11.20.2007

Autumn in the Garden

There are two words that, when said together, conjure up the taste of nectarines and dry-farmed tomatoes. And the dusty scent of redwood groves and hot wet blacktop. These two words are, of course: Indian summer.
The synesthete in me sees the colours of Indian summer as I write, for Autumn is about very definite hues: when everything seems to luxuriate in these months of warmth and ripening and colour. The chlorophyll is pulled back into the trees, leaving all those glorious anthocyanins and xanthophylls (reds and yellows) to blaze forth. The liquidambars and dogwoods down the road have been at it all day, clamoring for attention; and the yellow maple across the street doesn't seem to know the meaning of the word 'decorum'. Living here in Northern California, in the land of evergreen trees (redwoods, oaks, laurels, madrones, Ponderosa pines), things can get a bit......monochromatic. That's why when the deciduous trees get going, I'm sitting up and clapping my flippers together like a seal at the circus.
Autumn in the garden is such an interesting time: all about clean-up, and stragglers, leaf piles, mulch and bulbs. And then there's all the Mary Poppins gardening, when I'm putting everything to sleep, drawing up the mulch like blankets on the perennial beds. A real 'Let's Tidy Up the Nursery' sort of feel. When I gardened at the Seamill Centre, this was almost my favourite season, mainly because we got to haul tons (but there it was tonnes) of dead branches and other garden detritus to the fire pit for huge bonfires. We had quite a blaze on Guy Fawkes night, complete with fireworks and effigies........Here I'll have to make do with dancing around my Waste Management Green Waste recycling can, roasting weenies on the Hibachi.

To Do

*Transplant-apple tree, cotinus, lemon verbena, phlomis fruticosa, leonotis leonorus
*Sow seeds: (direct sow) ammi magus, breadseed poppies, eschscholtzia californica (white)
*Clean out coldframe
*Lawn: one last mow, rake thatch, aeriate soil
*Prune: Most perennials, esp. salvias, hydrangeas
*Set up Vermicomposting
*Need: Compost, Mulch, worms (call the Worm Doctor for worm suppliers. No, really, that's how she styles herself. And now I've got They Might Be Giants "They call me Dr. Worm....I'm not a real doctor but I am a real worm..." in my head.) Great.

1 comment:

**Ms. Franklin** said...

"I love clapping my fins together..." couldn't agree with you more. Keep up the great blogging!

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.