NOVEMBER SONG

The espalier apple trees are fixed for the long winter ahead with their fruit removed for the season. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, November marks a transitional time in the garden between outdoor chores, and greenhouse play.

I love November. Really, I do. It means that winter is coming. In may ways, I am a neophyte (but who likes to ski). This is the time of year when gardening chores slow down, become more focused (since they are limited to my greenhouse projects which I enjoy more),a nd in other ways, they just become more cerebral – time to read, think, plan and dream.

These gray, autumnal days, albeit shorter than summer, are hardly what William Cullen Bryant calls “the saddest of the year”.

Really?

I would think that distinction might go to March.

On the back porch, heirloom apples from the espalier apples in front of the greenhouse gifted us a few dozen fruit this year. These have been making their way into tarte tartin and oatmeal for breakfast. Not perfect, since we didn’t spray, they are still clear inside even though the skins are imperfect. Yes, that is a tomato!

The great poets seemed to appreciate little about November. I can’t find many positive stanza’s or even phrases which don’t include the words ‘dreary’ , ‘dull’ or ‘bleak’.

(Robert Frost goes further to describe it as “sodden”, whilst (yes, I said whilst) Sir Walter Scott penned out – “November’s sky is chill and drear…”, but dear Emily Dickinsen went further with:

“November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.”

Whah? !

There has to be a story behind that….. because I love Norway, as well.

In the vegetable garden, the beds are cleaned up, with only hardy herbs left out along with a few carrots.
It’s all happening in the greenhouse, right now. Chrysanthemums, the first of the cymbidium orchids and lots of South African bulbs.
Speaking of South African Bulbs – The Nerine sarniensis varieties are in full bloom, and rather spectacular.
Also known as Guersey Lilies, Nerine sarniensis are rarely seen today outside of a few collectors and private collections.
These relatives of the common Amaryllis are smaller and more delicate looking, but grow in a similar way, from a bulb which sits halfway into the soil in a pot. They require a hot, summer rest with no water, and a long, winter growing period with moisture and bright light, which limits who can grow them well to those with cold greenhouses.
My collection of about 100 bulbs has about a third of them blooming every year, they are a bit shy. Many of these varieties date back to the early 20th Century, and all hail from the UK, mostly the Exbury hybrids.
Outside, the gardens are cleaned and spotless because of a photoshoot last week. Even the boxwoods have bee sheered. I know, I could have centered the strawberry pot better!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s