Common Ground – November 2021

“Sit by the fireside with Sorrow”


There was no frost here in the valley until late October. I can’t remember another year when the morning glories and other frost tender flowers were still going while the leaves were turning colour. Some of the usual fall garden jobs have been moved forward into November as a result.

I haven’t been in any hurry to plant garlic. It doesn’t need to go in until the soil is cooler. And the glads and dahlias haven’t had a hard frost so they’re not ready to dig and prepare for winter storage.

The dahlias were a definite success story. Most of mine are a cutting mixture from Vesey’s. They bloomed for a solid two months and I cut the last of them in late October. I wasn’t sure that they were worth the trouble if we got early frost in September which often happens. But what a nice surprise to have my fears proven groundless. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

The usual October bulb planting has also been moved forward into November. I will plant some daffodils on the hillside facing the house as I do most years. I know I will be happy to see them in the spring.

I will be planting more crocuses in the lawn to make up for the ones excavated by the squirrels and chipmunks. I know that they got some of them but I have no idea how many. The same goes for the species tulips which were so spectacular last spring. So what to do but plant some more. I will not give up. I will not give in.

I’m still trying to decide where to plant some rare acuminata tulips I was given. These are a rare species tulip native to Turkey which are unfortunately now extinct in the wild. The flowers have unusual narrow yellow and red petals and it’s sometimes called the flame tulip. They have been grown in gardens since the 1800’s. I think they will be safer in the vegetable garden where the squirrels haven’t ventured. I hope those will not be famous last words.

The beavers have returned to the creek above the bridge. They have been busy all fall rebuilding their kingdom. So I once again will have a pond after not having one for a few years. I’m surprised that they returned so quickly. There must be enough for them to eat or they wouldn’t have returned.

I will once again be able to take the little red canoe for a paddle in the spring. On the far side of the pond I will be able to see the remains of the old dam built by the McMahons many years ago. There was a water powered sawmill here in those days.

Perhaps still having so many fall clean up jobs still to do will make bleak November more bearable. One can only hope.

By Jill Williams

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