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CAROL'S CORNER - Current Observations for the month......October 2004
    So far we have not had a major frost, though I believe it will be soon.  Perhaps this week.  It is really nice to enjoy sunny days after so many days of clouds and rain.  A couple more weeks of sunny would sure be nice for the dahlias.  There is a possibility that we will have a very snowy winter this year; last year was not very snowy at all.  Farmer's Almanac seems to be predicting a harsher winter this year, especially for the East Coast.  Snow cover is a welcome insulation for our plants, although not so great on us people.

   Hopefully the weather will continue to cooperate this Fall so we can get some garden clean up done.  And to plant the zillions of spring bulbs "someone" ordered.  The first box of bulbs arrived this week so I'm looking at a lot of hours on my knees. (Moan)

   This can be a colorful time of year.  Although hostas and ferns are showing signs of waning into their winter rest because of the shorter daylight hours many trees in the neighborhood are showing their golds and red colors.    Leaves have started to fall on one of our trees, so soon we will have the chore of raking up leaves.  Actually, I prefer to use the lawnmower to pick them up and then transport them to the compost pile.

   The iris have not yet started to die back.  Some people like to cut them down in the fall.  I am one who prefers to leave them alone until Spring cleanup time.  At that time, nature has done it's job and they are easy to pull away from the plant when cleaning up.
If time allows, I'll get busy and shovel up more of the finished compost and place it on beds.  I've already started making new compost in another location so as not to conflict with the finished stuff.  I like to wet the pile down, add some manure if I have it, and turn it once or twice a week if time allows.  It's worth the effort to have great free organic amendments next spring when cleaning up beds or re-planting iris.

   Don't forget to map your iris plantings.  (I've been meaning to do that for several years, but never seem to get it done)  Tags do have a tendency to wander off or become illegible over winter.   I did upgrade all my tags this Spring using the electronic label maker (Brother P-Touch 1/2 inch tape) with white label, black ink.  I have great hopes that these labels will last much longer than my former marking pen labels  Now if I can just keep my husband and his weedeater from wacking a tagged label  across the garden.  That's where mapping the plantings would help.
Also, consider making a list of your plantings so the Sale Commitee can have it over winter when they have the time to work on the sale file.  The list helps, too, when redoing your labels.  It makes a good winter project to make your name labels in the winter and place them on the plantings in the Spring after the soil defrosts.

   Soon will be the time to turn off the sprinkler system and blow it out, empty the mowers and weedeaters of gas and put them to bed in the garage, another season is about to pass.  But it sure has been a fun growing summer, hasn't it?