she who keeps this diary

09 November 2004 - 12:57 PM

Tidying up for winter

It's only a matter of days before we get a killing frost; the weather forecasts suggest it may even be tonight. Of course, the forecasts suggested it might have come last night too, but my belwethers, the tuberous begonias, have not collapsed yet. I am ready for the morning when they droop like punctured balloons; that will be the sign that it's time to dig up the tubers and pack them away in a mesh bag of peat moss. Next March, I'll plant the tubers again and grow them under lights until the last frost is past. But that's a long time from now, past the wheel-spokes of solstice and equinox. Now is the time for drawing in, not planting out.

The garden is mostly put to bed for the year; I still need to spread manure and finish planting the bulbs. Since I have Thursday off, I'm hoping to get most of that done then. The only other thing which needs doing is shredding the leaves; I might try to do that as well, or I may see if I can't coax the Viking into doing it over the weekend.

I will note that the bulbs for the European dog-tooth violets (Erythronium dens canis) must have been the least promising objects I have ever put in the ground, even worse than the onion-like Fritillaria persica from last year. They were no bigger than the first joint of my little finger, and they were somewhat squishy. Not in the way a rotted daffodil or tulip bulb would be squishy, but in a sort of dried out old potato way. I am distinctly doubtful about their ability to produce anything in the way of a plant, much less anything appealing, but as the Persian fritillary went from onion to artichoke to really quite attractive plant, so may these. We'll see come spring.

The 'Iceberg' rose has started blooming again in this last week, daft thing. It looks pretty silly with blossoms while the fallen leaves pile up around it. But it's healthy and doing well, so I shan't complain. Much.

Speaking of complaints, for all my whining a few weeks ago about the saffron crocuses not doing as well as I wanted, I still harvested more stamens than I did last year. I actually have enough for this year's batch of lussekatter. That pleases me in the extreme -- I mean, really, how cool is it that I grew enough of my own saffron to actually use it in a recipe?

verso - recto

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