Closing Time

Daylight Savings Time signals a shutting down, a closing in, an end to brightness and growth. It means we still wake up with the darkness, but now we come home to it as well. For some, this change in light negatively affects their very psyche. For others, like me, it is a season of sweetness; full of coziness and darkness pierced by subtle bits of light.
Pansies in Fall at A Nest for All Seasons
Pansies are the last blooms pushing on until frost. 
The whole world follows this path into chill darkness. The trees drop the last bits of green and wildlife skitters around for as much food as they can fit in their bellies and hidden stashes. There is this rush of activity into long, cold dormancy and it is exhilarating.

Closing Time for the Garden

The woods, the garden and the lawn are all shutting down for winter and I am doing my best to preserve what I can for the next growing season. All of the large potted plants from the front porch have been moved indoors and today I made one of two "nursery pots".

Southern Patio Inserts for Nursery Pot at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea

Nursery pots are a place to save cuttings, start seeds and perhaps host a few out of zone bulbs. 
They allow me to keep little plants that will go out next spring, saving money on plant starts for next year.

Plants I want to SAVE for next year!

This particular pot was planted with some potatoes
 (they are a great soft yellow/white that will grow enough to preserve small starter potatoes that will plant out next summer):

Planting Potatoes in a Nursery Pot DIY Gardening
Potato Starts
Next comes a layer of soil and a few glads, an amaryllis, everything leftover in the garden
 that I forgot to pot up earlier. Then I plant cuttings that I started in water weeks ago. 

Growing Cuttings in Water DIY Gardening at A Nest for All Seasons
Note the ROOTS!
They have formed water roots that will get them through until good, strong roots form in the soil. Coleus, sweet potato vine and lemon balm cuttings will make 6-10 plants. Multiply that by as many nursery pots as you can start over winter and you could have a whole landscape of your favorite bedding plant!

Growing Cuttings Over Winter DIY Gardening at A Nest for All Seasons
 Cuttings in a Nursery Pot 
Lastly, I may start a few seeds in this nursery pot, either testing viability or getting a good start on spring planting. (I will do this later in the winter.) This pot is NOT meant to be pretty, but it is meant to be efficient and productive. Therefore, it is hidden away behind other attractive, full grown plants in the atrium. It is kind of a lesson on life, isn't it? Both the beautiful, stagnant things and the productive, yet unattractive must co-exist and complement each other for the best outcome.

The Final Rush

Outdoors, I am also furiously finishing up planting for the best possible gardens next year. Young woodland plants went in a few weeks ago, allium bulbs went in a new garden bed as well and plenty of mature plants found on clearance are finding homes. The goal is to get them in, get them watered well and allow the plants to develop solid roots before the ground begins to freeze. Now that the plants are in, they are getting a blanket of mulch, leaves, sometimes cardboard and whatever other organic materials I can find to both protect and nourish them over the winter and into the spring.

This grasses bed started out like this:

Those pictures were actually after having the overgrown grasses trimmed back and the ivy cleared somewhat from the rock wall.
I don't have a "before" before photo of the grasses bed, but it looked a little like the rest of the property when we bought it -- kind of like THIS:

Now it has been babied and coaxed back into form:

Rock Wall with Ornamental Grasses in Fall at Stonecrest Manor

There are 6 hydrangeas slotted for this bed, along with a host of sedum and catmint 
or Russian sage to soften the edges of the rock wall.  This is my inspiration photo:

Sedum and Sage on a Rock Wall

Sedum have already started going in and many more will be made over the winter in nursery pots from cuttings.

The Creatures

The lambs and the chickens are growing older and getting their coats on for winter. Almost every day now, the lambs are staked out to eat as much green as they can. Before long, dry hay and grain will be it for them :/

Grazing Lambs at Stonecrest Manor

We put together a little shanty for them in the pen (more to come on that!) 
and will hopefully be rewarded with wool and eggs this coming spring!

Free Range Chickens at Stonecrest Manor

I wish you all a happy fall end and a gentle closing to your gardens.

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