I can’t believe it… its the middle of November and we were basking in full sun and beautiful temps of 14C. The El Nino forecast is certainly holding… they said a mild autumn.. and so far, its been that way. Many of the plants are still looking pretty good!
Hey remember that after I re did the bogs this summer I decided to mulch them. BAD idea! That beautiful layer of pine bark mulch translated into fall time squirrel bait! They come in droves from every yard in the neighborhood to bury their nuts in my light fluffy bog soil! I swear they put up a sign “Easy to dig soil in this guys yard!” As you can see in the photos above, the peat sand media is exposed and “rotortilled” into the mulch compliments of the squirrel army. I’m sure I’ve lost of plants or seedlings or drosera or something… Some spots were a real mess!
Anyway, with such a great day, it gave me the opportunity to get all the autumn outdoor cleanup done and a final grass cut to boot! Of course, that meant getting a good start into cleanup up the bogs.
Todays task was to cleanup all the leaves in the bog gardens. I used the leaf blower to blow out the loose stuff, then used the the leaf sucker, to suck up what ever else was left, and finally, used my hands to remove anything else I could find. So why worry! They’re just leaves right!? Well, there are a few things that are a problem… decaying deciduous tree leaves are not a good thing for an outdoor bog garden, it generally raises the the ph of the soil and as the leaves break down , they adds nutrient to the soil. Not to mention when they get all wet and compressed, they promote rot and mold! and don’t let air reach the plants… so as a rule, I try to remove as many leaves as possible before putting my plants to bed for the winter.
Notice the pitchers are still on the plants. That’s the way they are staying for the winter. In previous posts, I’ve talked about my experiments cutting them to the ground, cutting them halfway and leaving them… as it turns out, leaving the leaves on has been the best choice for maintaining the health of the plants. Those bits of decaying bugs in the leaves, and the chlorophyl that is in the leaves gives the plant a good boost into growth in early spring. As the new strong pitchers take over, I will cut off the old growth!
So, with the impending winter in mind, I’ve got 5 bales of pine needles coming next week. I likely won’t be using them for a bit.. like I’ve said many times… as long as the temperatures are generally above freezing during the day, I like to keep the plants exposed to light and open air as long as possible before covering them up for winter. The way thing are looking at this point, that will still be a few weeks away or more.
Here is a quick view of the Flytrap garden. As you can see, its had a few frosts hit it, and an army of squirrels rooting around. I’m thinking that this is going to need a replant in the next couple of years.
As has become a custom as the end of the bloggin season draws near, I post a picture of the last flowers of the season. Gentiana autumnalis starts blooming for me in the middle of October and continues until a good hard freeze. This year I’m especially happy to see this flower bloom. During my bog re-do, I dug them all up and moved them around. At the time, I wasn’t sure if any of them survived the transplant, clearly, this one did :-)
The color is bit off… outside today, the flower is pure blue!