Hunkering Down

Last weekend was the finale of the fall color.  By the end of this week most of the leaves will be down and the doors will be open for winter to make its arrival.fall color in Pennsylvania

I’m not rushing it out but I think I have to call a time for the 2013 growing season.  It’s lost its joie de vivre and from now on until snow flies it’s all downhill.  So far so good though.  I’ve been remarkably organized this fall and had most of the tropical were safely under cover a few days before the first frost.  This year I’m putting some under lights, maybe it will help them look a little less pathetic come March.overwintering tropicals under lights

The rest will sit out winter in the back of our semi-heated garage.  No watering, little light, but it should be enough to bring them through the winter.  When I get the motivation I’ll move them back away from the door…. just like I’ll move all the other crap that tends to accumulate and fill the spot where my car should be.overwintering tropicals

Weekend plans include digging up dahlia and canna roots and finishing winter cleanup.  So far it hasn’t felt like much work and maybe my early start and the late frost date worked in my favor, but usually things happen at a different pace.  My usual method is wait until I’m in bed, see a freezing weather report, grab a flashlight, and then stumble through the dark in my pajamas, flashlight in mouth and a load of cold wet plants in my arms.  Good times, good times.

The freeze-dash makes you grateful for hardy “tropicals” such as musa basjoo.  This one is going on winter #3 here by the porch.  I think the protection of the house helps bring it through the winter, although a little extra protection would probably give it a much stronger head start in the spring.musa basjooNow that the summer garden is packed away and additional rain has finally made for good planting soil I’m thinking about bulbs.  I bet I could hit a few clearance sales and add a couple more bulbs cheaply before the ground freezes.  I bet I’d be real proud of myself come May…..  I just have to remember the time change has me leaving for work and returning home in the dark, and that doesn’t make for good bulb planting.  Oh well.  I already know how this is going to turn out 😉

8 comments on “Hunkering Down

  1. Get a headlamp from an outdoor sports store…much better than flashlight-in-mouth 🙂
    Garlic-planting weekend around here…there’s a snowflake on the 10-day forecast 😦

    • bittster says:

      Snow? *Blech*.
      We had some squalls come through Thursday night and it was a slap of reality to see a dusting of snow on the ground on the morning commute through the mountains.

  2. Cathy says:

    Go for it! The stores will be selling them off cheaply as they want to push all the Christmas stuff now. And Marie’s idea of a headlamp is brilliant! 😉

    • bittster says:

      I’ve gotten even more desperate 😉 I’ve been stalking the online websites for their sales and imagining what I will get when the sales start! Traditionally the end of November (the day after thanksgiving) is when I hit the online sales. I’m torn between bulk tulips or various small goodies. I don’t think I should do both but spring bulbs are all I can think about lately!
      I may have a problem.

      • Cathy says:

        I just hope the ground doesn’t freeze before then… that could be a REAL problem! 😉

      • bittster says:

        Only if it’s the bulk tulips! One year I had to chip through the crust of ice to get them in the ground!
        The rest get potted up. Just one more bit of extra work to inflict upon myself 🙂

  3. Annette says:

    Wow, ain’t that a smashing view, Frank?! All these colours and trees – never noticed it properly before. I’m glad you got all your tender treasures in. Wind and rain here, I’m afraid. Do you mean you can leave the Musa outdoors in winter?

    • bittster says:

      Thanks! The colors at the end of the season have been nice even though so many trees dropped their leaves early.
      The musa stays out all year and in our warmer than normal winters it has survived without any additional protection. It does benefit from being near the foundation and being sheltered on the east side of the house (I have killed it elsewhere) 😉

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