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Fall a time to tend to this and that

November is a puttering-around-outside kind of month for me.

My big pot in which I layer tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus (in that order) has to be dumped and redone. Chances are, some of the bulbs didn't make it through the wet early summer and will have to be replaced. I'm late, of course. The most difficult thing about this activity is finding someone who will sell me only a handful of rye grass seed to plant over the top.

I'm still losing my battle with common chickweed, and the amazing stand of it I have in my raised beds will have to be heavily mulched. I did this last year - and the years before - so maybe I need to get more aggressive and pave over it or something. I would put out a pre-emerge weed killer, but that would keep the annual flowers in that bed from germinating next spring.

The compost pile has been neglected, and the contents are ready to be turned and spread. I top this compost with lime when I put it out because it contains a lot of coffee grounds and tea bags and must surely be more acid than is optimal. If I weren't so busy fighting chickweed, I would get the Georgia Extension Service to do a soil test on it for me, and then I could be a little more scientific about this. But...

The emptied compost bin will give me room for leaves mixed with grass clippings. Most of the year, I don't pick up grass clippings, but I make an exception in fall when I want some green matter to add to the leaves. The Halloween pumpkin will go in, too.

November is a good time for just walking about in the garden and assessing what worked and what didn't.

I know my espaliered pyracantha will need some judicious pruning in January, and the clethra has just got to be cut way back.

I may even decide to bury some brugmansia limbs where I want them to come up next year. My tall phlox are too tall and would serve the bed they're in better if they were moved to the back.

Thankfully, my container plants have already been moved out of harm's way for the winter, and I hope that left me energy enough to deal with the daylilies that have multiplied more than I wanted. I should never have fertilized them.

Now if I can just get some sunny days above freezing.

Winder resident Dora Fleming is a Georgia master gardener. E-mail her at dfleming1@earthlink.net.