An optimistic fall

4
Niagara River rapids in October

It’s time to breathe a sigh of relief—one tinged with melancholy, perhaps.

Aside from getting a few hundred bulbs in the ground before the end of October, my work in the garden in done for the year. As fall progresses, there will be many great days perfect for taking a walk in a park (see above) or preserve or just sitting in the garden.

Here’s what I won’t be doing there:

  • cutting back or cutting down anything
  • any garden clean-up of any kind
  • no winter protection—Western New York is where these plants live and they better suck it up.

Of course, those big tall things in front of the house will be dropping an inconveniently huge load of organic debris on my front garden and sidewalk. This will need to be gathered and placed for pick-up by the city’s compost team; the abundance is more than I could possibly deal with. You’d never believe that 3 trees would drop enough to require a team of people and more than 20 big bags, but they do. (Those who know Norway maples will believe this.)

What I will be doing:

  • Admiring the flowers. Despite the lack of supplemental watering, the tuberous begonias (above) are still magnificent, as are the annual salvias, lobularia, euphorbia diamond frost, and others. Who needs mums? Not me.
  • Sorting my 10 boxes and 20 bags of bulbs. These will mostly go into big pots, as the annuals in pots peter out, and those pots will go into the garage for the winter. Another large cohort of bulbs will be forced in the root cellar and attic. Cold dark attics were a boon to bulb forcers decades ago (See Diary of a Provincial Lady) and ours remains unimproved from its original state. Species tulips, snowdrops, and ephemerals will go into the ground, covered by plastic or wire netting. Plus several big clumps of hybrid tulips that will be treated as annuals.
Might have over-ordered

I persist against squirrels, tree roots, and midsummer dry shade because I’m still thrilled every single year by the burst of color that arrives April through May. That’s my winter protection.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at yahoo.com

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