Monday, November 16, 2009
November Garden Surprises
Back on Long Island, the November garden was a dreary mass of matted oak and maple leaves and the occasional surprise burst of orange from a marigold that had somehow escaped the frosts. It's different here in south central Virginia. Although we'd had some cold nights and one good, rip roaring frost (27 degrees F), the days zoom back in the 60's and '70s. The rolling hills and sheltered spots also seem to produce amazing micro climates. I've got cool weather annuals like my snapdragons just fine and dandy back by the garden shed, but a few were nipped in the flower garden next to the driveway. Ditto for the petunias; they're still blooming next to the garage, but just green out in the flower garden.
And the vegetable garden never ceases to offer surprises. The garlic is doing well, sending up robust shoots that are making my mouth water with thoughts of Italian recipes to make next year, but so is the Chard. Not unexpected, but it's rapidly overtaking the bed again. The spinach struggled along, strangely so, since I expected it to be more vigorous, but the biggest surprise has been the calendula. It's an herb whose flowers are used for skin balms. I looked out the kitchen window this morning and saw some orange peeking out from behind the catnip. And there were new calendula blossoms on a plant I thought was dead. The picture today is my little bed of calendula. I harvested the blossoms, and have them in a Mason jar next to my lavender; both will come in handy this winter.
I'm loathe to dig up anything right now. Plants that look dead revive under a few days of warmth and rain, and plants that "should", according to the garden books, be dug up and discarded are still going strong, so I'm just leaving everything alone and enjoying the long slide into winter.