No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds – November! ~Thomas Hood
The dried grasses are the most lovely thing in my garden right now. They make a beautiful impact against the gray backdrop I see throughout November. November flew by for me because of training for work, and a much needed rest with family in Arizona. I will be training monthly through spring so work continues to be way too busy but I keep my eye on the target of retirement August 1st. Then it will be time to make a change and pursue my next passion. I think I may already have found it too.
So with the end of November it is time to take stock and see what has been going on around my garden. I am joining some other fun gardener’s memes with this journal post: Walk in Garden@This Grandmother’s Garden, First View@Town Mouse & Country Mouse; Garden Bloggers Harvest Day (GBHD)@The Gardening Blog on the 5th, Best and Worst of My Garden@Bumble Lush, Salad Days@Veg Plotting on the 4th Friday of the month and End of Month View with Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog.
As far as the weather goes, this November was warmer and drier than usual. We barely had 2 inches of rain and the temps were in the 50s and 60s the first half of the month. The week before Thanksgiving gave us freezing temps, but sunny skies which were followed by temps in the 60s the following week. Of course I was in Arizona soaking up the sun with temps in the low 80s.
We had a rude awakening when we returned as we were greeted to the first snowfall of the season which left us covered with a couple of inches of fluffy white. We have had cold weather with flurries although the lake effect machine has started, and we did have one storm that dropped 4 inches of gorgeous fluff. I think we will be in for some strong storms as Lake Ontario is warm from our hot summer and I expect it will remain so for a long time. When that cold air blows across the warm lake, we get strong storms that have lots of snow blowing over my area. I guess we shall see what the winter will bring as none of the other seasons were even close to normal.
The sunrises and sunsets have been some of the most spectacular I have seen since last winter. The colors in the sky are so much more intense now, and will increase in intensity as winter arrives.
So what is growing? Not much actually. But the gardens are looking lovely even in decline and especially covered in snow.
Here are the front gardens with the first snowfall. I usually leave most of the spent plants all winter especially for birds and winter interest.
This is the wall garden next to the garage. You can see some greenery, but nothing blooming not even the honeysuckle on the trellis. The red leaves are from another oak leaf hydrangea. The plant support is for the peony.
I love how this cyclamen was still budding and blooming in November.
And this lamium was another one of the few blooms in warm November. It was such a wonderful surprise.
This is the remnants of Pearly Everlasting or Anaphalis margaritacea an unusual native plant with blue-green foliage and these dried white flowers. It is the larval host of the American Lady and Painted Lady butterflies.
I love when my Coralberry or Symphoricarpos orbiculatus starts producing berries in late summer and fall. But as you can see they don’t last long. Small animals and birds love these berries as much as I do. I really should plant a few more of these bushes.
This is the ash stump I am following for Loose and Leafy’s Tree Following meme.. It is a few years old now and losing its bark. The other side is covered in moss and fungus but this sunnier side is a great spot to find lots of dandelions. I wonder if anyone is calling this stump home?
I wanted to give an update on the ash trees. If you have been reading the blog, you know that we have emerald ash borers in our area, and we will lose our ash trees to this pest. In consulting with an arborist, he confirmed that the beetles are here, and that my plan to take the trees down in a couple of years is a good one. Of course we may have to step that timeline up and remove 3-4 trees in spring if the beetles overrun our area.
You can see the largest ash tree in the top left picture in the background with one of our 2 swamp maples in the foreground. As you move clockwise you will see the same trees each season. The last picture shows the first step we took. We had the top half of the largest ash tree taken down to stabilize it. It will die within a couple of years, but we will probably have much more removed before it dies.
We will only have the 2 swamp maples left once we lose the ash trees. The maples will eventually be our only canopy for a while as we plant replacements. So far we have decided to plant a Black Cherry, an Eastern Redbud (both already in a holding spot) and an American Basswood to replace the largest ash tree.
We kept the pond open until the middle of November which is a full 2 weeks longer than usual (top pictures). Once the pump is shut off and removed for winter, the pond begins to freeze (bottom pictures).
The meadow takes on a different look once the snow flies. The bare area is where I planted some natives and seeded others after removing the invasive teasel.
Veg Beds Update
The veg beds are all ready for winter. I mulched them with the shredded leaves from the trees. You can see the new bed (second one in) that will be planted with tomatoes, peppers, okra and eggplant next summer. The first bed will have peas and beans. The third bed in,which is only showing a little, is the garlic and onion bed now. The fourth bed in the back is all set for lettuces, carrots and who knows what else come spring. And yes that is my late afternoon shadow in the foreground.
This is the new garlic bed that was planted after the first frost/freeze. In the month since it was planted, the weather has been so warm the garlic started growing. If I didn’t know better I would think this was a picture from spring not late fall.
And the grow bags outside with lettuces, arugula and carrots are still growing oh so slowly, but not enough to harvest. They have been exposed to 20 degree temps, wind chills in the teens and 6 inches of snow. Let’s see how they do throughout winter.
The herbs upstairs (oregano, thyme, mint and chives) are in clay pots and seem to be struggling except for the thyme. I may need to put the others in plastic pots so they do not dry out so much. You can see below that the chives that are in a plastic pot are already growing fast and blooming. I love having the fresh herbs ready to use for a taste of summer throughout the long winter.
Even with the warmer weather in November there were few critters around. There were a few frogs in the pond until we turned off the pump. The sparrows were checking out the bluebird houses perhaps for a winter home. But the biggest surprise was the new black squirrel. They are very rare here and fun to see. This one was scared off by the gray squirrels which I found surprising since they are said to live easily among the grays.
Gardens Eye Verse
Well even with the warm start to December, we still are headed for winter. My winter coat, boots and gloves are out and being used. This will likely be the last of the journal entries as the garden will be covered in white for a few months. Time to start dreaming of spring. Hope you enjoy the following poem as I say goodbye to the garden. Oh and please join me for Seasonal Celebrations. Details are below.
A nip in the air has hastened the hour
of hardening the soil and death in the bower.
The harvest is done; the cold winds do howl.
Gone are the days of seed and the trowel.
Seasonal Celebrations is a time for marking the change of seasons and what is happening in your part of the world during this time. I hope you will join in by creating a post telling us how you celebrate this time of year whether winter or summer or something else. Share your traditions, holidays and celebrations in pictures and words.
And it seems so appropriate to collaborate with Beth and her Lessons Learned meme. What lessons have you learned this past season of autumn here in the North and spring in the South. Then tell us about your wishes, desires and dreams for this new season.
The rules are simple. Just create a post that talks about lessons learned and/or seasonal celebrations. If you are joining in for both memes please leave a comment on both our blog posts. Or if you are choosing to join only one meme, leave a comment on that blog post. Make sure to include a link with your comment.
Beth and I will do a summary post of our respective memes on the solstice (around the 21st of December). And we will keep those posts linked on a page on our blog. Your post should be linked in the weekend before the solstice to give us enough time to include your post in our summary. And if you link in a bit late, never fear we will include it on the special blog page (which I still have to create). The badges here can be used in your post. So won’t you join in the celebration!!
Next up on the blog: Next Monday I plan to look at the blooms of the past while presenting some Garden Lessons Learned. In December I will savor another Garden Book and present my last native plant for the last installment of Simply The Best and Dozen for Diana@ Elephant’s Eye. Seasonal Celebrations will be revealed on the 21st and I will have a special Christmas post on the 24th.
I will be linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme. It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.
I hope you will join me for my posts once a month at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. See my most current post now.
As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.
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