One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

A Weekend In November

fading-garden-boxWith November already half-way gone, it’s no surprised that my windowbox of annuals hastily transplanted from the Harwich garden back in September is finally fading.  During this coming week, I want to transplant the white snapdragon that’s still doing so well down into the fence garden, where it is more likely to survive the winter. 

I’m quite proud of the  bachelor’s buttons, which are still growing so strong and tall and blooming regularly.   They have lifted my spirits especially during this past summer season and have entertained and soothed me in any variety of ways, so its sweet to see that they are still going strong.   Perhaps we’ll even see flowers from some of these plants cast-off seeds.

But meanwhile, the flowers here are mostly passed and so it was necessary to go further afield to find some pretty blooms to offer for you this November weekend.  But not really that far.


As I was driving past Town Cove the other day, I noticed that a crew of workers were removing the wind paddles from the windmill on the bank of the cove…and I’d also noticed that there were some gardens nearby which will still blooming.  So yesterday morning, while out on assorted errands, I stopped by for a walk around.

The weather here was sort of cruddy…although not really unexpected, considering it was a rare Saturday off for me.  There was rain sporadically throughout the day, though notably, we had temperatures well into the 60s, which felt a little more springlike that spring usually feels.   It was pretty nice, even in the rain.


This is the Jonathan Young windmill.   The historic marker sign seen in the lower left of this picture reads,

Built circa 1720 in South Orleans, later moved to the center of town, it was moved to Hyannisport in 1897.  In 1983, the structure was giving to the Orleans Historical Society by the Groves Family.  The Society then donated it to the town.  Dismantled and returned to Orleans, the structure was meticulously restored by volunteer labor, donations by local businesses and public contributions.”

It’s a popular spot for weddings and wedding group photos and I’m sure moreso on that perfect sunny Cape Cod day.  But really, look how dramatic the other weather can be, visually-speaking.   Even though these hydrangea blossoms are seriously fading, they still bring a bright spot of color to the landscape.

wild-mustardDown the slope, closer to the cove shore, the simple yellow flowers of wild mustard bloom in profusion, thinking it’s spring, thriving in the high salt content of the soil.

Not far away, some brilliant red foliage and matching berrylike rosehips mark the sight of some summer-blooming roses.

Near the parking area, hedges of roses continue to bloom.  A garden around the sign for the nearby Orleans Inn boasts an eager planting of purple-blue cranesbill merrily oblivious to the approaching winter.


echinaceaHere’s one of those occasions when it’s a challenge to get the color of a flower in a photograph to match what your mind remembers seeing.  To my eye, these were much more of a purple.   If you look in the background, you can see some faded blossoms that matched the color I saw.

Surely the blossoms of echinacea which came and went earlier in the season were more showy and perfect than this raggedy late season offering.   But I still love the way the colors pop on such a gray day and there’s a sort of shabby-chic quality to the petals, at that.   No doubt the weather conditions played havoc with my getting the cranesbill colors captured just right.



rain-outsideThe rain really was a blessing of sorts.   Not only is it something we can easily welcome this dry autumn, but also, it sent me home to stay inside and face some housework type things that needed attending.  Otherwise I’d have found some thin excuse – with these nice temperatures – to go hiking off into some wilderness or other, camera in hand.

So instead, I swept and scrubbed and washed and dusted and in some twisted and unexpected way, I sort of enjoyed it.   Don’t get me wrong:  a catbox by any other name is still a catbox…and dusty moldings will ever be just that.  But maybe it’s the idea of settling into some routine or other, having control over one’s environment…something like that.    And of course, these routines chores are sometimes just something to do with your hands while your mind works through other things.   I invariably find something or other to make myself laugh, though and end up wondering if the Downstairses can hear me cackling aloud through the floor and think I’m mad.    

And even if I am…nice day for it.

new-computer-with-heroesAnd, too, it would be wrong for me to give you the impression that it was a drudgery-filled day off for me.   In between all the cleaning and cackling, I also managed to enjoy some online back episodes of HEROES, as I re-watched some of the season’s earlier episodes.   I was a little distracted when they first aired, and they are making more sense now with a second viewing.

I also managed to sort through and reorganize some clothes closets, as I pulled together an ersatz cowboy costume for a costume birthday party to which I’d been invited last night.



It was the occasion of my friend Marillia’s significant birthday that starts with F.  It was, as I mentioned, a costume party, and I thought, a great chance to make up for having let Halloween slip up on me unawares last month.  It was also a hell of a lot of fun.

party-crowd-2That’s Marillia in the center of the photo to the left (in between me and the Prisoner), in a sort of spider-webby Lady Midnight outfit.   There were two Barack Obamas, two Elvises (is that Elvii??), three cowboys, a hippy, Catwoman, a Boston Red Sox player, a geisha girl, the afore-mentioned prisoner and a few miscellaneous stripper/prostitutes(for lack of a better category heading, because technically, doesn’t the geisha fit within this category?). 

Marillia’s girl, Sandra (she’s the Barack Obama pictured above), had her IPOD set-up and totally rocked the tunes for the evening.  I’m such a rube about the whole IPOD technology thing.   I still have compact discs and have not yet graduated to this next level…so that fact that something so tiny could hold 4,000 of the greatest songs is sort of like magic to me.    Anyway, we danced up a storm in the kitchen to some of the 70s and 80s best music…and as they say, a good time was had by all.

reflectionsToday saw the warm temperatures of the weekend continuing, although the winds seemed to freshen and it had grown much colder by this evening, well, into the lower forties, anyway.  But the wind seems to have the  windchimes in perpetual jangling mode.

The warm ocean temps that surround us often allow us to play these games in the fall.  The teasingly-warm days, the flowers that seem to just bloom on and on forever, the sunny skies, the cold nights.   Lots of years, I’ve been able to hang Christmas lights without a jacket.  

My goodness, that’s where the weather plays tricks with us.   The weather is so nice, so late summery, that preparing for those fast-approaching holidays doesn’t seem a pressing concern at all, until you are suddenly dashing around in December’s rare free moments.   I don’t know how people in Florida and Hawaii get themselves motivated about Christmas.  I almost always need to see a little snow to start thinking of it the right way.    (Calm down, everyone…I’m not WISHING for anything.  I’m just saying, I might take too many cues from seasonal weather conditions.   Hey, I think I’ve  just gotten Global Warming to write a note excusing my last minute shopping sprees.)

I will be giving some thought to a cookie baking plan for this year.  I didn’t really get to make any last year and would like to get back to that tradition sooner rather than later.  I think I’ll still keep things on the simple side–perhaps there won’t be the massive frosting of cookies effort, but you never can tell what I’ll get motivated to do, either.   That Bing Crosby can work some strange magic when he starts crooning in my ear.



Comments on: "A Weekend In November" (7)

  1. I love the costumes!!

  2. I love the idea of a costume slash birthday party. So unconventional! Love the trees on sky shot.

    It really was a fun idea, and I was happy to have a second chance at Halloween-ing…

  3. Costumes always loosen people up. I miss those days when we were kids and did it all the time. Cute cowboy!

  4. You make a good looking cowboy, Hoss.
    I’m amazed at how many flowers you found to photograph. There for a minute I thought the cranesbill was a morning glory.

    The food network has a cookie-recipe-a-day for 12 days beginning in December. I think you can sign up for the e-newsletter. Check out the site and see what you can find.

    That windmill is pretty! Why in the name of all this is lazy did the people of Cape Cod keep moving the damned thing around? And here it ends up pretty much where it started. Oh, well. I think it looks dandy with the storm clouds in the sky.

    I was pretty well impressed with all the flowers I found, but then again, we really haven’t had anything more than a brush with frost so far this season. And I didn’t even get good photos of the roses I found blooming there!

    I’m sure its an interesting tale of why the windmill’s been all over hither and yon, but it certainly seems right that its back here in Orleans, just north of where it started life to begin with!

    I’m not sure I’ll be considering new cookie recipes in this year as I hope to simplify the often-over-blown holiday baking plan, but I thank you for the tip just the same…and I’ll check it out: you just never know when it comes to cookies!

  5. It’s always amazing to see how long into winter flowers will continue to hang in there. I have roses and some snapdragons determined to keep going.

    The costumes were hysterical. Love the cowboy outfit– you kinda look like you belong in Toy Story! :)

    The flowers are always amazing. I’ve had snaps bloom through snow here on Christmas Day.

    As for the costumes, heh heh, who doesn’t love a gay cowboy named Woody? ; )

  6. I still have Petunias growing in the boxes I have left, I did not have to remove all the flower boxes. Even though the plants have been frozen a few times now, they still grow, only not as many flowers on them now however and they are really small.

    Ha! I think every second gay person was a cowboy this year, including Dave and I!

    I’m glad to hear you didn’t completely clear off your balcony so quickly after the recent controversy. And I’m not at all surprised to hear that your petunias are still lingering.

    The cowboy was probably the easiest costume to put together from my closets: boots, jeans, flannel shirt, bandanna, hat…okay, I had to go to the car for the coil of rope. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t have a fake sheriff’s badge, though.

  7. Your new camera does you a great job in providing good detail of what you capture. The photo of the purple-bill cranesbill has a real nice glowing color and the dew adds a nice touch. Great looking cowboy in that photo and glad you guys had a fun time! :-)

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