Saturday, November 04, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like ...rain

Halloween is over and we know what that is time to begin the seasonal fun. No, I don't mean shopping and holiday Davis it is time to get serious about moving tender plants to a safe winter abode and replacing them with something (preferably bright and cheerful) to look at during the long, gray winter ahead. We may be part of California but we are not going to be basking in the sun for a while...the Central Valley is more of a fog/overcast zone for much of the winter. We had our first rain of the season on Thursday...almost an inch of rain in mostly one big afternoon cloudburst. It was actually a bit of a this time of year it gets difficult to keep watering and in the last week as I've managed to squeeze in a few more bulbs (crocus for Henry Mitchell, hyacinths and brimeura) I've been reminded that I need to hang in there a little longer...the beds are really dry. So now the watering is caught up and I spent part of today cleaning up leaves and cutting back perennials that are dying back (like some of the salvias and the cannas), as well as some pelargoniums that have just gotten too big. I'll save the real cutting back for spring when I know we're safe from a freeze...that way if we do have a freeze the plants will hopefully be big enough to survive after they get a spring trim. We haven't had a hard freeze for a few years...that's one reason the pelargoniums are a little excessive.
My family room window looks out at my sideyard fence and today was the day to switch the pots I have there. I've got begonias and succulents there in the summer but those are moving to the patio and so I put out the fall pots after filling them with some bright pansies. I don't have much yellow in my summer garden and no orange but, as I've said, winters here call for cheerful colors that show up on gray days. So I'm thankful that there are so many good pansy colors available...they'll stay there all winter with a short break when I put out the Christmas pots.
I've got several sets of pots I use on that part of the fence...since you can easily see them from the family room and dinner table I consider them part of the room decor. The pots are just terracotta pots I've painted with acrylic paint and then coated with two coats of outdoor varnish. They've held up for several years so, easy and pretty inexpensive.