Into Autumn

Last week I broke down and started to wear a coat to work.  This weekend I’m reconsidering long pants and wondering why I’m sweating as I dig.  After a cooling off last month (and some really spectacular weather) it’s warm again, and I’m not sure how much I like that.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a mild autumn, but after going through all the trouble of dragging things inside, the big procrastinating part of me wonders if I couldn’t have put it off for another week or two 😉

autumn garden

The rock wall sits empty, the aspen are starting to color up.

Sadly the sweaty digging had little to do with the garden, rather it was me digging out the new access to the basement.  I’m a little tired of all the hard labor, but the stones for a wall, and fill for some low spots, and some more soil for yard leveling will hopefully all lead to more planting spots so in the long run… the really long run… the run that never seems to have an end in sight….

galanthus bursanus

Galanthus bursanus doing well in a protected spot of the open garden.  I’m quite pleased.

What the warmth has been good for are the autumn flowering snowdrops.  No harsh freezes flattening them, no fierce winds and driving rain to beat them up, just day after day of mild temperatures and soil warming sunshine.  The snowdrops seem happy, and the gardener has been enjoying this.

autumn snowdrops

A Galanthus reginae-olgae also doing ok in the open garden.  Maybe someday the clumps will be thick enough to stand up to the falling leaves, but not quite yet.

Enough about snowdrops though.  I don’t want to overdo it before the late fall bloomers and the winter bloomers and then the spring hurrah!  It will be a long four months in that case, because even me holding back might be a little more than many people will want to endure.

cyclamen cilicium

Another fall bloomer, Cyclamen cilicium.  This one is perfectly hardy for me yet still in a pot.  Maybe one of my newly built-up areas will be the perfect location for a starter colony of this cool little species.

Oh wait.  Autumn foliage is also a thing for some people (maybe the snowdropless amongst us), so yeah the maples were amazing, the oaks are turning to russet, and the warm breezes have leaves dropping and running across the neighborhood every which way.  I wish I had more for mulching but I’ll collect as many as I can and hope it’s enough.

Citrus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon'

The hardy orange, Citrus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ always surprises me with its weird pink-yellow-orange-green fall color combos.  Today I think the green spines are fascinating but I’m sure someday I will curse them.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll also get some tulips planted.  I thought about it today, but as usual way too much time is being wasted on moving furniture and house projects rather than doing more important things.  Please ignore that the “more important” things were actually silly things like picking leaves off the witch hazel and cleaning off moss patches and power-washing birch trees, but to be honest there’s a reason I never post a things to do in the garden list.  How would I ever explain planting tulips in a December snow squall after preaching that the first week in November was when it should have been done?  All in good time, right?

Hope you have an excellent week 🙂

21 comments on “Into Autumn

  1. Yes, with this mild November I’ve been thinking even I could grow fall-blooming snowdrops. I’ve been thankful for every warm day letting me cross more items off my to-do list (and power-washing birches was not one of them). But really, what happened to that contractor? Shouldn’t he be digging the entrance to the basement, with his equipment? Or did you fire him?

    • bittster says:

      I might be able to send a fall bloomer or two next summer, it will be interesting to see how they do for you. Maybe one of the earliest can beat your snow.
      A smarter person would probably have the contractor dig the basement access, but this person wants to make sure the debris doesn’t get mixed with the gravel or the topsoil, and if one wheelbarrow looks like it should go in the back of the yard and another should go on the side, well… it’s hard to explain that to a guy on an excavator, and if a nice scoop of topsoil gets buried under a scoop of shale, ugh! 😉

  2. TimC says:

    It’s still too warm to plant tulips, they don’t like it, and they don’t need it. So well done, deferring that task. Of course, it is far more pleasant to do in mild weather, but where’s the challenge in that?

    • bittster says:

      As always you are the voice of reason. Brisk weather also makes the planting move along much quicker so there you are, the voice of efficiency as well!

  3. Paddy Tobin says:

    I’m afraid these early autumn-flowering snowdrops just don’t perform with me (Waterford, southeast Ireland). Galanthus reginae olgae is not able for our summer dampness and we don’t get the heat they appreciate for summer dormancy. I grow a few in pots in the glasshouse but don’t really enjoy growing them that way. Galanthus ‘Barnes’ is in flower in the garden with G. ‘Mary Hely-Hutchinson’ almost there. ‘Hoggets Narrow’ will be next. I was sent a bulb of G. bursanus last year but there is no sign of it yet. I am conflicted about growing this as I cannot understand for the life of me how a species described as recently as 2019 has managed worldwide distribution in gardens already. In Europe many are attributed to one collector – as in a person who collects/digs up snowdrops in the wild – and I feel the snowdrop community are supporting this improper activity.

    • bittster says:

      For the R-os it must be the cooler summers, since here they do well enough even in a summer-damp location (for my one clump, so clearly not the best researched theory).
      Barnes is just a day or two away from bloom as well as Potter’s Prelude. This seems early but the fall bloomers are often all over the place for me so it probably means nothing, but I’ll take it! Better than the timing is the fact the weather has been excellent for enjoying fall snowdrops. They’re opening well and jump into bloom on a warm afternoon.
      I think I found my ‘Hoggets Narrow’ and was thrilled it made it to a second year in spite of a wandering label. Some of the elwesii do not hold up well here to the winter cold and the foliage looks terrible after a few hard freezes, but oddly while some don’t seem to mind others opt to give up completely. I thought Hoggets was checking out but hopefully it is the new nose!
      Your concerns regarding bursanus are very well founded, especially with regard to other plant species decimated by collecting, but I’m hoping this isn’t the case for this species. Firstly the native haunts may not be the safest home range based on development and a lack of protection or concern for their existence… and I believe it’s also a fairly limited range… secondly although first described in 2019 even I had already seen blooming examples in this country by then, considered at that time to be fall blooming G. plicatus, so it’s been moving around for a couple years previous. I think it’s quite vigorous and promiscuous to top all that off so it makes me wonder more about why it’s not more widespread in its native haunts. Also (sorry to go on so much) the variability is surprising. Forms which took decades to show up in other species are already around. A species full of surprises I think, but I do hope the original populations remain healthy.

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        Pot culture is the only way I can manage G. reg olgs here and I don’t enjoy that method preferring snowdrops which grow well in the garden – good clumps rather than spots here and there though, of course, they all started off as spots here and there! G. bursanus is an example of collecting, I believe and the one bulb I was sent two years ago seems not to be about to make any appearance and I won’t mourn its demise here as it would bother me to feel it may have come by inappropriate means. G. elwesii cultivars are not the best here either; they do fairly well but not as good as G. plicatus, for example. ‘Potter’s Prelude’ is one I have admired but never managed to source. Another from N. America is ‘Walker’s Canada’. Both look like good garden plants.

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    Hard to believe it is November and not early Sept. these past few days. Not complaining though, it does make for more pleasant working conditions and opportunity to be outside before the cold shuts us out of the garden for good. As my trees mature, there are more leaves for mulch and I only clear the paths and open areas, leaving the rest where they fall. There was once a time where I scrounged every last leaf and even begged some from neighbors. Abundance will come in time!

    • bittster says:

      A constant concern here is that all ‘mature’ gardens are shade gardens. I keep thinking of that as I look at the trees I’ve planted and consider how much I like the colors of a full-sun garden. I may still end up choosing the chainsaw over more mulch… which sounds sad, but I do prefer a more open garden.
      The cold will come soon enough, never fear! The rake will yield to the snowshovel 😉

      • Eliza Waters says:

        After 30+ years, my yard has become increasingly shady and I find the same challenges with my desire for sun-loving plants. But at this point, I can’t bring myself to cut a healthy, mature tree. They are carbon-capture queens! 🙂

  5. Cathy says:

    Mild here too, although the last few days have shown a definite change and the chill is beginning to set in. Good for you not planting your bulbs too early – I actually have some Muscari peeping out of pots planted up only about three weeks ago. I thought I was being clever getting them in so early!
    Have a great week Frank!

    • bittster says:

      A great week to you as well 🙂
      I see seasonal temperature within the ten day forecast, my “brisk” bulb plantings will happen soon enough! -and don’t fret the muscari foliage, my established bulbs are all lush with foliage. I’ll trim it all back in the spring if the rabbits don’t get to the chore before I do.

  6. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Those really long runs can be tiring. I do like that rock wall. It is calling for some sort of collection of pots for next summer’s display. Or maybe just some nice lichen and moss to hop on for the duration. Don’t worry about those tulips, they will get planted. I have faith in you. It is mild here now too. But the cold of winter is supposed to arrive in a couple of days. Happy digging…

    • bittster says:

      Always good to hear from you Lisa! I miss your blog updates 🙂
      Just last week I was wondering if some gravel and a few dozen hens and chicks cuttings would be a good idea on top of the wall. Maybe next spring I’ll visit a friend who can be distracted enough so that he won’t notice me filling a shoebox with all different kinds off his collection 😉

      • Lisa at Greenbow says:

        I think every once in a while that I MIGHT blog some. My poor garden is going through a metamorphous. I hope you find a full shoebox next spring.

  7. For once, my procrastination paid off with mild weather, so I don’t feel guilty that I haven’t planted the tulip bulbs. This is especially important since I ordered some so late they haven’t been delivered yet. Oh, but I did plant the snowdrops soon after you gave them to me. P. x

  8. I adored those three 70-degree days that we had last week! My only regret is that I didn’t get nearly as much done as I needed to. And yes, I am both snowdropless (well, almost; I doubt thta plain old G. elwesii actually counts in Serious Snowdrop Circles, lol) and a fall foliage lover. Not so much when I have to clean all of them up, though, lol. (Still waiting for a fairly big bulb order from Brent & Becky’s which has NOT arrived yet; I really wish they would send them closer to Halloween than to Thanksgiving…grrrr)

    • bittster says:

      Oh of course the plain old G. elwesii counts! In the snowdrop world you can make a big deal over just about anything 😉
      Hopefully your bulb order has arrived. After the warm holiday weather things have taken a turn towards chilly, and I think that’s where it’s staying for a little while at least.

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