Archive for November, 2007

The end of autumn

Maple leaf under ice

A leaf from the Bloodgood Japanese maple, under a thin sheet of ice on the pond’s beach. You can also see many other less attractive leaves from the unlovely and invasive Siberian elm in my yard and the annoying larch (friggin’ needles go everywhere in fall) in my neighbor’s yard.

Leaves + Pond = Water gardening in the cold

Alas, no pictures today because it’s been cloudy and the days are so friggin’ short now!

Fall is one of the busy times with the pond. Not only are there lots of trees in my yard, but there are lots of trees in all the surrounding yards, and the fallen leaves will blow around until they can’t blow around anymore. One good way to stop a leaf is for it to fall in the pond. So the skimmer has to be emptied at least once a day (more than that if it’s particularly windy or rainy), and I’ve also been using a skimmer net to pull leaves off the bottom of the pond. The water lettuce and water hyacinth – both tropicals – are now residing on the compost heap. I found last year that a bit of work in the fall and early winter can really reduce string algae in the spring. I need to also remember that while it may be necessary, it is not sufficient: an April cleanout and bacteria reseeding is also required!

So much for the warm weather….

Right after my bloom day post reveling in how late the garden has survived, it went below freezing and a bunch of plants succumbed (the basil went black!). However, the coneflower and snapdragons are still blooming, and the Japanese maple and the mapleleaf viburnum kept their leaves even if the forsythia, magnolia, and American linden dropped them all overnight.

All those leaves made me succumb to an impulse purchase recommended by several local bloggers: an electric leaf vacuum/mulcher. In about a half an hour, all the linden leaves and about a third of the magnolia leaves were turned into some lovely mulch for the backyard beds. If I were a patient person, I would have waited for the leaves to dry up a bit, but it still worked (if messily). Now I’m wondering if this can be used to clean out the gutters….

Bloom Day – November 2007

I’m amazed that there are still blooms in mid-November in zone 5! Thank you, Lake Michigan…and all the houses around us…..

In bloom:

    purple coneflower

  • purple coneflower
  • snapdragons still hanging on....

  • snapdragons
  • basil (really!)

Foliage as pretty as blooms:

    Oakleaf and Annabelle hydrangeas

  • Hydrangeas (compare the summer view from the other side of the yard)
  • wild geranium

  • wild geranium
  • hosta, through Japanese maple

  • Hostas
  • Japanese maple “Bloodgood”, also seen in the foreground of the hosta picture
  • mapleleaf viburnum

  • mapleleaf viburnum, with Culver’s root in the background


Autumn Brilliance serviceberry – also see an early summertime view of this tree

Oakleaf hydrangea

Oakleaf hydrangea – also see a summertime view

Off the back steps…

Fall view from the back steps

The backyard as seen from the back steps is still pretty lush in early November this year. The snapdragons are still blooming like crazy, and the Autumn Brilliance serviceberry is just reaching its peak. In fact, very few plants in the backyard have lost their leaves: the most noticeably bare plants are the grape woodbine vine and (mostly) the blackhaw viburnum. We may get flurries by tomorrow night though, so this scene may be quite fleeting.