Friday, November 16, 2007

Winter's knocking on our door....

Well, operation adding compost is in full swing! Since time is running out before the snow flies and Eric goes back under the knife for his back, I've switched my game plan to top dressing the beds with lots of compost. I've been scratching it into the soil the best I can. Eric also has been collecting leaves with his lawnmower and chomping them up into great leaf mold. So, I have been using the leaf mold as a mulch which I will turn into the soil in the spring when it breaks down. I've got about 50% of my beds put to sleep this fall. I haven't gotten the bulbs in yet and hope to do that this weekend if I have time. I don't think I'm going to do much of a fall clean up this season. I may just let everyone but the dahlia's and the tender cannas go into their winter's nap and clean them up in the spring.

I took a bunch of photos a couple of weekends ago of Garden Consultant HQ in the middle of it's autumnal glory!

Below, here's a close up of the fall color of my Coral Bark Japanese Maple from that top photo...I love her!!

Below is Lake Larson before I skimmed all of the water lettuce and leaves out of it. I've been procrastinating of getting the rest of the leaves out of there...I was sore from the first time around! I'll probably get to that this Sunday. Then I can put the fishies to bed for the winter. Actually, I have to order some pond heaters before I can officially put them to bed.

Above is the back part of the pond before the killing front whacked all of my annuals whom I have since yanked.

One of my dahlias that my father in law gave me earlier this's last hurrah. I'll have to dig them up before thanksgiving. I actually don't have a great place in my house to overwinter them. My basement is too warm for them and the bulkhead is too cold. I'll have to send them back home to him. He's got this closet that butts up to an outside wall and it's worked out great for him and his dahlias...if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

My Sargent's Crabapple gearing up for her winter show!

There won't be much in the way of updates for the garden this winter which is understandable. But, I'll be doing Project Feederwatch through Cornell's Ornithology Lab and I'll probably post what I see every week. Also, the other big thing going on this winter or maybe spring will be a new addition of the four legged kind to Garden Consultant HQ. I'll definitely keep you all posted on that front.

Friday, November 2, 2007

OH Wow! Hurricanes!

I was going to make this post about something else that I'll get to in a minute. But...we have a little hurricane brewing outside. Normally, I would be completely freaked out about this, especially since we haven't had a hurricane or anything close to one come near Rhode Island since I moved here in 1997. However, they are forcasting at least 2 - 3" of rain out of this. This might be exactly what we need to break this dry soil streak we've had almost all season. I just came in from getting birdfeeders and things that could launch across the yard and end up in Lake Larson. I wasn't going to do it until I heard the updated weather forecast on TV and it sounds like it's gaining strength and coming closer than what was earlier predicted. Man, what the heck is going on...a frost and a hurricane all in one week. It must be the Apocalypse. Heh, I bet there's no bread or milk in the stores. Maybe Eric, Sam and I will go surf watching tomorrow at the beach.

Anyway...what I was really going to post about and what may become the subject of the blog over the winter is Project Feederwatch. Cornell's Lab of Ornithology runs a research project every late fall and winter that uses data from backyard birding enthusiasts. I missed the cut off date last year to sign up. This year, I'm ready to go and have my feeding stations all set up off in the back perimeter of the yard. It's kind of neat, you choose two days a week where you note the numbers and species of birds that visit your feeders. Then that information is sent to Cornell and they track the habits and numbers of birds.

It's probably too late to sign up now, but here's the link in case anyone wants to participate next year.

Batten down the hatches everyone, I think tomorrow is going to be a wild ride.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Yup, fall has officially arrived in RI...we got a touch of frost on Sunday night. My dahlias, ageratum, nasturtiums, and the peppers in the vegetable garden were lightly hit. I was really suprised the pond plants are fine. It makes sense why the water lettuce and others didn't get damaged. Water cools down much more slowly than air and it protected the plants. I think the water is going to be skimmed clean of floaters this weekend before they are reduced to mushy slime.

I was up at a client's house in Gloucester and man, they were hit HARD with frost. Their hydrangeas and annuals were pretty much fried with little hope of recovering. Newport and the surrounding areas weren't bothered at all with the drop in temperatures. That completely blows my mind we can have that much difference in temperatures in such a small state. That's what makes gardening so interesting in Rhode Island!

(Don't tell anyone, but I'm ready for some fall/winter weather after this growing season. Bring on my long winter's nap!)