Tag Archives: garden chores

A few chores left

snow on epimediumBecause I often work outside, I devotedly check the weather every morning, and evening, and sometimes in between…OK, I am an obsessive weather checker.  It’s either NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, at weather.gov, or Accuweather at accuweather.com.  I usually check both, because sometimes the forecasts are different enough that I am left scratching  my head and wondering how they make their predictions. Suffice to say that while we did get our first snow flurries of the season this morning, it was not the 1-2 inches predicted by… one of the above.

There are still outdoor chores left to do, mostly the last bit of cutting back perennials for the winter. Raking is mostly done, and we won’t begin pruning trees and shrubs until after the new year. The most pressing chore right now is to dig the dahlia tubers, because tonight’s temperature is supposed to be 18 F (or is that 23 F?). Either way, too cold for a plant native to Mexico!

Although it will warm up by the end of the week, we are done planting for the season. By now there is not enough time for perennials to establish new roots before the ground is too cold. It’s a good time to dig new garden beds though, (as long as the ground is not frozen!) and a great time to spread compost on the existing beds. Any time I can switch a chore from spring to fall I do, since spring is filled with it’s own welcome insanity. Where do you garden, and what garden chores do you have left?

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Getting Back to My Chores

perennials in flats

After Hurricane Sandy, Election Day, Northeast Greenhouse Conference, a nor’easter, and Veterans Day, it’s time to get back to gardening. Right before the storm, Dr. Maynard’s PLS 350 class came out and helped me dig up most of the plants in the sunny border. The plants have been sitting outside in my “cold frame/nursery” area behind the greenhouses. They are semi-bare root, since they are in flats covered with fallen leaves, but not potted up. When the weather is cool they can sit that way for a long time. Fortunately they won’t need to, because tomorrow we plan to replant the border, again with help from the class. Divisions of the plants which were dug up will go back in with room to spread their roots. A few thing which did not do well there are not invited back! And maybe a few new plants just to change it up.

garden bed

Our other chore for the day will be lifting the dahlia tubers. The dahlias were cut back after the first hard frost (“Changing Seasons“) but left in the ground. Waiting until the last minute to dig them up reduces the amount of time they will be in storage, where there is the possibility of decay in the tubers. Where to store them? Not too warm, not too cold, not too wet, not too dry! Maybe under my basement bulkhead stairs, or maybe Dr. Maynard’s root cellar.

dahlias waiting to be dug

The weather for tomorrow looks to be sunny and cool, perfect for working in the garden. I love being outside at this time of year. With the right layers (as our friend Russ says, “It’s all in the gear”), and maybe a hat, I’m outside all day, enjoying deep breaths of cool refreshing air that’s like a long drink of water. Bright sunshine lifts my spirits, and a daydream about how good it will look in the spring keeps me going.

Enkianthus fall colorJust for Fun: This Enkianthus is one of the last plants in the Botanical Garden still displaying beautiful fall foliage. My favorite plant blog, “Botany Photo of the Day”, featured an Enkianthus recently — “Enkianthus campanulatus“.

Back to the Garden!

empty greenhouseNow that the plant sale is over (and a great success), it’s time to return my attention to the Botanical Gardens. The plant sale is a lot of work, although it’s a lot of fun too, and it’s gratifying to see the greenhouse EMPTY! Many thanks to the students who helped me out the past two weekends.

I am really happy to be back outside in the Garden, even to pull weeds. The main garden, where the stage is, looks good. This part of the Garden is the area most often reserved for special events. The College of Nursing will be holding their Commencement ceremony here.  A retirement party for the Dean of Pharmacy, Joan Lausier (celebrating 50 years at URI!), will be held in the Garden in June. A few weddings are already scheduled, and of course garden tours are always going on.

peonyMay is a busy time for garden chores. There are peonies to stake, already flopping with last night’s heavy rain. Annuals are ready to be tucked into the perennial beds for extra color. Plants for the All-America Selections Display Gardens are getting impatient in the greenhouse and will be planted out this week ( hopefully!) Dahlias need to planted, Montauk Daisies cut back, and of course, the never ending task of weeding.

all-america  selections logoSpeaking of chores, our summer garden crew is all new. Welcome, Louis and Feather. And good bye to Mike (Bartlett Tree Service), Giles (Central Nurseries), and Emily (Tower Hill Botanic Garden). You will be missed! Ryan (Arnold Arboretum) and Kyle (adventure), hope to see you in the fall. Let Summer Begin!

lavender and roses in June