The calendar says it’s just turned winter, but as far as I’m concerned, we’re already well on our way to spring. I used to wait until March to do my outdoor cleanup, trying to get every last bit of enjoyment out of the garden before giving up on the previous year’s display. Unfortunately, the voles also got a great deal of enjoyment out of that approach, and I eventually had to switch to cutting down both the garden and meadow in mid- to late fall so the voles were forced to find other places to spend the winter.
At first, it didn’t seem fair that I had to give up so soon after the spectacular fall finale. This year, though, the process became much more interesting as I realized that the cleanup process isn’t so much about getting rid of stuff as it is about shifting things around.
The grasses are gone…
But now the veg garden paths are all nicely filled with the tops.
The spaces that held cannas, dahlias, and other tender bulbs are empty…
But the basement is filled with bags and crates of dormant roots and tubers…
…and with boxes and pots of tender succulents too.
The manure bins are empty…
…but the holes left where I dug up all those tender plants are now filled again…
…as are the empty spaces in the veg garden where late crops kept me from sowing oats or alfalfa for winter cover.
The flowers are all gone – well, except for those of sturdy little ‘Golden Starlet’ winter heath (Erica carnea f. alba)…
…but my office bench is filled with boxes, bags, and envelopes of seeds all ready for sowing. And my goodness, it’s hard to get depressed by an empty garden when I have hundreds of seed packets to sort through – especially those that many of you shared with me over the last few weeks!
All of this moving things around is great physical and mental exercise, but it leaves me with a blogging problem: I can’t get away with post after post showing pictures of soggy alpaca manure and bagged-up bulbs to fill the time from now until March’s Bloom Day. So, it’s time to find creative ways to keep things fresh and interesting in this virtual world. If you’ve been here before, you’ve already noticed the first change: a new look for the blog. (Now WordPress can stop fussing at me for using an outdated, long-retired theme.)
The next new thing:
As I’ve mentioned a few times before, my camera has been on the Auto setting since I got it seven years ago. When I was playing around with taking the pictures back in September for my last post on panoramic images, I somehow managed to change that setting, and in the process, I discovered that – wonder of wonders – my camera can capture video as well as still images. (I really need to read the darn manual one of these days.) Well, that gave me the idea of taking it on a walk around the garden, which then led to having to learn how to edit video clips.
I’ll warn you now that the result is pretty rough, but if you have nothing better to do with the next 12 minutes of your life, I invite you to join me – and Daniel and Duncan, too – on a virtual tour of our fall garden. You can find the video at YouTube through this link: Welcome to Hayefield.
And a final bit of news…Tried and True Perennials is now available worldwide in Kindle format. Tried and True Perennials started out as a couple of blog posts and ended up turning into a 108-page book featuring twenty of my favorite flowering and foliage perennials. Don’t own a Kindle device? That’s ok; I don’t either. You can download free Kindle Reader Apps through Amazon and read them on a smartphone, tablet, or computer, or even right in your web browser.
For the next three months, at least, the Tried and True Perennials e-book is available exclusively through the KDP Select program, so I’ll no longer be selling the pdf version here. The Kindle edition has fewer photos, but there are still over 100 color images. (There are over 200 images in the print version).
In the process of creating the Kindle edition, I revised some of the text, updated some of the pictures, and changed the cover as well. I’ve made a new edition of the print version too, changing the cover image to match this one and fixing a few little things, but the interior text and photos of that one have basically stayed the same.
If you’re a fan of e-books, you can also find several of my other books in Kindle format, including:
- The Perennial Care Manual
- The Perennial Gardener’s Design Primer
- Foliage: Astonishing Color and Texture beyond Flowers
- Fallscaping: Extending Your Garden Season into Autumn
Those links all lead to the book pages on Amazon.com. If you’re in another country, you should be able to find them by searching for “Nancy J. Ondra” on whatever version of Amazon you usually use.
Well, that’s enough new and news to be going on with for now, I think!