Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Does 35 degrees F sound cold?  If you are an Alaskan and it's October 20, the answer is "no."  However, I am tempted and spoiled by our unseasonable long and mild fall, to reply "yes."  It seems too early to be wandering around the house with a blanket draped around my shoulders, but alas, that is the case today.  I even had to brew up my first batch of hot chocolate of the season: caramel with a shot of cream.  Served in a Haviland Limoges porcelain cup with saucer (sounds very la-de-da but I purchased it for a song at a thrift store auction).  Something about the presentation just makes the cocoa taste better, more satisfying.  I feel like I'm indulging myself, and in today's hectic world, by taking a moment for myself and enjoying something tasty served in something beautiful, I sure am.

Presentation in the garden, have you thought about it?  What is the first thing a visitor to your garden will see, and what draws the eye?  Stand back from your home and try to observe what stands out.  I often do this in the street or ditch across the way (yes, I do check for traffic).  I take pictures from this perspective, and I have learned to do this for each season (see pictures).  The strengths and eyesores of autumn might be different than those of spring.  If you are an Alaskan, you sure aren't doing any gardening in the winter, so why not take notes and review the pictures you have taken at that time? 

Many of the newer lots here in Anchorage are of smallish size, rather close together, and have few trees for privacy, so an example of notes might be something like: evergreen tree to block view of automobile and snowmachine graveyard, deciduous tree to block view of neighbors riverboat that only shows up in summer, brightly colored shrubbery to divert attention from garbage cans/Dumpster, a brown tarp for the convertible instead of a blue one for next year, widen the path to the front door, etc.

My own notes include: install "moose repelling" pinwheels, plant decidous tree where Pinus flexilis 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid' is now ailing, rip out declining Cladrastis lutea 'Rosea' and plant Malus 'Prairiefire', level gravel walkway, touch up stain on fencing and backyard deck, plant more bulbs next fall.  That's just for starters off the top of my head.  A sobering thought indeed. 

Another good reason to be taking mental stock of the "to do" list for improving yard/home presentation in winter: it takes me that long to rest up mentally and physically for all the exertion that lies ahead.  Ugh.

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