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The Earth is Growing Quiet

In November, the earth is growing quiet. It is making its bed, a winter bed for flowers and small creatures. The bed is white and silent, and much life can hide beneath its blankets.

Cynthia Rylant

The weather has definitely got colder and we’ve been getting frosts. So it’s time to wear my winter vest while gardening now. I’m not in the garden as much, but volunteers are still keeping it tidy and doing the dead heading. We are leaving all the dead leaves that have fallen into the garden as these will give homes to wildlife as well as feed and protect some of our plants.

I can’t see many insects around, so I think they must be settling into Bugingham Palace for the winter. Did you know some insects survive the winter by going into a semi frozen state called diapause?  They survive this because they have a high amount of glycerol in their blood that acts like antifreeze.

I’ve been putting a few of the more delicate plants like the Peruvian Lily to bed for the winter by covering themwith fleece. Hopefully this will protect them from the worst of the weather. Some of our geraniums are in the cold frame in the yard for the winter. But that’s full now, so we are going to have to wrap up the rest too. We are trying not to have to buy many bedding plants next year, so hopefully these will survive.

This week the last of the early spring bulbs have been planted in the garden. We still have lots of plants in flower, although a few are dying off now it’s getting frosty. Our lovely, tall sunflowers and sweetcorn have finished and the seeds left for the birds to eat.

In the veg garden the chilli peppers have all been picked and pulled up. Most will be frozen, but I’m using a few in curries I am cooking for friends next week. We had an amazing amount of chillies off these plants. I’m also making a tomato and fennel salad this weekend after pulling up one of the fennel plants to try. The aniseed smell is lovely. Our cabbages are getting heads now and the kale is very leafy. My main worry is the parsnips, asthe leaves have wilted with the frost. I’m not sure what’s happening with them underground, but I would love to have them ready for Xmas. Fingers crossed.

We still have our poppy and dove displays in the garden. So many visitors have commented on how lovely these are, that we are going to keep them in the garden overthe winter. Next week is the switching on of the Xmas lights in Runcorn Old Town. So we will be spending our next session sorting out our decorations and starting to get our garden ready for Xmas.

The Blooming Old Gardener

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