photogenic story, but such is life! Our soil lends itself to creating such an area, since it is sandy and nowhere will get soggy. We sometimes have to worry that it is a bit too dry here, since the big spruce tree shades and shelters part from normal rain.
This area seems to be populated with plants year round, which doesn't speak well of our decision making abilities. We cleared all the existing plants out and cleaned the extra dirt/compost mixture from the bottom and sides.

A few areas were made a little deeper with the result that we removeded about six wheelbarrow loads from the ditch.
Bill dug a bit more from the end closest to the driveway.

These got piled nearby to be used to fill some material in around the plants after they were repacked. I used this sandy material mixed with old horse manure to make a reasonably light filler to add to the spaces around the pots.

The ditch is almost 3 feet deep in spots and about 2+ Ft. in others. Some of the smaller plants don't need quite the depth. I somehow managed not to fall in during the time spent cleaning out and refilling!

There is quite a variety of plant material  stowed in here. Some plants are quite ragged looking, but may get a chance to rebound next season. Several rhodies seem to end up here for years and bloom in spite of us.

We have a Magnolia tripetala that was destined to be planted this last season, but that didn't happen, so back it goes. Same story for our English Oak.
We used Bill's wagon to fetch the various plants.

Many were leftovers from our spring plant sale plus some miscellaneous rhododendrons that were dug in June. Others are small plants that were discovered as layers and need a year or two to get bigger. There are several very pretty little Pieris in this category, plus some azaleas from Spicy Lights and Homebush.
Every thing is back in and just needed watering and material added to fill in spaces.
Here is a little slideshow with some additional  images from this adventure.