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November 20, 2005

Last Bouquet of the Season

Each fall I indulge in a semi-maudlin practice of gathering the “last bouquet of the season” – a combination of whatever is still blooming at the time. Some years I have done this in the first hours of a blizzard, clipping sweet peas and Russian sage and asters.

This year Mother Nature threw me a sucker punch. I kept delaying my final bouquet because the mild weather kept the annuals blooming on and on. Why cut back the last orange Profusion zinnias when they were still producing great blooms?

Even after a little cold snap that brought the zinnias down, the roses kept blooming and again I delayed.

Finally there came freezing rain and I could wait no longer. There wasn’t much left to gather, but I had my eye on two Graham Thomas rose buds. The first, and most promising, bud was thick and I figured that it would bloom soon when brought indoors.

Wrong. The rain had frozen solid around it and the bud snapped off in my fingers as I grasped it. I still brought it in, along with the other bud which I held low on the stem before cutting. It, too, was frozen solid but it sprang back to life when it thawed.

So here are the final fruits of my gardening season: two tired-looking rosebuds that did not achieve all that they promised.

Amaryllis Update

A few weeks ago, I included my friend Susan’s instructions on how to get amaryllis to bloom again. I truly wanted to follow her directions to the letter, hoping for success, but my best laid plans died on the vine.

Here’s what I did: when the weather started getting cooler, I brought my amaryllis pots into the garage and promptly forgot about them. Well, I didn’t actually forget about them since I walked past them every day for almost two months. I just didn’t deal with them.

Eventually their strappy leaves turned yellow, then brown and then shriveled up. Since I wasn’t watering the pots, the soil dried out.

Over the long Veteran’s Day weekend, I finally popped the bulbs out of each pot, brushed off all the old soil, cut back the leaves and roots, and repotted them into fresh soil in a variety of different containers. The bulbs ranged in size from a large walnut to one which is as big as a soft ball. I watered them and put them in the sunny south-facing window of Brian’s home office.

When I checked on them today, the soft ball-sized one had already started to push up new growth.

I’ll keep you posted on their progress. Out of 11 bulbs, at least one of them is bound to bloom again, right?


Last week I posted a photo of the wonderful plants I put in copper pots in front of the pergola. I incorrectly identified them as phormium. They are not. They are actually cordyline. My apologies.

The hard frost finally broke these plants down as well.

Pumpkin Pie Cookies

This seasonal cookie was posted on a parenting website by Techmom10. They could be a tasty substitution for the real thing.

Pumpkin Pie Cookies

1-1/2 cup butter, margarine or butter-flavored shortening (or a combo)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 can (15oz) pumpkin
1 Tbs ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt

Grease cookie sheets and preheat the oven to 350. Mix butter and sugar until fluffy. Add pumpkin, spices, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Sift dry ingredients together and add to pumpkin mix – add slowly and mix thoroughly by hand. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Note: dough will be sticky and wet but will retain shapes if you want to make pumpkins or other fun shapes. Try using a greased cookie cutter as a guide for spreading the dough – at least ½ inch thick. Makes 3 to several dozen cookies, depending on the size and shape.

What I’m Reading

In the middle of: “Pomegranate Soup” by Marsha Mehran. A tale of the magical powers of cooking done by three Iranian women in rural Ireland. It reminds me of “Like Water for Chocolate.”

Still in the queue: “Sahara” by Michael Palin. The former Monty Python member has written a number of delightful travel tales. I’ve actually started it but other books keep coming due at the library before I can finish it.

Listening to: “Blue Shoe” by Anne LaMott

Graham’s current favorite: “Sharks! Strange and Wonderful” by Laurence Pringle

Garden Chores for the Week

Throw the cordyline in the compost bin.

Cut back the last roses and verbena bonarienses.

When the ground finally freezes, throw bags of leaves onto the tender stuff.

Today’s Grahamism

"See these lines on my hands? They’re vines."

"A Great Reef Shark is almost eight feet long. That’s almost as big as Dad."

"Bananas are the seeds of broccoli."

"Did you know that the Chinese are nocturnal?"

Click to see Graham in action at a recent gymnastics practice.

Posted by maasx003 at November 20, 2005 7:23 PM | Gardens


I do that "last bouquet" thing, too. Did it a little while ago, though, as we are in Louisiana for the Thanksgiving holiday. I had sky blue aster (which is really lavender), 2 colors of mums, knautia macedonia, and seedheads of something I forget...

Cute video! Andre says Graham looks like a natural! A tasty and relaxing turkey day to y'all...

Posted by: Rebecca C at November 21, 2005 1:36 PM

That is too funny about the rose buds...I did the same exact thing and the same exact thing happened to me. My husband got sick of looking at the two pathetic rose buds doing nothing in the vase on the table and tossed em into the compost to me, all the while shaking his head at my "antics".

Posted by: girl gone gardening at November 27, 2005 6:22 PM