Saturday, November 26, 2016

Music Garlic is Up!

After a late start, it was great to see some of my "Music" garlic push through the soil in the last week. It is interesting to note, that although the "Music" and "Red Chesnook" garlic were planted at the same time, it has taken the "Music" garlic almost a week longer to sprout. I wonder if this is just a one-off this year, or a typical difference between the two varieties.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Acer Palmatum "Shidava Gold"

Our new Acer in the front flowerbed is almost at peak Fall color. As its name indicates, it has turned a lovely golden color. We have been watching it and watching it all Fall. It was among the last of our trees to begin changing color. We started joking that it had decided to just stay green. But finally, as Thanksgiving approached, the transformation began. Considering that it is still a young tree, and thus not very full, it is still putting on a really nice display.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Happy Thanksgiving!

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown, 
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on

Emily Dickinson

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The First Garlic is Up

Walking past the kitchen garden today, a bit of green caught my eye. I walked over to my garlic raised bed and discovered small green shoots poking through the soil. Since I had just planted the garlic back on November 6th, I wasn't expecting to see anything quite yet. But I found 6 of the "Chesnook Red" cloves had sprouted. Interestingly enough, none of the "Music" are yet visible. I am hoping that they are just a touch slower and I will see some green in their section soon. The 2017 garlic season is officially off and growing!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Zinnias - A Few Holding On

As we near mid-November, the days are getting noticeably shorter and colder. The Kitchen Garden has been put to bed for the year and I only have one more week's worth of digging dahlia tubers before the same can be said down in the Big Garden. But I haven't yet had time to clean up the "over-flow" Kitchen Garden Bed. The cantaloupe are long finished, the vines brown and mushy. The "Bright Lights" cosmos have finally given up. Hopefully a few will spill their ripened seeds and  produce next years volunteer plants. But there is still one bit of color and life left growing right now- a few plants of the "Country Fair Blend" zinnias. This last splash of hot pink and reminder of Summer is as enjoyable to the humans as it is to the hummingbirds and pollinators still seeking a good source nutrition.  

Monday, November 7, 2016

November Mushrooms

As I was busy washing off dahlia clumps outside, next to the shop, a patch of orange caught my eye. I discovered this nice group of mushrooms happily growing among the daisies and dandelion leaves. It looks like someone, perhaps a chipmunk, has been nibbling on a few of the mushroom caps. Lets hope these aren't poisonous!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Planting the Garlic

After some rain showers moved through the area yesterday, today's cloudy but dry weather sent me outside to get the garlic planted. I had promised myself I would find the time, somehow, to get the garlic planted on time this year. I am still a couple weeks later than I would have liked but so much earlier than last year's January 10th planting. I pulled out of storage the largest two bulbs of each variety. 

As the name implies, the "Chesnook Red" cloves are covered in such pretty layers of red papery skin.

The "Music" cloves were larger and covered in a soft purple skin. You can only imagine how pungent and "garlicky" my hands smelled after dividing the bulbs into individual cloves!

In the Kitchen Garden, I first built up a 20'+ long raised bed. Then I laid out the individual cloves on top of the bed, trying to fit in as many as I could while still allowing enough room for each new bulb to reach maximum size. Then it was time to get planting. After I dug each hole, I dropped in a tablespoon of bone meal and mixed it into the soil at the bottom. Then I set in each clove and covered it well. I ended up planting 17 "Music" cloves and 15 "Chesnook Red" cloves. I am hoping, since I was able to plant this year's garlic crop over 3 months earlier than last year, that the garlic plants will be happier and the bulbs will reach a larger final size than they did this year.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Paper Bark Maple

I decided I had better head down today and take some pictures of the  Paperbark Maple. Its leaves are notoriously slow to turn color each fall. And just when I think it will be in peak crimson glory within a few days, it suddenly drops 80% of its leaves one night! And then I have missed another year to capture is beauty.

While there are still a few green leaves on the tree that haven't yet turned red, I knew I didn't dare wait any longer. So this morning I snapped a series of photos. They can never completely convey  how fiery red and brilliant this tree is, for just a few days each November. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Welcome November

And just like that, November has arrived. In our part of the world, November signals peak autumnal color. Thanks to our record October rainfall, we are enjoying more color this year, as the trees aren't quite as stressed from months of endless drought. Right now the Sweet Gum trees are finishing up for the season, but there are still a few crimson leaves hanging on until the next wind storm.