The Bruce Company Blog
Wow. It’s November and we’re seeing temps in the 60s. Remember last year? By this time we’d already had 3 measurable snow events. What a difference 12 months can make! The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting average snowfall for the lower Great Lakes region, with cooler than average temperatures
Despite this week’s warm weather, the night temperatures are cooling and last weekend’s wind stripped most of the leaves off our trees. And though the last few days felt like summer, colder weather is on its way. It’s time to get your ponds and water features ready for the frosty temperatures to come. If you still have leaves clinging to trees, your first step is to cover your pond with netting or a floating row cloth. This will keep the falling leaves and other debris out of the water, lessening the work next spring.
No snow for us yet, though I did see a few flakes around 4:30 on Monday. But there will be plenty of nice November days that are perfect for getting a jump on outdoor holiday decorating. Why not start with hanging your Christmas lights? There’s no rule that says they need to be lit right away and it’s so much easier to put them up in early November than in early December. Be sure to test them first in case you need to replace some strings. And if you need replacements, perhaps it’s time to make the switch from incandescent to LED.
At long last. It’s time to take a deep breath because the physical work and often frenetic pace of the growing season is over. Not having a million things to accomplish in the garden may find some folks feeling a bit bereft, but many others are so happy. The Garden Center is emptying of plant material and stocking up on holiday decor. Plants are lined up, ready for frost blankets and mulch piles. All of us here have such mixed emotions about the end of the outdoor gardening season. What about you?
Forcing spring bulbs into winter bloom was the rage in the 1800s. Hyacinths were especially popular. But there are others to try, too. We love vases of paperwhites and pots of amaryllis. And with a little prep time, you can have pots of tulips and daffodils blooming in your kitchen in late February.
October can be such a confusing time for new gardeners. Though the sun certainly isn’t quite as warm, the golden color of autumn light can fool us into thinking that it is still late summer. Fall is the time of year for two of our favorite garden activities-harvest and reflection. Without harvest, we can’t reap the rewards of a summer well spent. And without reflection, we’ll never learn from our mistakes and successes.
October is such a transitional time, especially for gardeners. Our borders and beds teeter on the edge of a climatic cliff. Colors change as deep green foliage morphs into mellow butter yellow or fiery scarlet. Forms change as plants drop their leafy garb to expose the structure of bare bones.
We call them all bulbs, but bulbs, rhizomes and tubers are essentially storage organs that contain flower buds. The bulb feeds the developing flower as it grows to maturity and blooms. All it takes is water and time. Figuring out how to plant bulbs is simple as most are planted using the same rules.
As summer wanes and autumn approaches, birds congregate in the trees and on overhead wires. The air is sweetly scented with ripening fruit. The light changes, becoming more golden. Everything seems ready to burst. Not in the tender, life-is-beginning way of spring, but in a more poignant manner that hints life in the garden is starting to fade.
For many gardeners, Labor Day marks the end of summer and the beginning of the autumn lawn care season. Cooler temperatures and more regular rainfall make this an excellent time to start a new lawn or repair an existing one. The still-warm soil speeds up seed germination while the cooler air aids growth and development. The 30-day forecast for the Madison area isn’t predicting that temperatures will drop lower than the high-40s until the end of the month, so you have some time. But you’ll want to get your seed down soon to decrease winter damage.