It is that sad time of year for me. The mums are colorful, the Autumn Joy sedem creates a graceful background and the red, yellow, and bronze leaves are beautiful. But the annuals in the garden should all be pulled out and put into the compost pile.
The autumn garden just does not have the variety of color and textures of spring and summer!
But rather than bemoan the deficiencies of my garden, I will focus on the future. First, I will rake those leaves! Besides getting good exercise, I will be able to enrich my garden soil by adding the raked leaves to the compost pile. The library has some useful books on composting, Easy Composting by Jeff Ball and The Rodale Book of Composting edited by Martin and Gershuny. If you need a primer on beginning your own compost pile, try the EPA website.
And I will plan the garden of 2010. There were areas of my garden that lacked color and variety; I will get out my notes and plant what I can now…and then plan for spring plantings.
Spring blooming bulbs can be planted as long as the soil is not frozen. I will put in some more crocus, daffodil and tulip bulbs. Did you know there was a tulip craze when they were first introduced from Turkey? In the 17th century the demand for new tulip varieties drove up prices and even common people wanted to participate in the ever rising profits; eventually, the price crashed – shades of our economic turmoil!
I love the all the tulip colors and the various shapes. I do not love the squirrels who feast on the bulbs in the winter, so I’ve been placing squares of window screen over the bulbs to keep the squirrels from digging up the tulips. The squirrels do not like daffodils so those are a good choice. I know my garden will never look quite like the wonderful gardens at Keukenhof which inspire me:
Increase your knowledge and love of tulips with Anna Pavord’s The Tulip. New York Botanical Garden has some timely tips for protecting your bulbs and Cornell’s Department of Horticulture provides reference information for planting bulbs in our area.
Right outside my kitchen window there is a gap in planting. I thought I’d planned so there would always be something in bloom. I mixed annuals and perennials in a variety of colors. But now there’s nothing! The yellow lantana I planted in the front is still growing and blooming, I will need more of that next year. In the coming cold and dreary days I can dream as I look through books about gardening. I enjoy Irene Virag’s Gardening on Long Island and Better Homes and Gardens’ Choosing Plant Combinations. Cornell’s site has a comprehensive guide to flowers that can be searched by either scientific or common names.
I read and I look and I learn something new all the time! I had never grown Hellebores before I saw them in London in full bloom in February – now they are one of my early season favorites and now is the time to plant them. I think I can find a spot for just one more……
– posted by Brenda, Reference librarian