In the Garden: A Season's Review


CindyMurphyBlog.jpgWhenever I see an article for no maintenance gardening or an advertisement for maintenance-free plants, I alternate between laughing and rolling my eyes.  I think anyone who has ever gardened will agree that the words “maintenance-free” and “gardening” when used in combination is nothing but an oxymoron.  My gardens are about as low-maintenance as they can be, but still require a good deal of work, especially in fall.   

It’s a good thing autumn days are my favorite days to spend working outside, and even better that these past two weekends have been sunny and warm.  I got the canna tubers dug and stored in the basement. The ceramic and clay annual pots have been emptied, and stored in the shed, along with both the ceramic and the concrete bird baths.  Keith emptied the rain barrel, and stored it away; we had so much rain this summer, it was used only a handful of times.   

The vegetable gardens are cleaned out, and the perennial beds cut back.  It was especially pleasant cleaning up the herb garden; the marigolds still smelled marigoldy; the chives smelled oniony, the winter savory smelled savory, and the parsley…smelled parsleyesque(?)  Let’s just say it all was a banquet of olfactory delights. 

That’s one of the many things I love about fall – the smells.  There’s the smell of fallen leaves, the earthy, slightly decaying scent of foliage starting to decompose.  What other time of year does decay smell so good?     

I pruned the blackberries, roses, and the big ‘Pink Diamond’ hydrangea.  Keith pruned the grapevine; I had already pruned the grapevine.  He got a little carried away.  Once, up and over the arbor, now the vine is just a trunk, barely reaching to the top of the structure.  From this point forth, Keith, the grapevine is off limits!  Your pruning technique is better suited for use elsewhere! 

While I sent him off to hack down the butterfly bush and elderberries, (which are supposed to be cut nearly to the ground), I netted the low-bush blueberries so the rabbits don’t gnaw off every new bud in spring when the tender growth is too tempting for them to resist.

Cindy Murphy
12/4/2011 8:56:31 AM

"It’s a fungal disease that does mostly cosmic damage...." Oops, that's supposed to be "cosmetic damage". Darned typos!

Cindy Murphy
12/4/2011 8:54:27 AM

Hi, Mary and Michelle. Mary, I wish I could use all our leaves in my gardens – with five full grown maples and a number of other trees and bushes, we’ve got plenty, and our soil is either heavy clay or nearly beach sand. A lot of the leaves that fall in the gardens get left there, and others I rake into the gardens. The maples though, mostly the two big Norways, get tar spot. It’s a fungal disease that does mostly cosmic damage, but it does overwinter, and I don’t want it spreading any by using the affected leaves as compost. Good thing about tar spot though – it’s an indicator of clean, unpolluted air. Definitely stay off that knee so it’s healed by spring – if there’s a season other than fall in which there’s a ton of work to do in a garden, it’s gotta be spring! Michelle, I wanna play too! That sounds like such fun!

Michelle House
12/3/2011 11:15:23 PM

Cindy, last week before our cold front, my oldest granddaughter was out back, taking handfuls of leaves, tossing them in the air, and running into the fallout, she had a blast. :)

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