Sunday, November 25, 2007

Scavenged from the Compost Heap

Lavender in November

Winterizing the garden. So not fun. I've been chipping away at the task—an hour here, an hour there—since early October, basically just dragging out the torture. Yesterday, I finally somehow conquered my inertia (Rusty sets a very poor example) and got out there to do the final hack-down. It was ice pelleting a little, but that's the price I pay for procrastination.

The thing about the garden, though, is that once I'm out there, I enjoy being there. Even in winter (thanks to our relatively mild climate), there's always something attempting valiantly to grow. The chives, thyme, and oregano are thriving and doing much better than they did in high summer. There's at least half a dozen different species of mushroom. The Oregon grape is about ready to bloom. But the most surprising find was a few brave sprigs of lavender in bloom--on November 24th! Lavender—a Mediterranean plant that hates soggy clayey soil, supposedly. WTF? I think almost one of my favorite things about gardening is seeing plants in my garden contradict accepted gardening lore. Ha-ha! (Of course, the flip-side is seeing so-called foolproof plants [e.g., marigolds and sunflowers] wither and die on me.)

The November lavender now part of a bouquet that consists of a bunch of stuff that I might otherwise have tossed into the yard waste bag to be sent off to some enormous municipal compost heap (I assume that's where our yard waste goes). Here's the end result.


I especially love the hydrangeas. The blooms don't really fade until there's a hard frost. Instead, they go through all these permutations of color. They start out magenta in about June or July, but when the temperature rises they take on a bluish or purplish tint (heat stress?). They hang on through September and October and then the color of some of the flower clusters deepens to this sort of dryish pink-red, but some of the other clusters develop a dusty green or a grayish blue edging. It's actually quite fascinating to watch them age so gracefully. I can't think of any other flower or flowering shrub that does that.

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