Sunday, November 10, 2013

Clean Up on Aisle 2 . . .

Today was cleaning day in the garden; one of many to come in the next few weeks. The vegetable garden was priority number one. Out with the elderly tomato plants, shriveled cucumber vines and nasturtium plants, which succumbed to a couple of frosty nights this past week. Remaining in the beds are the original kale and collard plants, now tall but still viable. Also still growing are some younger kale plants (started in late September), beets, as well as a lone garlic chive plant, which has thus far survived the cold snaps just fine.

In addition to the veggie garden, it was also time to pull up the dahlia bulbs, which will be stored once again in my basement until Spring. This year, they will be stored in a bed of shredded paper in a cardboard box. I used the same arrangement last year, which worked just fine. Previously, I had just placed the clumps in a cardboard box. But I read about the addition of shredded paper, and it did seem to insulate them nicely and keep them plump throughout the months in storage last year. So in to their fluffy bed they go!

The rest of the garden is now showing it's past-peak color, but there are still plenty of sights to go around. The big Norway maple has blanketed the lawn with it's dirty-yellow leaves; next step will be to mow them, rather than rake (to provide added nourishment to the soil come spring). The Japanese maples are the among the last to shed their leaves; the leaves are still clinging on with their blood-red and deep purple hues, despite the 25 mph wind gusts which buffeted the garden this weekend.  There are still a few more days left to admire their beauty. The rose bushes are all but denuded, but their rose hips stand out brilliantly against the thorny branches.  A few chrysanthemums still appear sprightly; but they, too, will go into hibernation soon. And the ornamental grasses look regal as they sway in the wind. They will remain all winter, to provide added cover for birds and other small wildlife to weather the months ahead.

I just can't rid myself of the feeling that all of this Fall spectacle, this Autumn show of colors, is happening later and later each year. Whereas just over a decade ago, when we first moved to New England, raking leaves and snow flurries were taking place around the Columbus Day weekend in early October. As time has gone by, there is barely any color at all here at that time, and Thanksgiving weekend is still rife with Autumn clean-up activities in the garden. It's an uneasy feeling that something's definitely not quite right with the climate these days.

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