November 2017 Gardening

by Jane Ahrens

From Mélie’s Garden

It has been hard to put the garden to bed this year in this lovely long Indian summer. I cut back daylilies that were looking sad a couple of weeks ago and now they have lovely new green leaves! The November full moon is going to be on the 4th and that is often the night of the first frost, it will be interesting to see if it will so be this year.

Bulbs that I ordered should be arriving shortly to be planted before the ground really freezes. I have found that Oriental and Asian lilies have done well and I have ordered additional ones to spice up the flowerbeds, along with some daffodils to naturalize in the field. I have never had luck with crocus because the rabbits and mice love to eat them. However, the little thieves seem to leave hyacinths and grape hyacinths alone, but love to feast on tulips. So tulip bulbs need to be planted in a fenced area often in a wire cage, which I find much too much work! I have had some luck putting mothballs around the bulbs when I plant them, but that is often hit or miss. I usually order a few extra bulbs to force, but last year I was on vacation when it was the right time to bring the pots into the house; I removed the bulbs that were starting to sprout from the pots and placed them in some outdoor planters in the early spring. That worked quite well. We had lovely bulbs flowering around Easter.

November is also a good month to walk around your property with a pen and pad of paper to write down notes of what you would like to accomplish next year so that in the spring you are ready to get to work on the jobs that could not be done during the winter.

Some thoughts might be:

Do you want to move some plants?

Add perennials to your flowerbeds?

Which borders need to be properly edged?

Do you need additional soil for raised beds?

What container plants worked and which did not?

What invasive vines or plants need to be removed?

Would pruning up a tree or cutting it down improve a view?

Is there underbrush to be removed?

What shrubs and trees should be fertilized?

Make a 2018 gardening calendar writing down the proper times that different chores should be done and check them off once completed. This is one option that some find helpful as a starting point: UMASS Extensions Garden Calendar


Melia, “My Garden, when it briefly comes together in June.”

In ending the gardening year this month, I realize even more that there is no perfect way to grow anything. Each year is different, depending on the elements. One year a plant is glorious only to be mediocre the next and you ask yourself – was it fertilizer, wind, drought, disease or perhaps – the lack of care?

A gardener is always questioning, but I do know that working in a flowerbed is very therapeutic in this challenging world. It is a place where you can allow your mind to wander in a meditative way. You can change things around in a garden if they don’t work, which is often difficult to do in life. So maybe it is our desire to try to control the uncontrollable that we find gratifying, but gardens can’t be completely controlled due to nature’s whims and that probably teaches us good lessons about life.

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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