Friday, November 30, 2012

Seeding foxgloves in the fall

During a hike this summer, I happened across a woodland clearing scattered with common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). The bright fuchsia shafts towered above yellow-flowering field.  

What a great addition to the mellow yellow foxglove (Digitalis grandiflora) that happily inhabits a shady corner of the yard, I thought.  

In the past, I've tried, without success, to grow "Apricot Beauty," another Digitalis purpurea cultivar.  Perhaps this wild pink version will be more robust than its finicky cousin.

Late November is a good time for winter sowing in New England. Preparations are pretty basic: dig some composted cow manure into a bare patch next to the existing foxgloves, remove the glass jar of seeds from the refrigerator, and scatter seeds over the turned soil. The seeds are very tiny, so surface sowing seemed the best way to go.  

Hopefully, by next summer these garish-colored blooms will evoke memories of hikes in the mountains.  Or, at least, an excuse to relax in the garden with a glass of Riesling and wedge of Munster cheese.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tale of the cottontail's tail

While I was catching up on some garden chores this afternoon--trimming back spent foliage, pulling out dead annuals, winter sowing foxglove seeds, and cutting down and banking up dahlia tubers--I discovered this fluffy rabbit tail laying in a garden bed.

At first, I thought that maybe this was fur that a rabbit had groomed out of its coat to line a nest--but on closer inspection, I noticed that the tail bone was intact in this fuzzy little package . . . and over on the lawn saw some discarded body parts.  The local coyotes have been helping us with our vermin problem, it seems. Much appreciated, but I do wish that they'd clean up after themselves.  

Sunday, November 04, 2012


Cleaning up hurricane damage this weekend started the transition towards winter.  The weather was cold and clear, the skies were sunny, and there was such a lot to do!

Cross off the seasonal chore list:

1. Cut "New Dawn" climbing rose to 6' tall young-middle aged canes and temporarily secure with stakes and twine; cut and bag the rest of the foliage for removal
2. Empty containers: harvest hot peppers, transplant herbs, and compost everything else
3. Plant 50 "Queen of the Pinks" Spanish hyacinth bulbs
4. Cut down peonies and clean away dead foliage; still need to apply bone meal
5. Pull up and discard faded annuals
6. Mow lawn: cut short and chop up fallen leaves

Only that little bit was accomplished? Geez . . . this transition needs to slow its speed . . .