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Garden Bliss & Blunder, Issue #005
November 07, 2021
Hello there,

It's November, already !

Wow, it really is November - where did summer go?

The nights are colder,

with both sunny and moody days with gorgeous clouds,

deep blue skies while some reluctant leaves,

still cling to their trees for dear life.

…and we put pots of colour on the doorstep.

There is still time for a woodland hike -

On drives to the country, and my kids were sad the colour was leaving.

So I would ask them to count how many shades of brown

They lost count.... what about you?

But those hikes and blue skies can hold some surprises

and “Murmurations” are one of them.

This unusual phenomenon

does not happen for breeding or mating;

its more about sticking together to avoid any predators

- you know, safety in numbers.

Even so, these savvy birds have their own rules.

1. SEPARATION - steering to avoid crowding others or bumping into them

2. ALIGNMENT- like driving a bit: steer towards the group’s average heading

3. COHESION - steering toward the most common position of the closest birds.

It is an awesome to see - and hear - Nature’s magic in action.

It looks like a choreographed dance.

And there is a YouTube video


I loved it

and you might too.


It's time to make those pumpkins into pie

or split them and place them in the woods for animals to snack on. I love the idea of little creatures holding up a piece of pumpkin,

seeds and innards streaming down their little chins…

“In some Native languages,

the term for plants

translated to

“those who take care of us”

Robin Wall Kimmerer

As in the October newsletter,

I hope you left most of your garden standing

(except for those slimy Hosta and lilies)

because they provide seeds and shelter for our wee feathered

and furry friends from the cold, icy winds.

There is still time to plant Tulips

but plant them really deep

or you put a product in the hole with them

called "chicken poop"

…. squirrels don’t like that

better still, plant daffodils, Hyacinth and Allium,

they don’t care for them.

I do cut back Peony

leaves when they are withered

and or covered with mildew…

but if they look like these below…

I leave them… How gorgeous..

Put away the last of the garden goddesses,


balls and baubles

… clean the bird baths and pots

… if you haven't already

Pull your annuals but save the kale…. yum.

And of course, there are some

other things to do in November

so look here....


Put a nice thick layer of compost over any bare soil

… and if your budget allows,

add mulch the heck out of the garden

…. I can manage compost this fall, but the mulch has to wait till spring . I will often rake my neighbour’s leaves

and bring them to cover the garden

when the last frost has hit

… like a cozy blanket .

Now, the part that is my least favourite task,

but perhaps one of the most important ones….


In colder zones with freezing winters,

most roses need protection. When the hard frost comes

and the ground is close to freezing,

I hill up my roses with compost

and cover them with my neighbours’ leaves.

There is a lot more info on my site under roses... look here:

you will also find how to overwater a rose tree for frigid winters.


Now that Fall is leaving us behind,

I start to think about holiday trimmings that make

the snow-white winter more colourful.

With a bundle or two of mixed green branches

and a few baubles,

I add them to all the pots I can find to add some colour

outside (or inside).

For outdoor arrangements,

if you wait too long, the soil in your pots

will be frozen and harder to put branches in them.

keep a kettle of hot water nearby...

For me it is often still sort of warm

by mid November if I’m lucky

and the rest of the gardens are taken care of

…it's fun time.

Many garden centres and shops

will have ready-made gorgeous pots for you to take home,

but if you want to do your own,


to make your own outdoor arrangements.


Most greenhouses, and even grocery stores,

sell mixed bundles of green branches:

Red pine (with its long stiff needles)

White pine with soft drooping needles

Cedar, spruce, boxwood and hemlock

You can also go to the country and trim some evergreens - BUT, don't do this on someone's property

and especially don't along the side of the road

unless you know how to properly prune...

you could kill the tree or shrub, or even stunt its growth...

The folks who cut evergreens to sell, do it systematically,

and they know what to cut and when...

And please don’t use

this time to trim your own evergreens

unless you know what you are doing. 

It's not worth having bare stems in the summer

for free greens now.  


support your local greenhouse instead.

Save Hydrangea heads, seed pods, grasses

long pieces of willow or dogwood

or even old decorations you no longer use inside.

These can all be sprayed any colour you wish

… old twisted branches work too.

My urns are Victorian, so I tend to make them a bit more formal

but have some fun and add whimsy wherever you can.

Tie together some leftover branches

with a piece of bright ribbon and

attach them to your gate,

your mailbox, fence or the hood of your car….

(my kids were so embarrassed to drive

the car decorated with a wreath... I loved it)

There are no hard and fast rules

except to have fun so

choose what you love - it will all work.


I am so excited !

My Little Bird book is being printed in time for Christmas and Holiday giving.

It’s the very true story of a baby bird who fell from his nest,

rescued by a boy, his little sister, their Mom (who decided he would live),

and Nana & Papa who helped him fly into the woods

I cannot wait to share it with you and

if you would like a signed copy

please send me a note at

Well, thats it till next time....

We are off to catch the last rays of sun before tea time.

Lucy is cuddled up keeping me company

with my last few garden tasks.

She likes to be involved, of course.

Take out a good book,

pour something lovely

and enjoy the days

...just as you find them.

BOOKS to READ ... now or later


" A delight for lovers of gardening and literature." (Woman and Home)

Edited by Deborah Kellaway

Virago Press

ISBN 978-0-349-00865-3

Fascinating.... loved it


s novel

Elizabeth Gilbert

"An enthralling story of desire,

adventure, and

the thirst for knowledge"

Terrific.. one of my favourites.

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