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It's About Time - November 2015

Cow Parsnip, Heracleum lanatum
Cow Parsnip, Heracleum lanatum

November is the month to drain and roll up the garden hoses. It is important to take timers and other freezing sensitive equipment indoors for the winter. Be prepared to wrap the outside faucets. It wouldn’t hurt to give the plants in the yard one final, gentle feeding of fertilizer.  

Bird lovers will be keeping a close eye on their feeders. This time of the year there are impressive flocks of small birds, which have come down from the mountains to feed on grains. They love to congregate in yards that have water and different kinds of feed. Water gets to be very important when temperatures drop below freezing. Investing in a watering bowl that keeps the water thawed would be a great holiday gift to your feathered friends.

Leaves of our broadleaf trees don’t finish falling until late November. The bigleaf maple had a good showing of bright golden orange this year. Alder leaves just turn brown and fall quickly. These fallen leaves will decompose and add their nutrients back into the soil. These recycled nutrients will, in turn, enhance the growth of leaves next spring.

Different plants decompose in different ways. I like the way the Oregon ash leaves break down. By late winter their soft tissues will have disappeared completely but the fine mesh-like skeleton is preserved in minute detail. The stems of big herbs show their circulatory system as they decay. The way a leaf connects to a stem is revealed as an intricate web.