Since I live in a valley below a mountain, I usually have frost earlier than the rest of the Shoals area. When the temperature was to drop in the high thirties, I pulled all of my green tomatoes and stored them in a dark area so that they would ripen slowly. Here it is the middle of November and I’m still having ripe tomatoes. After the killing frost, several of my perennials survived and continue to bloom.
The fall foliage has been fantastic this year. The dogwoods are so full of berries; they are just a brilliant red. Are they predicting a rough winter for the birds?
Last Saturday, I dug up several iris and daylilies from an area that had become too shady since I first built on part of the old family dairy farm and moved them to the mediation circle. The mediation circle is an area at the end of my property that can be seen when driving in my driveway. It has a sugar maple surrounded by a circle of star magnolias. When the tree gets large enough to provide shade, I plan to put a bench or swing below it. In the shaded area I planted Edgy Hearts, Serrata Beni, Marie’s Variegated, Cityline Rio, Niko blue, Endless Summer ‘Twist-N-Shout’, Fire & Ice, and Delights Star Gazer hydrangeas to compliment the native azaleas I planted last year. I also replaced a young Japanese maple called Acer Osakazuki that sustained heavy cicada damage last year and due to stress didn’t survive the hot temperatures this year despite regular watering. I saved the tree for photographing for an article I’m doing on the cicada aftermath, only to find it being used as a chew toy by two of my hooligans later.
Next was the clean up of the frost bit profusion zinnias along the front walk. I tried a new variety this year called apricot profusion, also a low grower as those I’ve grown in the past and was very pleased with it. As I reached for the first plant, a faded out gulf fritillary fluttered up to a nearby zinnia as if to say not so fast now, I still need this. Shortly, a Sulfur flies up and says I second that. The clean up had to wait until another day. I did pull several of the older seed heads for next year’s garden, though it’s really unnecessary. The profusion zinnias reseed readily year after year and the butterflies just loved them. It’s just a gardener’s thing that you have to save seed for next year.
Check out my GRIT magazine blog post on the new generation of cotton pickers, combining soybeans and more on what my hooligans have been up to.