Tangled Branches: Cultivated
happenings in and around my zone 6b gardens in northern Virginia and in central Virginia
Monday, November 27, 2006
I've been out doing some fall garden cleanup today. The weather is much too nice for this time of year, but I know better than to complain about a thing like that. I decided that the Cyclamen hederifolium were too deep in the fallen leaves and would prefer to have the naturally-distributed leaves removed and replaced with some nice shredded leaves. All I really accomplished, I think, was to remove the support the petioles were getting. Now they're flopping over so the leaves don't show much. The Arum italicum are sprouting nicely. They always look winter-weary when the cold weather really sets in, but right now they're very attractive, and it's always refreshing to see something sprouting fresh and green when everything else is dying down.
Speaking of the weather, I was re-reading my blog entries from last year and was shocked to see the pictures of the green oak leaves last November 27. I remembered that the leaves held on late last year, but I didn't remember that it was that late. Those oak trees are completely bare today.
We did Thanksgiving down at the new house, and just as we were finishing our meal two deer stopped to browse in the backyard. This was the first we'd really seen them - the one in the headlights as we were coming home one night doesn't count. The next morning, I saw one with larger antlers wander through. The next morning after that, four of them were meandering around and stayed quite a while. Up until this weekend, I didn't really believe they were going to be much of a garden issue. Now, I'm sure they are. I'm planning a long hedgerow on one side of the driveway, and wanted to include some fast-growing evergreens. Thuja 'Green Giant', I thought. But Thuja is deer candy according to what I've been reading online. Maybe Cryptomeria 'Yoshino' instead? More research needed; sources are conflicting as to whether Cryptomeria is tasty or not. Deer hunting began in Virginia on November 18,and it's a very popular activity in Central Virginia. Rationally, I know that hunting keeps down the population. Emotionally, I hate to think of shooting such beautiful creatures. My emotions may change when I start gardeninng next spring.
We had some very clear nights for stargazing over the weekend. The Milky Way, which was overhead around 9 PM in mid-October is now much lower in the sky to the west at that hour. I'm trying to get DH into skywatching. I don't know if he's truly interested or if he's just humoring me (most likely), but he did seem pleased to learn where Betelgeuse is. We were listening to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on the drive down.
I haven't taken many pictures lately. The most recent ones are from 2 weekends ago, and I just posted them yesterday. I was surprised to see a (black?) swallowtail caterpillar on a parsley plant on November 10. I would have thought they'd be in winter mode by then. (Do I really even know what winter mode is for swallowtails? Well, no.) I only posted 2 pictures from Central Virginia (CeVA, on the thumbnail page) - one of the last quarter moon just after sunrise, and one of some few remaining red leaves in the woods. I'm hoping these red leaves belong to wild blueberry plants (just a hunch); I'll try to identify them next growing season.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I am so thankful that I have a turkey to cook, and an electric oven to cook it in, and a reliable supply of electricity for the oven, and money to pay for the electricity, and...(you get the idea).
And very thankful that I can garden and be outdoors and have the means to share the experience with people I've never even met!
Monday, November 06, 2006
Vacations can be so tiring. I took a week off at the end of October, and I'm just beginning to see the surface of my desk again. And that's only because I tidied up the piles of paper - not because I've actually worked my way through them. But one of the first things I did when I got back was snap some pictures of the gorgeous fall color in the backyard. I was afraid I had missed it, and I almost did. Last Friday night was the first real killing frost here at home and that sped up the leaf drop considerably.
Friday afternoon, with guilty visions of mushy/frozen/wasted tomatoes, I picked more tomatoes than I did all summer. They're all green, but still. Friday night we had the first batch of fried green tomatoes. I think I'm going to make them again tonight too. Today, the mushy frozen tomato plants are gone, along with the peppers and basil. Some of the annuals are still hanging on in a diminished state - petunias, calendula, scabiosa, and a few self-sown alyssum. The cupheas I wanted to save are sitting in the garage (no, I still haven't rooted any cuttings).
Before I left on vacation, I posted a few pictures from the last weekend we spent in Central Virginia - walking on the Saunders-Monticello trail, and eating cider doughnuts and taking in the scenery from Carter Mountain Orchard.