Closing Up for the Year

End of November, again. Time to get the last of the oak leaves off of the lawn (at least till the first real snow comes, and then whatever is left on the trees will come down), tie up the arborvitae and holly bushes, and put the teepees over the rhododendrons to protect them from the snow. The roses have bloomed their last, finally, and can be cut back so they fit neatly under cones and insulating leaves and pine needles.

Until it freezes hard, of course, gardens can still be added to and modified. Bulbs can be planted, still, along with perennials, shrubs, and trees. Plants have gone dormant, all they need to do now is sleep through the winter. When the weather and soil warm up in the spring, they’ll be ready to go! Late-season pruning on crabapples and birch can be done now as well, as sap still flows, slowly, and will seal cuts, but it won’t ooze all over the tree.

My potted patio plants have been sunk into the now very empty vegetable garden box, so they will sleep securely till spring. There are plans rattling around in my head for expansion possibilities; I could grow so many more things, maybe even try a few small fruits, maybe reshuffle the strawberries somewhere else so they don’t take over the peas and cucumbers. But then, maybe the peas and cucumbers will just have to learn to grow with the strawberries, and that’s that.

Winter is a good time to sit down and reflect on what did or didn’t work in the garden. While the season is still fresh in one’s mind, make lists to get organized for next year. I find myself going through my houseplants this time of year. I hear it’s better to repot them in the spring, but who has time to spend indoors when there is gardening to be done? Indoor plants don’t have nearly the amount of worries that outdoor ones do, besides. All the little jars of now rooted cuttings get cleaned up and put in pots, my old ivy plant is starting to put on some new growth again at last, now that it’s out of the itty bitty 4-inch pot it’s been living in for far too long. Repot some, get rid of others that have outgrown their comfort (after taking more cuttings, of course), and rearrange the living room windowsills again. It’s part of my fall routine.

There are photographs to go through, too. This summer’s are not as full and green as the ones have been in the past, but they still give a good idea of where things were. Everything was about 2 weeks late this year, in my little spot of land. Daylilies bloomed at the end of July, instead of the middle. And we’re not going to do anything but mention the tomatoes.

I have some catalogs for next year, but it’s too early to sit down and look at them right now. Maybe in February, when it seems like spring will never come. For now, I’ll content myself with repotting my indoor garden, and enjoying the view from inside.