IN AUTUMN, when the air is crisp, the sun is shining, and the leaves are falling, I enjoy taking Lily the Beagle on leisurely walks. Would you like to see what we see as we tour the gardens here? Walk with us:
The upright yews (Taxus hicksii) which form a figure-8 around my Rose Garden are handsome in all seasons. But in autumn, they are lit with cranberry-colored berries.
Squirrels do not have easy lives. I’m happy to offer them something to eat.
The ancient silver-leaf maple (Acer saccharinum) that lives at the north end of the rose garden has exchanged its summer green for autumn gold. The color will become even more vibrant just before the leaves begin to drop.
On the steeply-sloped, south-facing lawn, a purple-pansy redbud has replaced its foliage with bean-like seed pods. The seeds can be winter-sown to produce new trees.
Are you still with me? Good. We’ve arrived at the grove of white pines. Last June, I cut an opening through the dense branches in order to produce a view of the headless statue at the end of the long path straight ahead.
I don’t know about you, but when I linger beneath these trees, I feel some type of mystical energy. Why this should be, I can not say. Perhaps it is the arched shape of the opening. In Feng Shui, circles and arches are thought to produce positive energy.
In any event, the pines are busy shedding their oldest needles. The needles make excellent mulch for acid-loving plants. They also make a very cushy carpet to walk upon.
The Kitchen Garden took quite a beating last week, when temperatures dropped, for just one night, to 28 degrees. This spelled the end of my zinnias, tomatoes, and other heat-loving plants. Well, I have a big clean-up job to look forward to.
Glancing down at the house — that’s the Music Room on the far right — you’ll notice the lawn is becoming littered with leaves. All that litter will be gathered, shredded, and saved. It is nature’s compost.
Shall we enter the Woodland Garden?
Here’s the fish pond. In previous years, I’ve always retrieved any leaves which land on the water. But I was recently told to let some leaves settle at the bottom of the pond. This way, resident frogs will have something to burrow in for the winter months.
If you have fish in an outdoor pond, follow this rule of thumb: Feed them daily as long as water temperature remains above 55 degrees F. At 55 degrees, reduce food to only 3 times per week. When the water dips below 40 degrees, stop feeding until spring.
A pair of Boston ferns, achieved from last year’s propagation efforts, and kept as houseplants over winter, are still holding strong. I’m amazed they survived the recent frost. Perhaps they are hardier than we are led to believe?
I think we should head back to the house now, where a roaring fire, a plate of Autumn Spice Cookies and a pot of tea await us.
In the comments field below, tell me know what’s happening in your own garden. Is it still growing? Or has it prepared itself for winter dormancy? As always, I love to hear from you.
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