I don’t know about you, but in my neck of the woods, winter still seems some distance off. I’ve yet to see ice in the dogs’ water bucket. My fuschia still has blossoms, the hostas still have some green left, and heaven forbid – the bittercress is in FULL BLOOM….still…. Does it ever go away? Despite these lingering signs of fall, I dug out (no pun intended) my OSU December Gardening Calendar to see what I had remaining on the ‘to do’ list and what was still left over from the October and November lists.

Much to my delight, many of the items could be checked off such as the fall application of weed and feed and crane fly larvae pesticide, raking the fallen alder and maple leaves – some borrowed from the neighbor’s yard – and spread on the garden for mulch. I also cleaned out the tomato bed and covered it with cardboard. I did this last winter too and was pleased to know it in fact made a marked difference in the number of weeds (and of course bittercress) that came back.

The annual flower beds have been cleared out except the bittercress. I missed the 2 dry afternoons when I could have spent 4 hours pulling it. The rose bushes have been trimmed back including the stems the deer missed and the dahlia bulbs dug. I had planted five single tubers this spring and it was obvious the plants were thriving given the glorious blooms this summer. As recommended in the Level Up; Growing Oregon Gardeners Dazzling Dahlias class, I applied the recommended fertilizer, pruned the lower leaves and staked the plants. When I cut back the stalks earlier this week and began to dig the tubers they were huge clumps. There must be 15 – 20 tubers in each of the 5 original plants. Two of the clumps had grown around the stake and with the ground too damp to shake much of it off, it looks as if the stakes are buried in the clumps until spring. Kind of a nice little ‘flower pot decoration’ though.

Today was the ‘Plant Fall Bulbs’ task. I just finished planting a bucket full of daffodil bulbs down the driveway. I am envisioning a bright yellow border this spring. We will see.

I do have to note there was a missing task on the ‘Gardening Calendar’ though. I do have a four legged ‘Gardening Assistant’ by the name of Holly. I discovered she has been eating the potting soil from the deck planters. Yeah… One of them is a bench planter, two are half barrel planters, and several smaller decorative pots. She had been into all of them. But I have a remedy. The smaller pots are now covered with their respective water trays and where necessary weighted down. The barrel and bench planters have bird netting stretched over them and affixed with duct tape. (You can build a house with duct tape, you know!) However you have to retrieve it first from your ‘Gardening Assistant’ who thought it was a new toy.

Enjoy the photos and have a very joyful Holiday!

Cammy, Smokey and Holly, the Garden Assistant

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