November had blown in with wind, rain, a bit of cold, more rain and uh…rain. Welcome to winter on the West Coast. The bright side? Eggnog latte’s are back that’s what! So I went to our friendly neighbourhood outdoor wear stores and was looking for a rain hat, yeah, I know not fashionable, but one that would help me work in my garden and orchard and walk the dogs.
Hoods are no good…I need to be able to see what I’m doing. You know what I found in all three outdoor stores that I went to? They all sent the hats back to head office to make room for the woolen toques. What the..? What kind of weather do we generally have November through April on the WET Coast?!
Any idea what a soggy woollen toque does to my already frizzy silver (ok multicoloured) hair? Well, aside from smelling like a damp sheep my already ah eclectic look has taken a turn for downright witchy! I have my eye on a nice oiled ‘Man From Snowy River’ type hat and in the meantime my relatives from Newfoundland have UPS’d me a lovely authentic Sou’Wester hat, with earflaps, thanks…thanks a lot. So here’s your list, I also send you frizz free good wishes and for those gentleman growing a stache for MOvember…may the growth be with you.
I think, quite possibly, mowing might be done for the season – I am pretty sure of this because I saw hubby doing a happy dance when he put the mower into the shed with little parting kick. He is not a lawn man. There still might be time to lime, aerate and topdress if you can find a dry day. Working on a soggy lawn however will pretty much make your efforts for naught so if we continue with the monsoons you will have to wait until late winter/early spring. What you can do however, is watch for drainage problems. Make a note and then adjust the drainage during dry weather. You can also drain the gas from your mower and even take it in for an overhaul or get the blades sharpened so you can beat the crowd getting it done in the spring.
Do some minor tidying and dividing or moving of shrubs or perennials if needed. Avoid trampling really soggy soil. This is a good time to add hardy perennials and shrubs. It is also still a great time to plant bulbs! Remember if you have lots and lots of squirrels, you can try soaking the bulbs in Bobbex or Plantskydd or planting each group with a Fritillaria which masks the scent of tasty tulips or crocus, or even putting a bit of chicken wire over the bed. This is also a great time to take stock of your garden design and adjust if more evergreen or structural ‘bones’ are needed.
Trees and Shrubs
Keep raking. It works off the Halloween candy. You can also plant and move trees and shrubs if necessary. Remember to always water in your new plantings even if it’s raining as the watering will get rid of airpockets. For those of you with Palm Trees, do not wrap the crowns with burlap. This collects water and encourages rot. Instead you can wrap the palm tree with old fashioned 7 volt twinkle lights and if we get a cold snap, leave them turned on. They will create enough heat to keep your hardy palm happy and ice free. you can also protect the crowns with a sheet of clear plastic. Just the act of keeping the wind and ice off these evergreens is often enough to get them through the winter.
Pots and Containers
Time to rip out those last few annuals and spruce up your pots with evergreen colour, twigs and stems and a little bit of sparkle. We’ll have some fun classes coming up for this as well as wreaths, Christmas Fairy Gardens, and all sorts of other good stuff in the workshop section on our website. Gather up your pots and re-work the groupings close to the house. Consider adding some winter interest like Hollies, Birch Trunks or Berries for added effect.
While some are already available, we'll have a full selection of these decorative accents by mid to late November. For the pots that are dedicated to summer and won’t be on show, cluster them together up close to the house and if you have some borderline hardy beauties you can wrap them with some kind of insulation (the pots not the plants), such as carpet underlay, bubble wrap etc.
Bulbs, Tubers etc
Time to bring your Dahlias, Cannas and other tropical bulbs and tuber in. Make sure you cut off the greens, hose off the soil and allow to dry before putting them away. I like to use a sprinkle of cinnamon and a bit of coconut fibre in a brown paper bag. It's also not too late to plant bulbs. Just plant on a day when the ground is not frozen. There is still a great selection of daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and more available instore and you can now <a href="http://www.artsnursery.com/catalog/spring-flowering-bulbs" target="_blank">shop online</a>
Ponds & Water Features
Keep skimming out the leaves and removing other dead plant material. If you remove your pumps and hoses then now is a good time to remove them before we get a freeze.
If you haven’t already done so, take stock, clean shovels and hoes in a sand bucket. Oil handles and do a general taking stock. Might be a good time to write a Christmas-want list. you can even shop online for some of our tools.
That is probably enough for now, Happy November…or at least Happy Eggnog Latte season!