I’ve had to make a difficult decision this year about my collection of canna. What started with a few corms has, over the years, become an overwhelming amount of plants — even after giving corms away. And the increase in plants also means an increase in labor, and I’m reaching a point (for several reasons) where I have to cut back. So, I’ve decided to not save canna and to instead start fresh next year. In the meantime, though, I thought it was still important to repost the steps that I’ve followed to keep the canna coming.
The October weather has been strange. There was a moment when it felt like autumn, but then it became more mild and humid — and so I let my tropicals stay in the ground. But how much longer will I be able to get away with that? At some point, it will become cooler and frost will arrive — and these tropicals need to be stored for the winter.
This will be my weekend project — and since I’ll be a bit busy, I thought it was the perfect time to re-visit a previous post that chronicles the process. Up first are the elephant ears.
Let’s be honest. Gardening is fun — but is it always a good time? Is there anything about gardening — like certain chores, for example — that isn’t enjoyable? Anyone care to share?
Okay, I’ll go first.
I’ll begin with my second to least favorite chore because that will lead quite nicely to my absolute least favorite. I despise trimming shrubs. I’ve done it, of course, usually with one of those old-fashioned handheld clippers. No power tools for me.
Apparently, though, I learned how to trim from the same school where my father was taught how to cut my sister’s bangs when she was a kid. First, you cut this way — but it looks uneven. Then you cut again. Still uneven. And so on and so on — eventually leaving my sister with a row of fringe at the start of her hairline.
Mum is actually just one of the words that comes to mind this weekend. The other word is menopause.
The calendar says October, but the tenth month seems to be experiencing an August-worthy hot flash. The heat and humidity combined with the fall colors, as well as a rain deficit here, feels a little odd — but it hasn’t stopped the mums from doing their thing.
Nor did it stop this gardener from taking a walk with his camera.
Now that the new school year has started, reading — both books and blogs — is one of those joys that get pushed aside. But I’ve decided to make the effort. That’s why I picked up Colm Toibin’s The Testament of Mary, a short book that tackles a very big subject: the latter years of the Blessed Mother.
In between her recollections of her actions during her Son’s life, there was one passage that jumped from the page, a paragraph that captured me at this change of seasons.
“I do not often leave the house. I am careful and watchful; now that the days are shorter and the nights are cold, when I look out the windows I have begun to notice something that surprises me and holds me. There is a richness in the light. It is as if, in becoming scarce, in knowing that it has less time to spread its gold over where we are, it lets loose something more intense, something that is filled with shivering clarity.”
Why was Mary staying in the house? Why was light so important to her? Could it be that Mary suffered from Seasonal Affect Disorder, also known as SAD? I know I do. When the sun goes down, my SAD goes up.
It’s been a week since a flock of grackles descended in the trees around my home and unleashed a hailstorm of acorns. I have since learned that acorns are one of the species’ culinary favorites, especially as the iridescent birds begin their migration south.
That being said, they aren’t very neat or efficient eaters. In fact, I don’t think the ’80s band A Flock of Seagulls could have caused this much of a mess in their hotel room, not even during the height of their popularity.
Seven days since their arrival — that’s seven days filled with more grackles, squirrels, and wind — the driveway and path looked as if they were the end-result of some slapstick comedy routine — you know, the one where an innocent passerby (me, for example) slips on some casually placed marbles (or acorns, as the case may be), so that the prankster (or grackle) can have a few laughs.
I hope you don’t mind, but in honor of Thanksgiving, I’m offering some leftovers — in the form of a repost. I’ve reworked it a bit to make it more palatable, but the gist is the same: a couple of crazy Long Islanders will do just about anything to give their yard a tropical look. Besides, it’s way to cold and blustery today — too cold to hold the camera to redocument this process.
Enjoy — and fresh material is on its way.
I may be the gardener of the house, but Joe also has his landscape loves. One of his greatest is palm trees. His absolute fave is Cocos nucifera, the coconut palm. If it were up to him, coconut palms would be growing everywhere. We often joke that he would be to coconut palms what Johnny Appleseed was to apples — only he would be called Joey Coconuts, which does sound a little — alright, a lot — like a character from “The Sopranos.”