Serendipity Gardens: November transitions the gardens into winter after colors of summertime

Published 4:35 pm Friday, November 10, 2017

Serendipty Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

We have turned the pages on the calendar transitioning the gardens from colorful to the drabness of November. The beautiful autumn colors that once covered the trees are now relegated to our memories. Trees now stand bare like sentinels guarding the gardens as they fade into the gray skies. No longer can I sit on the benches in the gardens enjoying the kaleidoscope of colors on the trees, the warmth of the late fall sun on my face or the last of the flowers and butterflies. They are gone until next year.

November is my least favorite month as I know only too well what lies ahead of us with colder temperatures and snow’s approaching arrival. No more flowers bloom in the gardens and I have very little room in my small cottage to bring very many indoors to enjoy over the winter months. This year, I chose my small miniature bicycle planter that holds three succulent plants to save and bring indoors. The flowers on it are minimal so it is not very exciting, but the bright peacock blue of the bicycle adds some excitement to my laundry room at least. Oh how I wish I had room so I could have brought in the colorful hibiscus that graced the end of the driveway garden, blooming a bright yellow. It was called Tahiti wind. Just hearing the name brings smiles to my face as I think about warm tropical temperatures and breezes. What a way to enjoy a cold winter day that would be.

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We have already had our first taste of winter with the Oct. 27 snowfall that blanketed the ground for a few hours and then melted as swiftly as it arrived. My gardens were only partially cut down and leaves covered the lawn, reminding me that there are chores to get done before the ground is blanketed in white that stays for many months.

Both my red oak and Japanese maple hold onto their leaves well past the rest of the trees in our neighborhood, so it is always a race with the snow to get them raked so the leaves don’t smother the grass. As for the gardens, I like to leave both the coneflowers and rudbeckia standing for the birds to enjoy their seed heads. Those leaves will get mulched and put on my gardens to protect plants from the freeze thaw that occurs during the winter. When they break down, they will add nutrients to the soil.

I have not decided if the heated birdbaths will go out this year since John can’t do the snowblowing again this year, and sometimes the paths are too covered with heavy snow for me to reach the location where I place them so I can enjoy the birds. I took the screen out in the window this year where I like to photograph birds so I can get better photos of them. The gardens bring in so many different critters for me to enjoy and they sure keep me busy filling feeders with seeds and suet for them. One of my favorites is a red-bellied woodpecker that I named Big Red. It seems mighty partial to the peanuts I put out.

Once the ground freezes, I will cutback the roses to about 18 inches and then mulch around them with wood chips to protect them from the freezing temperatures. They are flower carpet roses that I trialed for a company several years ago and they bloomed prolifically again this year throughout the season. I really love the colors they go through — from amber to an orange/peach — and there are so many blooms on them.

So once the last of the garden chores are finished, it will be time to just sit back and enjoy the visitors to the gardens and hopefully get some great photos of them. Soon the catalogs will be arriving in my mailbox, tempting me to buy all of their beauties for next season. Enjoy November’s transition!

“No shade, no shine no butterflies, no bees, no fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds – November.” — Thomas Hood