In the Garden: Late Fall/Early Winter

Monday, November 12, 2012

I'm a terrible blogger.  I know.  But I only blog when I have something to share and lately, I've been all law school and Junior League and not so much on the home, which is really what I enjoy blogging about.  Right now though, as I sit under the covers with Lilly and wait for the dryer to buzz, I think I may have enough to put together a decent post.

It's almost Thanksgiving, which means it's almost winter which means it's almost time to prune my plants.  As you may recall, in December 2010, I hacked my spirea down to the ground in an effort to restart their growth.

spirea thunbergii after a hard prune

I left them alone last year to let them recover, but this year, it's time to prune.  In the next couple of weeks, I'll be taking my loppers and cutting out 1/3 of the inner (and therefore older) canes.  This should encourage new growth toward the center of the plant and keep them full and healthy.

I'll also be pruning my Natchez crepe myrtle in the front yard.  It's sent up a ton of suckers that need to be removed.  I'll also be going from five primary canes to three.  I debated on the number for a while, but I've realized that every crepe myrtle I see whose form I like has three primary canes.

My New Dawn climbing roses are still in bloom; I took the above photo mid-post.  As this is my first year to grow them, I don't know if that's typical for them or just an indication of unseasonably warm weather.  Either way, I'm pleased with my choice.  The two plants have really sent up long canes and I expect to have a gorgeous, rose-covered shed in just a few short years!

My Cotton Candy camellia sasanqua has already bloomed and faded (the photo above was taken about a month ago), though I'm hoping I'll get some additional blossoms in the coming weeks.

Preparing for Spring
Not only am I a terrible blogger, but I'm a naughty gardener.  I'm a member of HIPS, the Historic Iris Preservation Society, and as I mentioned in June, I ordered several historic varieties that compliment the era of my house.  They arrived in late July, with a few substitutions, but I forgot about them until mid-October.  By that time, they were pretty desicated from sitting in a box for 3 1/2 months, but I figured I didn't have anything to lose by going ahead and sticking them in the ground.  I checked on them a couple of days ago and wouldn't you know it?  All of them sent up new foliage!  They may not bloom this spring, but fingers crossed they'll survive and bloom in 2014!

Exterior Facelift
Even though it's not exactly in the garden, the exterior of my house should be getting a major facelift in the coming weeks.  We first got an estimate on repainting the original pine Dutch lap siding (yes, original from 1945).  We would have had to replace a few boards due to rot, and because the wood is so old, we would have to have the pieces custom milled.  What this boils down to is mucho dinero.  One contractor also gave us an estimate for vinyl siding, which turned out to be less expensive than paint, would look better, and would be less maintenance.  We'll be getting a couple of estimates on that, but it sure would be nice to have the same siding all around my house, instead of the half Dutch lap, half painted cedar shingles.  It would also be something to mark off my great big renovation.

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