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The real lowdown on gardening is...dirt.

~ Texas Bix Bender ~

Bring 'Awe' to Autumn in Your Garden

Mother Nature is already doing her part. Leaves are turning and every time I look around, I am amazed at the multitude of colors and the beauty of this season. Does it make you want to smile too?

There's lots of things left to do in our garden; from gathering up the last of the tomatoes and peppers to taking cuttings and bringing in the Brugmansia. I am very excited about the brugmansia this fall. Most of my seedlings bloomed and while the majority of them ended up on the compost, there's three potential keepers so far.

Look around: Mother Nature showers us with beautiful colors, cool mornings and sunny afternoons. Let yourself be AWED this fall.

Get Beds Ready for Spring

Give beds one last weeding. There's nothing like working off holiday calories ahead of time and your plants will thank you with extra vigor next season.
Check your plant tags, they may need repair or replacing. You'll want to be able to

If plants are healthy, leave them standing until March. New research suggests that perennials will survive the winter better if trimming is delayed until spring. Makes a lot of sense to me, after all, Mother Nature has never come with snippers to my garden in the fall!

Put up the tools. The books say "clean them, oil them, sharpen them, pet and feed them". Maybe not all of those. This is one job I dread. While i am quite happy digging up to my elbows in compost and garden foil for some reason, i hate to get my fingers all oily and greasy.
Most of the sharp tools have a rough life in my garden. Frequent dips in bleach solution and occasional weeks out in the elements take their tolls. A rainy fall day is just about perfect to sharpen and oil them, and put them right back to work.

Attract the Wildlife you Love

Have you seen the new suet feeders? Upside-Down feeders they are called and they are awesome! No longer does the valued suet get eaten up by a flock of crackles in 5 minutes flat! No sireeee, only clinging birds are able to feed from these models.

How about a jelly feeder? Not only orioles, but woodpeckers, robins, warblers and other birds love it. Don't let seasonal oranges be forgotten in the dining room fruit basket - put out a fruit feeder? The options are endless and imagine the fun you will have watching the birds you love frolicking in your garden.

Last but not least: put fresh water out for the birds and other garden critters.

Hot Peppers Anyone?

Have you ever eaten hot pepper jelly over cream cheese, in my opinion, best with plain triscuit crackers? It's delicious and makes a fantastic homemade gift from your garden. Just don't tell anyone how easy it is to prepare!

Hot Pepper Jelly:
1 cup hot peppers (mostly jalapeno, a couple of habaneros)
1 sweet pepper
---remove seeds and chop up in food processor
6 cups sugar 3 cups white vinegar
--- add to the peppers, also add a few drops green food coloring if desired (it will look prettier when finished
--- bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then remove from stove, let stand 5 minutes (i don't time it).
add 2 packages liquid pectin and boil for 1 more minute, fill in jars, screw on lids and turn upside down. after 15 minutes or so, turn right side up. they will now 'pop' and seal as they cool.
Serve with cream cheese and crackers.

Jelly will keep for a year, but it rarely lasts past the holidays. Everyone in our family has it on their 'Dear Santa, please bring me...' list.


November in the Garden
Practical & Pretty Gift Ideas:

Garden Notes :
Plant Nannies :
Bird Feeders :