Pinecones, Paperwhites, Planting, and Preperation

OCTOBER! Such a lovely month in North Carolina. Cooler temperatures motivate us to clean up our flower beds, winterize, add some mulch and sanitize those garden tools with some bleach water. I call it putting the garden to bed for the winter.

It's not too late to sow some lettuce greens. A flower box or pots allow you to pull them inside as frost approaches and extend their life a bit longer. Put them back out on sunny days. Garden greens for Thanksgiving! It's possible!

October is a good time to grab a bag of daffodils and paperwhites bulbs at the garden center or box store. Plant the daffs in multiple pots and store in a cool dark place like the garage. Water only occasionally. Come spring, set them out and watch them come to glory!

Paperwhites are fun to grow inside an added botanical touch we miss so much after our gardens are hibernating. I use tall cylindrical vases from the dollar store and group them on the coffee table or mantle. Add some river rock, a bit of water just touching the bottom of the bulbs then sit back and wait for the magic! In about 3 weeks you are rewarded with magnificent blooms! So very Southern!

October is also a great time to gather some of those pine cones North Carolina blesses ( or curses ) us with. A great craft project is to soak them in a large bucket 2 parts water to 1 part bleach. Put some bricks or other heavy object on top to keep them from floating. Soak no longer than 24 hours or they will become mushy. Dump them onto a tarp and dry in the sun. You will have lovely various colored cones with which to make a wreath or swag or for mantle decor. Pinterest has tons of ideas for bleached pinecones. Save a few unbleached ones for peanut butter and birdseed to hang in your trees. It's a mess but the birds love it!

October rewards us with so many opportunities to enjoy the beauty of nature, to plan for the holidays, the coming of spring, or to just sit in the moment and relish October's glory!

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