RE: [gardeners] Our beautiful October garden

Rosemary Carlson (
Sun, 14 Oct 2001 08:52:24 -0400

Hi everyone: I seem to just pop in and out of here these days - lurking
mostly. I hope all of you are well and that no one had family/friends
involved in the events of Sept 11. They will haunt us all for a long time to
come. I had 2 friends in the WTC. One former student working for Morgan
Stanley - she got out - just barely and with injuries but she'll be OK.
Another colleague -- who is missing. It touched us all. It's been a sad
time. I've thought about all of you whom I know (and who I don't!) and hoped
all of you and yours are well and safe.

I replied to the "October" thread as the fall here in my part of KY has been
the most beautiful I can remember in a long time. Brilliant foliage. The
woods surrounding my house are all hardwood. No/few conifers. So, as the
leaves drop, I feel exposed. Sometime, I have to get out and blow leaves.
Not for the next couple of days, however. Raining cats and dogs today. Can't
blow wet leaves. But soon!

I'm about to start mulching my very few flower beds - my rhodies, mountain
laurel, some shade perennials. I also want to plant a few bulbs but will
stick to daffodils due to my rather large deer population. Of course, I make
that problem worse because I feed them.....but they are beautiful and hungry
and I can't resist. I always have a feeding block and a salt block out for
them and put out shelled corn as often as possible. This is the time in the
fall they go away, for the most part for awhile. Rutting season -- but there
are also plenty of acorns and hickory nuts to eat in the woods and they love

I'm still teaching - about 7 more years until I can retire from the
university. But, I've sort of morphed into another career. I've become, over
the past couple of years, a freelance writer in finance and business, though
occasionally in other things. I write for one of the online brokerages on
the 'net as a regular columnist. I freelance for other online and print
publications. I've always been a frustrated writer :) so this is very
satisfying though it's tough trying to maintain 2 rather demanding careers.
I HOPE, eventually, to do some garden writing. But, I'm keeping pretty busy
with the business/finance stuff. I'm also working on an e-book (actually a
series of e-books in personal finance) and writing a nonfiction personal
finance book for single women (popular press - not academic). On top of
that, I'm writing a textbook. Life is busy. My woods is a wonderful place
for inspiration. After retirement from teaching, I hope to write full time
and develop that in to a full-time career -- which it sort of already is!

We've had 2 frosts here already but no killing freezes. Supposedly, that
will change this week. It's time. This is about the time of year in zone 6a,
KY, when the end of the gardening season arrives.

I put in some foundation plants this year - hydrangeas that are actually
staying blue! A lacecap hydrangea. Pussywillows. A birch tree (which did not
survive the heavy clay soil). I already had 3 year old rhodies and mountain
laurel - doing well. My azaleas are NOT doing well. I think there is too
much shade for them. Next spring, I'll probably take them out and just
finish that flower bed with shade perennials. I also tried an oakleaf
hydrangea. No dice. It never did well and ended up dying only a few weeks
after I planted it despite TLC. NO idea why although the spot it was in
seemed a little wet.

One gardening question. I've now begun to giggle when people in the city
complain about their squirrel problem. I have a SERIOUS raccoon problem.
They are smart - and they are equally destructive. I can't KEEP birdfeeders
up - not only do they raid them but they physically carry them off. Once,
they even brought BACK one of the suet feeders. Any bright ideas on how to
handle the little devils? They don't bother the plants - but I have MANY
species of birds here and I don't want the raccoons stealing food and
feeders all the time. I see pileated woodpeckers ALL the time -- and really
every species of woodpecker. I love the woodpeckers but I'll have to admit
the nuthatches are my favorite. I use nut feeders for them and they're

Although I don't post much, I read all your email and really enjoy it. Love
to read about your gardens since my gardening is limited due to heavy shade
and a heavy deer population! Recently, we've become infested here with lady
bugs. They are all over the outside of the house - and on houses over the
entire area! No one can figure it out. I also have zillions of granddaddy
longlegs and moths. A bald eagle (the first seen in this area for years)
resides very close by (off my road!) and they say we'll have elk this fall.
I would be thrilled if I saw an elk at the salt block! There are also some
small black bears -- but I've never seen one. I have seen my wood piles
after they knock them down, however! I'd LIKE to see one -- from a distance.
There is also a bobcat. I've seen him pretty up close and personal as he
came walking up my driveway one day. I went outside as I thought it was just
a regular cat.......well......I knew it wasn't instantly. He lives in trees
in my backyard (it's an acre) and screams occasionally at night. I'm used to
it but it scares visitors to death!

Along with my beloved corgis (Zach who is the old guy at 14 and Eliza at 2),
I have a new dog. It became obvious I needed a watch dog. I rescued (from a
shelter who doesn't kill) a wonderful (WONDERFUL) rough collie/German
Shepherd mix. Dad was a GS and Mom a collie. His name is Murphy and he's
about 3. He is the BEST dog in America! He lives on my screened porch where
he has a dog door that allows him to go in and out into the fenced back yard
at will. He has a wonderful "house" in the screened porch with fuzzy
blankets and all manner things to keep him warm. He wanders inside some --
but not much. He prefers being out and I (and the corgis) spend time with
him outside. A TERRIFIC watch dog who appears to have been guard trained in
his previous life. I feel safe here always -- but safer with Murphy on duty!
:) He and Eliza AND he and Abby (my Maine Coon cat) are best buds. He and
Zach are less friendly - they have the macho male dog thing going on though
both are neutered!

Enjoy reading your posts and I hope everyone is well!

Zone 6a on a mountain in Eastern KY

Rosemary Carlson
Freelance Financial/Business Writer and Columnist
P.O. Box 1278
Morehead, KY  40351
Email: (under heavy construction)