The Last of the 200 Bulbs…

The last of the 200 bulbs went in today. It was cloudy and cold in the garden, which urged me to finish. We nearly always have snow on Halloween and even though the forecast calls for a warm, sunny day, old habits die hard and I am not taking any chances. Planting tulips under the first snowfall is possible, but it is not fun.

The last eight daffodils just before they were tucked away.

Yesterday morning, I slipped outside into the sunshine, camera in hand to try and capture a bit of the frost that has finally spelled an end to the remaining flowers. It still felt like October then, but today, November looms large and next week, the time will change and the days will suddenly become much shorter.

Clara Curtis, a lovely single chrysanthemum, covered in frost

There was ice on the pool cover this morning.

The plants are weary ready for rest.

I brought in the creeping rosemary, which had been sharing a pot with some now dead flowers, so I made it move over to share some space with a parsley that is still recovering from its onslaught of parsley worms this summer. I don’t know if parsley and rosemary are good bed partners or not, but for now, the rosemary is perfuming the kitchen with heavenly scent. Come to think of it, parsley is one of the partners in that 60s Simon and Garfunkel song, “Scarborough Fair”.

 Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Remember me to one who lives there,
For once she was a true love of mine.

The song was based on a folk love song and I guess it was kind of a protest song in the 60s – I wouldn’t have noticed; I just remembered the reference to the herbs which made it quite lovely to me.

And now, outside the garden waits for its winter coat. Glenn prepared the lawn yesterday, hope in his heart for a velvety expanse of green next spring. He truly is a gardener – all lawn guys are to my mind – they just express themselves in green perfection. This year, I convinced him to mulch the leaves into the grass, saving his back and giving the grass and the trees a treat of their own making. He is quite entranced with this idea now that he has tried it. He added some seed and turkey trot, a local organic fertilizer, and was quite pleased with himself.

Pat-a-cake’s brother came by this afternoon. He is not at all as friendly as his sister is, but he is just as curious. He paid a little visit to each of my bulb plantings, sniffing them and trying to figure out if what was under the ground was of any value to a cat. He seemed quite intrigued by the scent of the grape hyacinths.

This cat was the only sign of life in the garden. Not even the sparrows are around just now although they will come back when the snow flies. They love to gather in the giant cedars around our house.

This is an impatient time of year. I begin to long for the hush of snow that will soon tuck in the plants and keep them warm through the winter. Inside, it will be time to light the fireplace and candles and pay some attention to the poor houseplants that are so sadly neglected, unless they are outside, from May to October. So far, the ivy I brought in is doing well and so is the Christmas cactus.

At my sunny office, I am having a struggle with mealy bugs – where did they come from? It’s heart breaking to see the little suckers emerge overnight and begin to sip the life out of these plants. I have tried everything – drenching the leaves and soil with neem oil this summer seemed to help, but I noticed the fuzzy devils on my beautiful jade plants Friday. I have a friend who swears that mealies can live in a carpet for years.