Heavy rainstorms in previous weeks soaked the ground; then sunny days followed. The lawn still gets mowed and we rake the leaves as they continue to fall. I collect these leaves together with the grass clippings and crush those crunchy leaves by hand into smaller bits. Then, each bucketful is dumped in the back yard. Neighbors on all sides have been asked to save their leaves for me and bags are collecting in the garage, where the leaves can dry out before they are shredded. One beautiful day this past week, all twenty bags of leaves were shredded and put as mulch on the front beds. This winter they will decompose and add nutrients to the soil.
Some annuals were still going strong by early November, but by now most have been killed by the frost. The dahlias in pots finally died back; I dug up the tubers and cleaned them off. Now, they are sitting in a mesh bag in the garage, waiting for warmer weather in spring to be put back in pots. Calla lily bulbs, received from a friend after they had flowered for her, spent all summer in the ground in the garden. They grew new leaves, but did not flower again. When fall weather arrived the leaves died back and I dug up the bulbs. For a few weeks they sat around in the gazebo. One day early this month, I took a close look at them and saw tiny bits of green reappearing from the “eyes” of the bulbs. It was time to pot them up and bring them indoors again. Now, a few weeks later, new leaves are starting to appear and with luck, flowers will follow. All of the amaryllis bulbs were also given the same treatment. They spent the summer outdoors, grew new leaves and the bulbs increased in size. After the first frost they were dug up and left in a cool place. After a resting period of 8 to 12 weeks I will pot them up to enjoy another round of flowers in winter.
The guppies in the pond had to be moved indoors due to dropping temperatures. For now a small five gallon tank in my bathroom houses them and they eagerly beg for food every time they see me. The pitcher plant in the pond (a carnivorous plant) will stay where it is and hopefully will prove to be hardy to this area.
Daffodils and snowbells ordered from the Netherlands arrived in mid October. It was relatively easy to find room for 100 snowbell bulbs. The flowers are small and you want them up front in the garden. The bulbs are also small and you don’t have to dig deep holes for them. Finding room for 250 daffodil bulbs was another matter. My newly created flowerbeds provided room for quite a few, but others were tucked in among existing plants. Trying to duplicate nature, I grouped them together in clusters. A bunch of bulbs here, a few scattered there. At the end of the day, all bulbs were planted and time will tell if I achieved my objective. Months will pass, slowly, as it always does this time of year. Winter will arrive, but eventually with the passage of time, nature will once more unfold its spring beauty for all to see. Where is my fast forward button; I don’t think I can wait that long….