Gardening with Galligan: It’s farewell for now …

CAROL GALLIGAN PHOTOS | Here’s the window box, as close up as I could manage.

CAROL GALLIGAN PHOTOS | Here’s the window box, as close up as I could manage.

And so the season draws to a close with enormous amounts of rain, really surprising downpours. This is exceptionally good for our evergreens, sending them into dormancy with their needles full of water, just as we would have wished. It continues to be unseasonably warm and many perennials look like they’re going to re-bloom any minute, but, of course, they’re not.

You can, however, cut them back, just as you would if they were no longer green. I’ve followed the rule — to wait until they’re brown and lifeless. I’ve waited slavishly and refused defiantly. It’s never, from what I’ve been able to observe, made the slightest difference. They’ve come back the following season, right on schedule, apparently indifferent to my behavior.

I have, however, brought all of the houseplants, summering on various decks, back into the house, despite the lack of even threatening frost. I’ve emptied the window boxes as well. This is because I use the first two weeks of November to put up the outside holiday lights. I don’t turn them on, of course, a sacrilege before Thanksgiving, but it’s much nicer to work with them with the temperatures in the low 60s rather than later when your fingers start to freeze. And the window boxes have to be empty because the lights sort of drape over them. So now they are. First steps taken!

The window boxes are all filled with green boughs from our cedars and cryptomeria and topped with pine cones. I’ve sprayed these with a light acrylic spray, as I’ve recommended for the pumpkins and gourds, and it does make for a better appearance. It simply enhances color and that deeper shade is more attractive.

Here’s one collection of succulents with the pebbles instead of moss. I love that little turtle! I’ve had him forever!

Here’s one collection of succulents with the pebbles instead of moss. I love that little turtle! I’ve had him forever!

I’ve begun to turn inward, looking to my succulents to spend the winter with. I’ve replanted some and look forward to dealing with others. They don’t get much attention during the outdoor season. I’ve recently become enamored of the little white pebbles that Grady Riley sells in packages. I’ve started using them here and there instead of moss and I like the results. Inspired by the smaller pebbles, I began looking at our driveway and realized that I liked the larger pebbles as well. So you can probably predict my direction when it came time to fill a new window box at the top of new stairs up from our driveway.

First, I filled the bottom of the window box with some old towels, just to raise the display level — no soil because I’m not growing anything. Then I filled a pail from the driveway, dumped the pebbles on top and smoothed them out. Then, a nice grouping of pine cones. And some red berries from our hawthorn tree. At Thanksgiving I’ll top the whole thing with some tiny silver balls. And, of course, lights!

I’m ready for life inside now and especially for the end of daylight savings time which happened this past weekend. I look forward to waking up in daylight, yes! So rest well, my fellow gardeners, feet on the hearth, job well done! Another spring, inshallah!

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