getting a grip in the garden, one hopes…

getting a grip in the garden, one hopes…

How do I always forget how cold it gets when we head into winter? I always imagine I’ll do this task and that–after the weather is finished with being too hot. Hah! Rumor has it we’re getting our first freeze over the next couple days. Soon, I can put away any notion of wrapping up my gardening chores–at least for the next couple dark months.

Thusly, I did a walk about out there–to see if that could kick me into high gear. We’ve had a super mild fall and a lot of the plants are still looking terrific.

Poor things, their run is about done.

Everyone else was busy winterizing. Not me. Until now. Fingers crossed.

Everyone else was busy winterizing. Not me. Until now. Fingers crossed.

Asparagus densiflorus 'Myersii' and Phormium 'Sundowner' under cover.

Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myersii’ and Phormium ‘Sundowner’ under leaf cover.

Chamaerops humilis aka Mediterranean Fan Palm snuggled in.

Chamaerops humilis aka Mediterranean Fan Palm snuggled in.

And the Brugmansias, crazy how good they look. If they don’t survive, it was worth it, enjoying them all this extra time.

Brugmansia 'Single White' hanging in there.

Brugmansia ‘Single White’ hanging in there.

It’s still blooming, for Pete’s sake.

Brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi' and Brugmansia 'Single White' still singing their hearts out.

Brugmansia ‘Charles Grimaldi’ and Brugmansia ‘Single White’ still singing their hearts out.

(We don’t have any mulch-worthy leaves in our garden, so I raked up a few bins from the neighbors’ yard. They have a giant big leaf maple, so leaves aplenty.)

Joe's & Judy's Bigleaf Maple. I didn't make a dent in leaf fall.

Joe & Judy’s Bigleaf Maple–the giant round one. We didn’t make a dent in leaf fall.

It’s colder this morning, and there was a bit of snow forecasted. Nothing is happening here–of course. I took the opportunity for a few shots around the garden, pre-snowpocalypse. (Native Oregonians often stand around holding our breath at the suggestion of snowflakes falling from the sky. I cannot tell you how many times the weather folks have snatched that football from beneath our feet, and yet, we stand, still breathless. P.S. Peeps who’ve moved here from snowier climes are asked to kindly refrain from commenting on disdain for snow. I’m serious!)

Scrub Jay - January 2016

Scrub Jay – January 2016

Our snow is so fleeting–this from last January–so please let us enjoy it for the second or two it lasts.

Back to the present. How crazy is this, the tropical-style bed near the patio. I had my fingers crossed I could enjoy it all winter–my praying for snow notwithstanding. This was yesterday, December 4, 2016. Wacky.

Patio side bed--to make it feel like we're on vacation.

Patio side bed planted with tropical inspiration–to make it feel like we’re on vacation.

The Cyperus papyrus has enjoyed its longest fun yet. I plant one in that tall skinny every year, and lot of bang for the six bucks or so.

Cyperus papyrus aka Egyptian Papyrus

Cyperus papyrus aka Egyptian Papyrus

The Tetrapanax papyrifer have exceeded my wildest expectations. Their success is making me a little nervous–even though I think they’re super cool. There’s another stand at the back corner with less protection. They’re going faster than this grove.

Tetrapanax in less protected location fading faster.

Tetrapanax in a less protected location is fading faster.

Tetrapanax leaf taking a last bow.

Tetrapanax leaf taking a last bow.

Acanthus sennii is hanging in there. Last year about this time, I was photographing skeletal leaves.

The spines on Ethiopian Acanthus are not kidding around. Secret Garden Growers describes it as “well armed.”

We did get one final task done. The area around our apple tree had gotten so muddy. And I’m out there mucking around in it every day filling bird feeders. Those little critters are hungry. Then a stroke of luck; nice neighbors on advertised an abundance of FREE woods chips.

Apple tree with bird feeders and mud below.

Apple tree with bird feeders above and mud below.

Wood chips look a mess when delivered.

Wood chips look a mess when delivered.

The man is always so willing to accommodate my whims–provided I bear in mind that he’s tactical: What, when, where. He will handle the how.

Where do you want these dumped, Ma'am?

Where do you want this dumped, Ma’am?

And then the mud was gone--or at least buried.

And then the mud was gone–or at least buried. 

How about you? Have you tossed in the towel for the season?


  • Anna K

    Nope – haven’t packed it in yet, but I did move a number of homeless things into my shed for the dip into the 30’s. It remains to be seen how far I actually get before the ground freezes for good. Fingers crossed we still get a few more days…

    • Hi Anna,

      I’ve been dragging out paint & samples. Apparently I’m making the switch to indoor activities. Trying to get myself to finish painting the hallway–before I start changing colors in rooms that are done–and I only painted a year or so ago. If it wasn’t for all the stuff that has to moved to paint, I might change colors even more often than I do. But then, you can understand that, right?


      • Anna K

        Oh, totally! 😀

  • Alison

    I still have stuff I plan to do once this cold weather moves on. It will go back up into the 40s at some point, and then I’ll be out there again. I don’t disdain snow, I fear and hate it. Totally different thing.

    • I don’t know why I’ve been so unmotivated the past few months, but if you can get out there in the 40s, pretty sure I can too. My biggest problem is a million weeds, especially amongst the dangerous plants. I may give up super pokey stuff–and just visit Loree when I need a fix.

      Fear & loathing, that is a different thing. I can just tell you, no need for that around these parts. They only forecast snow to tease us–when it’s too early for the “lines at the airport & Post Office” stories.


  • Tim Vojt

    Patricia, your new garden really has it going on! Your round bed with the Brugmansia, fern and palm is so awesome. I’m crazy about that palm. I love the view over your new patio and your front-yard garden. You’ve got a great helper in Bill; he’s a good sport. Nice score on the wood chips.
    That scrub jay is astounding. I like our local blue jays, but that blue on the scrub jay is so vibrant.
    It’s been so mild in Ohio this autumn that I’m getting a bit delusional. I started ordering bare-root, dormant plants and Arisaeama bulbs with impunity. I’m not normally planting things in the garden in November and December, but here comes trouble.
    I’ve been stealing a line from the old Cybill Shepherd show: I’ve been pleasuring myself with my credit card…..
    The spell should be broken later this week, when lows will hit around 17F…although it is expected to warm up again after that.
    Happy gardening and garden rest!

    • Hey, Thanks Tim.

      The weather gods must be crazy, and saving up for a good laugh at our expense. Lots of gardeners on FB discussing what’s going to happen here in the next couple days. Maybe ice, which is never too good.

      I’m so happy to hear your quote from the Cybill show. I loved that thing. One of my oft borrowed lines comes from MaryAnne–when Cybill asked her to choose between Ross Perot & the WOZ flying monkeys. MaryAnne says, “Are the Monkeys rich?”

      Bill & I have whole discussion in movie lines–all old ones, because we never go to movies any more–even though we threaten. (The guys–Bill, son Elliot, SIL Justin–go to the new Star Wars movies, and things of that ilk–but Megan & I usually bug out. All that theater noise is hard on my brain.)

      Around our house, we can talk in “Day the Earth Stood Still,” “Support Your Local Sheriff,” “Moonstruck,” “Local Hero,” and a few lines from “Downtown Abbey” — like “What’s a Weekend?” Oh, also “Hope & Glory.” None of which, btw, are on dang streaming Netflix. We keep threatening to fire up an old DVD player.


      • Tim Vojt

        Well, that is too funny, Patricia. Since we don’t have a television, I get my doses of TV from Netflix and an occasional Ipad app. I used to watch a lot more tv, probably the same time you were watching. We do get to movies now and again.
        Speaking of the flying devil monkeys, do you know the writer’s glitch about that great line? The same writer’s for Cybill wrote for Caroline in the City. I don’t know in which show the Ross Perot/Flying Devil Monkeys line was first used, but the writers thought it had been cut and used it in the second show. If you watched a lot of sitcoms, you definitely noticed the recycled (great) joke!
        That stuff sure sticks with you.
        PS: Moonstruck is an all-time favorite in our house.
        PSS: sorry, I know this is a gardening blog. Just waiting for a client……got carried away.

        • Hah. You’re on top of your lines. We mean to watch less TV, but we’re hopeless political junkies. Though in fairness, we never just watch; we both always have computers going on our laps.
          As far as this being about gardening, I think I’ve pretty well established it’s a ho holds barred blog. Much, no doubt, to Megan’s chagrin. I blame on the Irish Girl in me: what’s the point if you can’t tell a story.

  • Ricki Grady

    I had to laugh about “doing it when it isn’t so hot”. That’s me in a nutshell. Now it’s “I’ll do it when it isn’t so cold”. It’s a wonder I ever get anything done. You, on the other hand, have accomplished a great deal in a short time.

  • Cenepk10

    Fabulous Tropical Patio ! Just saw we are getting first freeze of the season tomorrow night. 27•. Phooey !!! My azaleas are about to explode into bloom- Echinacea has little blooms popping up – still have zinnias & cleome in bloom. I cant stand winter. It’s fleeting here, too. Looking Really good over there !!! Mulch… makes everything thing so neat & tidy :).