Autumn arrived at RDR this morning with a kiss from icy lips. A cold front with rain barreled through the center of the state making the roses shudder and wave their petals about in the swirling winds. This morning is chilly, and the Queens of May like it not. Poor, distressed damsels, they suffered in the hot summers of 2011 and 2012, and they want you to know the level of their discontent.
Like all mid-life beauties, they want more time.
The tropical plants curled in upon themselves, their foliage black as though burned. Frost spells a chilly death for them. They will soon be dust.
Oaks, maples, crapemyrtles and other hardwoods sing their beautiful swan song of fare-thee-well. Colored leaves rain upon green grass and make a lovely site as they fall. What to do with all this bounty they shed? Use a leaf mulcher or mower to chop up tough, fibrous leaves like those from our native oaks, returning them to garden beds and borders. Over winter, shredded leaves condition the soil and feed earthworms who pull them down into their homes underground. Fine soil shows up in spring. So do bulbs and other flowers if you plant them now. Don’t forget hellebores. If you have a friend who grows them, you can probably get babies from them. Hellebores are promiscuous creatures and procreate all the time in the right conditions.
My blueberry experiments in containers were successful. I kept them on the deck near the house where they got afternoon shade. I have two different shrubs going well and growing bigger. Did you know blueberries have beautiful fall color? Oh, yes, they do.
Asters and those plants formerly known as asters, along with garden mums bloom on. Do yourself a favor in these waning days. Buy a good garden mum like ‘Will’s Wonderful’ or an aster like ‘October Skies.’ They help the seasons change with less angst.
Days shorten and the seasons circle again around the sun as the earth turns. The garden prepares for its winter rest, and I have my greenhouse and bulbs to force so I am not so sad. In late fall and throughout winter, I am thinking of spring, pondering all the combinations I can grow to make rebirth even more beautiful. Autumn’s frosty kiss soon turns to winter’s icy grip. What will you plant before it’s too late?