Across the street is what we call “the falling down house”. Every year it sags a little more. The sunset was pretty, but the colors don’t really show up in this photo. There’s the front yard, looking brown and bedraggled. The big maple by the road is mostly dead, but it puts out a prodigious amount of leaves anyway. One of these days it will come down–we never park our cars near it! Woodpeckers love that tree. You can see the strip of grass between the driveway and the garden–that’s slated to be removed in the spring.

This is a patch of white yarrow I planted here two years ago as a tiny single-stemmed specimen ripped up from a friend’s garden, carried home in a pocket and stuck in this spot hoping for the best. It blooms a lovely pure white color from Spring to frost. Now it fills this whole corner of this little garden and I’ve already taken three bits of it to plant elsewhere.

Another great plant is garlic chives. These spread like crazy–I’ve plucked seedlings from the path many times. It blooms blazing white, long-lasting flowers, from late summer to fall, and the seedpods look nice later, too, as you see here. The dark pods behind it are baptisia. I have planted bulbs of this garlic chive in a half dozen spots all over the garden.

Another view of the front yard: the tall seedheads are sunflowers that I leave for the birds, and to self-seed for next year. Maple leaves make a nice blanket, too. This morning we have a few inches of wet snow. I’m hoping for lots of snow this winter!

farewell to my sister’s herb wheel — leaving a garden

I know a lot of gardeners have this experience–of leaving a garden we have created. Most of us take the time to dig up some treasured plants. Sometimes it isn’t possible or feasible. One friend of mine left a lot of plants with a friend for a year or two before settling in a place where she could transplant them. I’ve left gardens and have never moved plants. My sister is selling her house and her gardens–flowers, vegetables, and herbs–and says she will take (I’ll help!) as many as is feasible. But since the house is going up for sale in early Spring/late winter, it might not work out–we’ll see. Here are some frosty photos of her herb wheel this month.

frosted sage


So, good-bye to the herb wheel, hopefully the next home-owner will enjoy it. When my sister moves, she is sure to have a big garden–especially vegetables and herbs, and I’ll put a page on this blog to follow that story.


garden dream time

Now that my tulips are planted (I am ignoring the dahlia digging chore) I am declaring my garden work season officially over, which means that study and planning and dreaming season has begun. This is where I read all my garden catalogs and books for the nth time, get garden books out of the library, talk about plans with David and RELAX.

We cats will tutor you in the fine art of relaxing

I am leaving the stalks. No neatening, no clearing off leaves–everything gets to lie or stand as it is, higgeldy-piggeldy.

leaf covered front yard

We do protect our hydrangea and a few other tender perrenials, but mostly the garden goes through the winter in splendid disarray.

southside phlox


warm weekend in November–tulips planted!

Thank goodness–I didn’t have to plant tulips in a freezing rain or cold wind–I’ve done that many times. I used Melinda’s method–hot chili pepper ground up, she says it discourages that voles that love to eat tulip bulbs. I planted around 50 bulbs, in batches of 7 to 9 in each spot, along with narcissus, and, in one spot, also some garlic chives. I dug out the spot, sprinkled generous amounts of hot pepper, set the bulbs, sprinkled the tulips again with hot pepper, and then carefully replaced the dirt. In order to discourage the cats from using the area as a litter box, I covered each patch with chicken wire. Here’s the result:

next year’s tulip patch, hopefully


more potential tulips

I ordered the tulips from White Flower Farms, of soft colors–pinks, peaches, blended colors of orange and yellow and pink. We’ll see, I hope they’ll make a nice show in the Spring. All of them are planted in the garden just across from the kitchen window. I chose that garden partly because it used to be a gravel driveway and still have lots of small stones in it, and I think that’s why the tulips there never get eaten–I think the stones make tunneling difficult for the voles.

With the tulips planted and protected the only chore remaining is digging up dahlias–it may already be too late. Well, it won’t be the first year I buy new ones in the Spring.

Here’s Tater overseeing my work from the top of my car




Hurricane Sandy brings down the barn

David estimates that this section of the barn was added on after WW II to the older main barn. It came down on Monday night from the winds of Hurricane Sandy. We had been trying to find someone who would take it down for years–it has a leaky roof and was missing one whole side–now we will have an easier time! As the photo¬† shows, the metal roof came down pretty much intact, and the rest of the barn seems unaffected. No animals were in it and so no one got hurt.

collapsed barn

I took a few pictures this morning before work of the few remaining spots of color in the garden.






I couldn’t resist taking some pictures of the cats, who kept a sharp eye on me as I wandered around the yard. Here is Mr. Fluff hoping to be let inside:

“if they would just put the door knob a little lower…”

Snowflake and Norman

Snowflake looks grumpy!