I overwinter a lot of succulents indoors: agaves, aloes, euphorbias, cactus, and most of them are quite easy as long as they get a little light and are kept relatively dry.

Echeveria too -- I had taken their ease of overwintering for granted until a comment by Loree in her post today saying that her echeveria never last the winter indoors. Strange, because this one I have is so easy!


Thankful and thinking of food

In the US we had our Thanksgiving Day holiday yesterday. This for most of us means making lists of things to be thankful for, a gathering of family and/or friends, and big meals.

It's that last part that got me thinking. With so many millions in this country not getting enough to eat, and with food waste such a significant problem, was there something I could do to help?


Wednesday Vignette: woodpile

Anna at Flutter and Hum brings us weekly vignettes, and this week I chose something that sort of illustrated how I feel right now:

My wood pile. It's a project half-started (some of the wood is split), not yet finished (the wood isn't stacked), has been sitting around for a month or more, and there's no real urgency to complete it due to mild weather. It's still quite interesting though.


Cold-damaged, but pretty

I always have mixed emotions about going out into the garden after the first hard freeze -- and we had a hard one on Saturday. After previous lows that just barely dipped to freezing or a degree (F) below, it was 19ºF (-7ºC) Sunday morning when I awoke.

The tender plants turn to mush with those temps, and at first I hate the sight of their droopy, clearly dead leaves. But then I start looking more closely and realize that even this weather-murdered foliage is still quite beautiful.


Something missing this year

As I bring in all of my non-hardy plants for overwintering in the garage, basement and house, there's something missing this year.

Something that has caused me much pain but also much excitement over the last few years. If you know what it is, you've really been paying attention!


It's time

With a hard freeze a day away, it's time to take some drastic steps. This hurts every year I do it, but this year less than usual since it's so late.

That's right, it's time to preemptively do what the weather will do in another day or so.


One last look: castor beans

With the first hard freeze expected Saturday evening, I thought give you one last look at the stars of my late-season garden: the castor beans (Ricinus communis).

Also papyrus and a little canna, because they also impressed me so much this year. I'm glad that I was able to enjoy them until almost the end of November (an extra three or four weeks this year), but I'll miss them for the next nine months or so -- the castor beans won't be impressive until late July at the earliest.


Wednesday Vignette: Cramped

Anna at Flutter and Hum hosts the Wednesday Vignette meme, and today I thought I'd showcase my jam-packed, overgrown succulent terrarium.

In a corner of the basement with lights on a timer, this thing gets ignored for at least six months of a year, and then I pay attention to it again once temperatures drop and I start using the treadmill again.


What I haven't yet done

This mild autumn is helping me to procrastinate, so I thought I'd remind myself of the things that I have not yet done that I need to pretty soon. Our first hard freeze is coming this weekend, and that means that I really do need to get moving.

1) Dig up the tropicals. This means two dozen Elephant Ears (Colocasia), a few papyrus, some cannas, and at least one non-hardy banana.


Shelter from the rain

Last week I talked about the leaves in my front yard, and how I needed to get them out of the cactus bed at least -- even if I wasn't going to rake them all up right now. Gerhard agreed that the leaves had to come out of that bed to protect the cactus from winter rot. (They're all cold-hardy but only if they stay relatively dry.)

I mentioned in reply that I had some special plans for this bed for the winter. Want to see what I came up with?


Friday Spider

Friday the 13th, a good time for a post about a scary (for many) gardening topic: spiders!

You do know that spiders are by some measures the most important beneficial insect in the garden, don't you? They're not nearly as scary as bamboo mites, or Rose Rosette Virus, or Aloe mites, or glysophate, or neonicotinoids, or Colony Collapse Disorder, or even tetanus. Still I think this hairy and colorful little guy that I found indoors on one of my windows is appropriate for this unluckiest of days.

(Note that I used the least-detailed image above in case you're not very fond of spider images -- just scroll past the next five down to the comments if you're not an arachnid fan!)


My solution

Yesterday I wrote about my dilemma with regard to the bananas and my leaves. Most of the suggestions in the comments were in line with what I was thinking already...

...so today I'm showing you what my solution was.


My dilemma

I've got a problem this year. It involves the maple leaves that currently blanket half of my front yard.

The problem is that I don't know what to do with them. Rake them up sure, but then what?


Even this year, procrastinating

Every autumn brings with it not just the colors that we all love, but for me, a scramble to get non-hardy plants indoors. You'd think that this year with its lingering mild temperatures I would have things under control, getting the growing tables in the basement ready in time, having a place for everything.

But no. I still procrastinated this year, getting the tender plants into the garage or basement the afternoon before the first frost. Placement isn't important during these scrambles, only getting the plants inside. Hence they end up in "bad" places -- like in my more-important-than-ever workshop area as seen above.


Going back, looking at cats

I tweaked my back recently moving a too-large load of soaking wet leaves, so I have no desire to go walking around the garden with the camera. Also last night I had a very strange dream about my cats shrinking, so I thought that I'd go "back" in time and collect my garden cat posts for you.

I loved it when I had stray cats hanging around in the garden watching me work, and the kittens were, well, kittens


Why color, now?

For most of us, autumn means color. We look for it, remark on it, share it. Why is color so important to us, especially at this time of year?

Is it that we know that it could be the last chance to see this vibrance before the reduced palette of winter sets in?


Random tidbits from the phone

I was looking through the photos on my phone this morning and realized that I had quite a few things that were worth mentioning but didn't warrant a post by themselves. So they piled up.

Lumped all together though, there's some interesting stuff here. For instance, this photo of a small tree planting ringed by pavers at my mother's neighbor's house. Not really interesting in itself (and not very attractive in my opinion), but...


Let's talk mold again

At about this time last year I posted about mold

Let's talk about it again today, but from a slightly different angle.


Nimble Mill

Although some of my earlier posts have hinted at this news, I'm excited to report that today it's official: I've got a new company and website, focused on garden furniture and related items -- the kinds of projects I've been posting about every so often this summer (like this, this, this, and this)

My company is called Nimble Mill, and you can find the website here.


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