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The sense of urgency that fills me every October is displaced in November by sheer panic.  All too soon, it really will be TOO LATE to finish planting bulbs, pull out annuals, or spread leaf mulch.  This year has been particularly stressful as the first third of the month was filled with a virtual maelström of family events, extra volunteer obligations, and after-school appointments.  For ten days I had only time enough to give my gardens a longing glance as I drove up or down the hill.

But now life has returned to its normal rhythms, and I have time to prioritize and tackle the tasks at hand.  Mother Nature blessed me with a warm dry day today, so I’ve actually already accomplished some of these items:

1.  Move the Halloween Jack O’Lanterns from the front of the house up to the back corner of the yard for the deer to enjoy!004This was the easiest of all my jobs today.  Here they are, just waiting for the deer to come along.  We are unduly amused nearly every year by the sight of a greedy deer getting its snout stuck inside a pumpkin and the machinations it goes through to get un-stuck!0022.  Pull the frost-killed annuals out of the Terrace Garden.  They are unattractive and very visible to all who drive up our street.020

I did this today, and the rock garden as well, filling the wheelbarrow five times and trudging up the hill with it to dump the debris in the undeveloped, wooded lot next to our lawn where whatever animals wish to may bed down in it, hide under it, or eat it. 008

Salvia ‘Evolution’ and ‘Victoria Blue’ still look nice, so I didn’t pull them yet.  We’ll see how they look after the cold snap that’s currently freezing the middle of the US arrives here at the end of the week:0093.  Finish planting bulbs!  I made a good start in October, but there are still about 150 left to plant.

Today I continued the process, but was disappointed to plant only about thirty-five daffodil bulbs in the Terrace Garden before I needed to come inside and clean up enough to teach a few violin lessons!   We have TOO MANY damnable rocks in the ground here, by the way!

4.  Drain the hoses and bring them in the garage for the winter.  Then, close the connections to the outside spigots.

5.  Spray the new boxwoods with Wilt-Pruf to help them through the winter.  I ordered a gallon of concentrate, and it arrived today.  My boxwoods are young and will be subject to harsh, bitter winds all winter, so I thought it a wise move to protect them with this anti-transpirant which reduces moisture loss in plants by coating their leaves with a waxy substance.

6.  Spread shredded leaves over the gardens once the ground has frozen.  My husband left me a few nice piles at the edge of the woods.  The ground may not be ready until December.  0037.  Plant paper-whites so there’s a chance they’ll bloom by Christmas!  I really enjoyed having them in bloom next to the poinsettias two years ago:paperwhite closeup8.  Prepare for a visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  My family and I will spend Thanksgiving week in Austin, Texas visiting my father-in-law, and this is one place on my must-see list.

I’ve no doubt forgotten a very important item or three, but let’s move on to my Monday vase for this week!

With a few heavy frosts under our belt, as well as an evening filled with snow showers, I didn’t think I would have anything to pick.  However, a Dianthus in the rock garden is blooming brightly this week, the blue Salvias haven’t yet succumbed to the cold nights, and the mums on my side porch are still perky!  I found enough to create a sweet nosegay in the same Venetian glass vase I used last week:027I clipped the last fresh-looking spray of Rosa ‘Alba Meidiland’ as well.031Cathy at Rambling in the Garden kindly hosts this weekly vase party, and has done so for a full year now!  It will be well worth your time to click the link and visit her today as she celebrates her meme’s first birthday!  033