My November Garden
November 15, 2016 § 2 Comments
There is something more richly golden in the sun’s rays at this time of year. Perhaps it’s because the days are often charcoal and grey and infused with rain. Or maybe it’s just because the angle of the earth and sun in the autumnal season make it so? Whatever the case, those rays turn my bedraggled and soggy garden into a space that draws me to discover what is still alive and well despite the time of year. It surprises and delights me all at once. For instance, who knew that celery, for all its want of heat and long days, can flourish in November?
These seeds were thickly sown so the stocks don’t become too big. Strangely, it seems to do best in cooler temperatures even though it’s not supposed to, but shhh…don’t tell it so! It’s perfect for those soups and stews that taste best on shorter, darker days. The flavour of this Tall Utah variety (I know – these stocks aren’t tall!) is full, and a pot of soup requires only a few stems.
Borage, also a lover of warmth, seems to defy its description in my garden. It can’t stop itself from flowering and flourishing right now. The purple, blue, and pink flowers thrust their delicate faces into the sun when it shines, or take whatever the forecast throws at them…and then keep thriving. They’re a bit of cheerful summer colour amongst the darker oranges, browns, and reds of autumn. An added bonus is the wee hummingbirds that are still enjoying their nectar. I wonder if they too are surprised and delighted when they discover these flowers are still here.
Clumps of alyssum continue to proudly show off their pure white petals. I no longer seed alyssum in my garden as it does a good job of re-seeding on its own. I let it freely grow wherever it finds itself because it attracts beneficial insects, and simply looks pretty.
Another flower of summer are marigolds, but mine are masquerading as fall foliage. Amongst the leaves, mustard greens are coming up, which is one of the few things I intentionally planted for cool-weather crops. Cilantro is the other – homemade tortillas with home-grown cilantro garnishing the toppings for a mid-winter meal are so tasty! As for the maple leaves, I collect them all and put them in the garden to decompose over the winter. Sometimes I chop them up a bit to help the process, but I find the worms and rain do a good job of that on their own. An added bonus is weed suppression so I do less weeding come springtime – yay!
Surprise potato plants are popping up from left behind potatoes planted two seasons ago. Will they actually produce something edible? I’m expecting to find clumps of squishy tubers at the ends of the plants when I get around to pulling them…although maybe further surprises await? Note that not having as many leaves in this part of the garden equals more weeds 😉
Speaking of leftovers, when I harvested onions late in the summer some bulbs had done nothing, so I pushed them back in the ground to see if anything would come of them. Here and there, some are sprouting, including a few amongst the strawberries. One strawberry plant has bravely put forth a flower though a fruit is most unlikely. Pepper, my dog, likes this time of year because she’s allowed to join me in the garden and roam about more freely than in the normal growing season. To her, the garden is full of treasures – pine cones, little sticks, bits of this or that to munch on. She rarely leaves the garden without something in her mouth 🙂
In true November fashion, colds are making the rounds, so I find myself entering the garden for more than surprise and delight. Freshly snipped rosemary and sage (both supposed to be good for sore throats and colds), along with fennel fronds (just for the sake of a bit of licorice flavour) have been filling my teapot as of late. Steeped in boiling water, the combination makes a lovely cup of tea. In fact, I’m drinking some right now. Admittedly, I have a cold and so far I don’t notice that it’s speeding my recovery, but it is still soothing and comforting to sip on.
So what does your November garden look like? Anything surprising you with its defiant stance against the inevitable arrival of winter? Or have you purposefully planted seeds for a winter garden?
Raising a steaming cup of tea to rays of golden sunshine while keeping my umbrella close at hand,
P.S. Some of you may be wondering what the outcome was in the battle between powdery mildew and the water/milk solution that I wrote about in my last post. Stay tuned….a follow-up post is coming 🙂