Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Falling Leaves…

Time is an odd taskmaster. It seems to me that time has become rather disjointed. Each year there are things I do in the garden that seem to be like clockwork. Perhaps it is really my own mind making these perceived timelines.
While filming Monday Judy made a comment on vegetables and planting when I realized it was almost November! November…and people are still planting…
This erstwhile thought came to me again yesterday as I took a rare, casual stroll through my gardens. Generally by this time of year I have Halloween decorations up, the leaves are all on the garden beds and I am ready for whatever Old Man Winter has to through at me…well, to the best of my ability.
This year has been different. There are precious few decorations up, the leaves are still all over the driveways, paths…and the lawns and I realized with that ‘sideswiped-on-a-Tuesday-morning’ feeling…I am not prepared for this winter or the Holidays.
What I have accomplished though is something I have never done before. This Summer I planted three palm trees in the yard. A Bismarckia and two Triangle palms. Working in a nursery gives me the benefit of free plants because they are diseased or struggling. I always take these less than desirable plants and nurse them gently back to health. Probably 80% of my gardens are clearance or throw away plants. As many of you may remember, I do love the more tropical settings on this spinning orb so anything I can get to grow that is a tropical feeling plants makes me giddy as a little school girl. I did my research on these two palms and found that they are cold hardy to 15-20 degrees. Not wanting to take a chance with other people’s opinions on them, I decided to wrap them up for the winter. I have always admired the Portland Classical Chinese Gardens for the beautiful and loving way they wrap their Musa Bajoo bananas every year. I never take the time to do that with mine so they die down each year but come back with a vengeance, however I don’t have the 15’ stalks they do. This year I made the time to wrap my palms. I carefully tied the frond up, then placed HUGE tomato cages over them, wrapped them in burlap, filled the cavity with leaves and put a giant black plastic bag over the top. I am hoping this protects the crown from moister and the insulation of leaves add enough protection to keep the lower temperature at bay.
Now I must get to putting the rest of the leaves on all the beds. It feels to me that time is short and I really need to hurry to do this. I mean Halloween is this weekend and the scariest thing to me is how unprepared I feel for winter!
The leaves, once placed on the beds, will provide a warm covering for all those many plants that I force to live where they most likely would prefer not to…
Then in early spring I will gently rake and hand pull them all off only to compost them in the veggie garden and start the whole process over again. If I remember to I will let you all know how the palms fair this winter…and myself too…
Happy Gardening!
William

3 comments:

Judith said...

November 7, 2009
Your program this morning is totally fun, as usual but there is possibly an error in the section on fall bushes. The pyracantha is a possibly poisoness plant. The berries are the poison part. This needs to be corrected. Birds can die if they eat them, children need to be watched so they don't eat them. Please check the facts on this. And publish if I am right. Readings show that fermentation may have something to do with releasing the alkaloid poison in the seed:

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Are_Pyracantha_berries_poisonous_if_eaten_by_a_dog

http://tafkac.org/animals/drunken_birds.html

Garden Time said...

Judith,
Thank you for your note and concerns. Pyracantha is a very popular plant for garden. However it is considered safe for wildlife and in most cases for people (if you accidently ate some). Here is the listing from the Poison Control Center.
'Pyracantha berries are not considered poisonous unless large amounts are eaten; some sources even report them to be edible.'
Wildlife is safe to eat the berries, in fact that is how the plant spreads its seeds and ensures its survival. I notice that you reference Wikianswers. Sites like those can be updated by anyone in the general public and can be misleading. Always check with your local garden center when buying a plant to get the current and correct information.

Jeff
Garden Time

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