Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Battening Down the Garden

Blooming things have been coming to an end, but it's still a busy time as I collect some seeds, and divide some perennials which are getting overgrown. The Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy has been a star, and I especially like the ones with double petals. None in the accompanying photo, however.

I was lucky enough to find a couple of things I have really wanted at the Island Pride Nursery on the 70-Mile Yard Sale - an astrantia (the white one) and a Helebore. I also got an anemone Hupehensis called September Charm, and a primrose, which had a burgundy bloom when I got it, but which has been blooming white since. I think there are actually three plants in the pot, two white and a burgundy. I want to divide them before putting them in the ground. Or maybe just in a pot to keep close by.
I have planted all but the primrose in extant flower beds, with the hellebore just to the left of the path to the door, as I want to see it close up when it blooms. I spent my last week of freedom re-doing the path, including pulling away the old steps, levering up the patio stones, and digging out the weeds in the sand underneath. Then I filled in and levelled with small gravel, replaced the patio stones (the 4 big ones - 24-inch square), filled in the spaces with the gravel, and then cut and installed the stringers for three shallow steps. We had bought white cedar 2X4X8's for the treads at Arsenault's Mill and we cut them up - deciding that we wanted the steps five feet long, not four, which meant we were 3 2X4's short. We eventually bought more at Home Depot, but they don't match - they are red cedar instead of white, and they are planed, so they are a bit smaller than the Arsenault ones. Ah well. They will last forever at least. And I have quite a few 3-foot bits of 2X4 that I can use to make garden furniture. No more pine for that purpose - they rot in no time!

We had a dreadful week of wind and rain, and then a lovely return to summer for the Thanksgiving weekend. We went down to Little Harbour for cranberries on the Saturday. It was quite wet under foot in spots, but there were cranberries a-plenty.  Some of them weren't very ripe. We are taking care to sort and clean, and maybe ripen, them right away this time. Last year they were put in the room over the garage at Christmas-time, and were forgotten. They ended up freezing and rotting. This year's batch is going into the freezer when they colour up a bit more.
We also dug up some cranberry plants, and on Sunday I planted them into my newly-dug cranberry bog. There were only 10 plants in all, and only a couple of them had any amount of roots attached, so I'm not expecting too much. I had filled the pit with peat moss, and then I covered it with white pine needles. Some sand on the top, to hold the whole thing down, will be the next step. I am tempted to check out the cranberry plants at the back of Reggie's farm - I haven't been back there for years, but there used to be cranberries there in a boggy bit, and they may dig up more easily than the ones growing on the dunes in Little Harbour.
I have planted a pound of our garlic, which is Music, and another type which I had bought at the garlic place in Caledonia - I think it's Carpathia. The pine cones are to keep the cats from digging in the bed and disturbing the cloves, while they are getting their roots established.
Our Yellow Delicious apple tree has an amazing amount of fruit on it - I've made apple-and-ground-cherry crisp three times now, got people out to pick a bag of apples each at Thanksgiving dinner on Monday, and still the tree is covered. I must bring some in to work. I wish tomatoes had been so good, but the blight took them off fairly quickly. Even the 6 plants I kept in the greenhouse have it. They are at least still producing ripe tomatoes, especially cherry ones, but the ones outdoors are well and truly frost-bitten. The ground-cherries have been touched as well, but there are a lot of ripe and unripe cherries left - I will have to cover them as there is a frost warning for tonight.
I have been working on a pair of Selbu Mittens - the Selbu pattern is for a hat, but I thought the mittens would be more useful immediately. I am using some Knitpicks undyed merino-and-silk and a Kroy sock in a nice mott-ley turquoise which will work well with my fall suede jacket. I wore the jacket today for the first time, so I'd better get busy. Mitten weather could strike at any time.

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