Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Pleasant Little Surprise

It is past the middle of October and we still are relatively frost-free here in eastern Ontario.

I did not get a call to supply teach yesterday, so it was a good opportunity to work on a couple of clients' gardens.  The first is an elderly gentleman, who has been hospitalized for the past week.  His wife called on Saturday to see if I would be able to come and put their gardens to bed for the winter.  I had good intentions of going that morning and then the rain started.

So yesterday morning I tackled it, pulled all the annuals that I planted last spring, and lopped the tops off all the perennials.  Then I emptied all the rain barrels, and put a quick application of slow release fall fertilizer on the lawn.  Finally I emptied the hanging baskets and brought the geraniums home to store in my cold cellar until next spring.

In the afternoon, I went to another client's garden.  I was there last week and dug out two fairly large mugo pines that had decided to expire.  I purchased two globe blue spruce to replace them.  So yesterday I dug the holes and planted two rather magnificent specimens, if I do say so myself.  Then I split hostas and Siberian iris and put them in around the edges of the bed.  Unfortunately the mugos had shaded two sides of a nice spherical cedar, so I did some fancy twisting and tying to try and retrain some good branches to fill in the bare spots.  Time will tell if my manipulations were successful or not.  Then I spent quite a while dead heading and cleaning up the rest of her beds.  Two down, one big one to go, and then my own.  But its sort of like the cobbler's wife going barefoot - I never get my stuff done in the fall, and I end up cleaning up once the snow retreats in the spring.

As I was perusing my garden I came across a surprise.  The little iris that re-bloomed in August, is doing it again in October - that would be a triple blooming iris - don't imagine that one happens very often.  So it was put in some tulips here, cut the morning glories off the trellis and put the last two clematis plants in that I bought in August - hopefully they will survive the winter.  They should have been in earlier, but I couldn't disturb the roots of the morning glories to do so.

October 17, 2011
I think it is actually a more vibrant blue in the colder weather.
Adios my good friend, may we meet again next year.
Amethyst berries just starting to colour up.
So I made about half as much money as a supply day, and worked twice as hard (well physically, not mentally), but it was all stuff that had to be done, and now I can rest a little easier knowing there are a few more jobs crossed off the fall to-do list.

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.


  1. I am slowly cleaning up the summer. A good number of my plants still look wonderful (we have not had any cold weather) and it hurts to pull them up and throw them on the compost heap. However, there is also the good feeling in putting things away and starting something new.

    Yesterday, on a fading vine, I found a few new shoots of honeysuckle. The flowers were large and vibrant. Gave me hope about myself. It ain't over, till it's over.

  2. The iris is really spectacular, especially given its third iteration this year, huh?!

    No frost here yet; last year, I don't think we got a real frost until mid-November.

    I had to clean up my garden. I live on the property where I work, and we were having a special event two weeks ago, so I had to go out and clean up the dead tomato plants, remove all the leggy annuals and cut back the perennials that had seen better days. Like you, I usually end up doing this kind of work in the wet, nasty early winter and my gloves get soaked and muddy and I curse a lot. So, better that it gets done now while the weather's pleasant.

    What's a "supply day" of teaching? I don't know that term.

  3. Tell me how you keep your geraniums over the winter. I'd like to do that but don't want them in the house. Put your answer on my blog so I'll see it, please.

  4. Scott, a supply day is a sub day. We also call ourselves occasional teachers, although that is a bit of a misnomer, as I supply pretty regularly.

    Marcia: I just bring them in, in the pots and put them in my cold cellar, which is vented to the outside, so it is a few degrees cooler than the rest of the house. In the spring I take them out, soak them well and put them in the greenhouse to grow out. Last year I did that with 20 of them and all survived quite well.

  5. MG - so if I put the pots of geraniums in the vestibule which is cooler than the house, & has a northern exposure with a big door way and skylight, do I need to water them at all during that wintering over? I don't usually bother with them, but these are a very distinctive pink color that I like and want to keep going. I hope this works.

  6. Marcia, I don't water, let them dry out completely and go dormant, just don't let them freeze. I actually keep them in complete darkness. They are essentially dormant. I think what you are planning would be just very low growth throughout the season, in that case you need to water them. If you have several pots, why not try both ways, store some with your potatoes (cold, dry and dark) and some in your vestible (cool, moist, slow growing and lighted). I'd be curious to see compared success rates for survival and then which does better once they hit the garden.

  7. You have tremendous energy to do all this work. I wouldn't get it done.
    And I wouldn't try the supply teaching. When I retired I was finshed and did not want to supply teach. Many people do enjoy supply teaching and that's great because good supply teachers are necessary.


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