Autumn Jubilee in the Garden

Autumn Jubilee (#AutumnJubilee2020) in the garden brings a few chores, more to ensure a beautiful spring than to spruce up for fall.  It is a great time to dig up and divide crowded plants, put some new bulbs in the ground, and clean up the last of the summer vegetable plants.  One warm day, I got out the tools and headed for the planter in the front.  It was crowded with irises that didn’t bloom this year.  I think the rhizomes were covered up too much with leaves.  They needed to be dug up and divided anyway.  In September, I showed the other iris bed that I dug up and gave all those to my neighbor.  Now, these iris plants will be moved to that first bed, clearing the brick planter for new plants next year.

I cleaned out some of the leaves, and lifted the first iris plant.  What came up was a bunch of them all hooked together.  The rhizomes had spread and multiplied.

There were also daffodils in that bed, and I dug them up too.

There were a lot more than I remember planting, some of them have grown as well.  I was only able to find two hyacinth bulbs.  I know I planted at least six, so either they rotted away, or the squirrels dug them up.

I moved all the plants over to the other bed, and began separating and dividing the irises.  The crocus and daffodil bulbs were put in the tray to keep them together.

This clump became 12 individual plants.  Divide them where they break naturally, or where there is a thin section connecting two thicker sections.  Each bit that has leaves can become a new plant, and even thick rhizomes without leaves will also grow into new plants.  Bury the roots, but leave the rhizome above ground, they need air and light to produce flowers.  From research in previous years, I found that the #1 reason irises don’t flower is that the rhizomes are covered up.

I spaced them around the bed, and filled in the areas between with the daffodils and crocus bulbs.  This will give me a succession of blooms in that bed, starting with the crocuses first, then the daffodils and then the irises.

When it was all done, I had a full bed three times the size of the one they came out of, and I still had more crocus and daffodil bulbs left over.  I put those in a pot and will transplant them later.

If you would like lovely spring color, now is the time to get those spring bloomer bulbs planted.  Daffodils, crocus and hyacinths all do well here, that is if the critters don’t dig them up for dinner first.  You can plant spring blooming bulbs whenever the weather cools down all the way up to the first frost of winter.  In general, plant the bulb twice as deep as the bulb is tall.  So a one-inch bulb should be planted 2-inches deep.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Reader Diane sent me this note last month that made me laugh – her husband says, “Instead of having friends over for turkey, we have turkeys over for friends”.  That is sure true around here too!  This small flock of 5 females came running when they saw me step onto the veranda.

I give them small bites of whole grain bread.  Two of them are not shy, the other three are more reserved and we have to get the tidbit close to them.  One turkey seems to be the dominant one, going after all the bites thrown, so we have to get her to one side so the others get their share.

The deer were back early one morning, three in this group.  They are just so beautiful.  They were standing rock still, and I was able to get a nice photo of them.

A few minutes later, they went back to grazing in the meadow.

Our Autumn season is underway, with the valley slowly turning colors.  The cold snap last weekend helped move things along.

Meanwhile, I know you want to see Oliver.  He got a squirrel size peanut butter sandwich on a chilly day.  Little beggar.

Patchy color is seen in the trees around our home, and I think we are a week or so away from it all being in glorious color.  I hope the leaves stay on the trees for a bit longer while they change to their fall colors.

On the veranda, it was the end of the season for the tomatoes. Growing them in pots this year was a huge success, as they got more sun in this position than they did in the flower bed. Next year, they will go in the brick planter where I just cleaned the iris plants out. The tomatoes were just about gone, so I picked the last green ones remaining and put them on the counter. Then I made a fine mess pulling up the plants, getting dirt everywhere. I cleaned all that up, and it was time for an adult beverage.

Over the next few days, one of the Cherokee purples was about ready to eat, plus several of the cherry tomatoes were nicely red. It will be a few more days for the light orange ones to deepen to a rich red, and another week or two for the rest to ripen. Not ideal, as staying on the vine in the sun is best, but better than throwing them away.

Those cherry tomatoes from my garden would do nicely in the cover recipe for today’s giveaway!  Returning sponsor Milk Street has a new cookbook called Cookish just published on October 15th. From the publisher “In Cookish, Christopher Kimball and his team of cooks and editors harness the most powerful cooking principles from around the world to create 200 of the simplest, most delicious recipes ever created. These recipes, most with six or fewer ingredients (other than oil, salt, and pepper), make it easy to be a great cook — the kind who can walk into a kitchen and throw together dinner in no time.”  Sign up for the Milk Street online community to see free videos and recipes to use those fresh ingredients from your garden.

Leave a comment on this post, then click on the Rafflecopter icon to enter the drawing.  US shipping only.


Do you like to try new recipes with fresh from the garden vegetables?

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57 thoughts on “Autumn Jubilee in the Garden

  1. Karen A

    We had a bumper crop of zucchini this year and I tried new recipes almost every day for 3 weeks! Still have green peppers that I am trying to use up.

    1. Gretchen Romanelli

      I need to divide the iris in my front planter. Thanks for the photos of how you did it. I have put in new daffodils for next year but the irises were cuttings from my mother who got them from my grandmother who got them from my great grandmother. Family heirlooms.
      I watch Milk Street when I can and love the simplicity and wholesomeness of the fresh ingredients. I took out my garden a month ago but am still eating the cherry and small size tomatoes that were picked green and are now ripe.
      Eggplants were terrific this year.

  2. I love seeing all the results of your gardening. Honestly, maybe tomorrow I will go chop down the trees and weeds in my little Victorian garden. I love to see the spring flowers pop their little heads up in March. I KNEW 2020 was goofy when my daffodils bloomed in February this year. Beautiful scenery

  3. Susan Bennett

    Hi Carole, Thanks for the great step by step on dividing Iris. We have some that need to be divided. Love all your helpful information.

  4. Julie

    What a nice garden plan for Spring 2021. Daffodils & Lily of the Valley are the only sure things in my garden. It’s fun to see where the pesky animals have replanted bulbs each year. Crocus pop up between pavers, a lone tulip appears in the middle of the grass. Walnut, oak, & hickory trees planted by my gang of Olivers survive better than trees we bought at the garden center. I trust my wildlife.

    1. Lady Sam

      Thanks for sharing the information about the irises. After reading it I went to my garden bed and dusted off the rhizomes recently planted.

  5. I enjoyed your blog today as I am just about to the end of my toms in the greenhouse too. But you do realise that you can make lovely green tomato chutney with the remaining ones? Try a Mary Berry or Delia Smith recipe, you will find them online.
    Good Luck

  6. Love the view of the mountains with the ridges and clouds and turning trees. We are well into colornow here in NH. So beautiful! The dish on the book cover looks good! Wish I had some good farm tomatoes to make it! Our lot is way too shady for vegetables after 37 years here, so have to rely on nearby farm stands.

  7. I wish I lived closer to receive some of those divided plants! lol. Our tulips have to be removed and winter chilled in order to have blooms next spring.

    If we had deer or turkeys in our yards I’m afraid my dogs would go crazy.

  8. Brenda @ Songbird Designs

    Always love seeing your local animals! I need to plant some daffodils. They are one of my favorite spring flowers. My glads need to be thinned, but I have neither the knees nor the back to do it right now…maybe one day! LOL

  9. The turkeys are such fun! We see them occasionally in the camp. But we’ve got a number of herds of deer that roam through our woods! I love them! Milk Street is one of my favorite cooking magazines/websites/shows. I’ve appreciated Christopher Kimball since he first started Cooks Illustrated. Thank you for such a great post! 🙂

  10. KJ

    What a great post. You sure are good to the local wildlife. I have my bulbs but cannot plant them until we move in mid-November. Here in southern BC that shouldn’t be a problem.

  11. Libby Ernst

    All our 2021 tulip bulbs are chilling in the back of the fridge! I have to remember not to cook them for a quick dinner – ha ha. Love the turkeys.

  12. Dian

    Winter is coming fast this year in the upper Midwest. Parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin has 6″ of snow on the ground today. Brrrr! Garlic has been planted here along with winter onions. Love seeing what you are up too-I also have a nice assortment of yet to ripen tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes ripen in just a few days and retain most of their flavor. Freezing temps have wiped out all but a few cole crops in the garden. We eat with the seasons and I’d like to have stored fresh garden produce until Thanksgiving but the winter seems to be here after a most glorious fall.

  13. ANN D

    I too look for recipes for my garden veggies. In my neighborhood squirrels are more of a pest. They always seem to find the ripe peach or tomato a day before I decide to pick. No way would I be feeding them.

  14. Nikki Moshier

    Karma sent this post my way today! Hubs had just dug up our irises to move. I would have totally planted them incorrectly without your suggestions. Thanks!

  15. You are the most industrious one! I love bulbs too and someday I’m going to plant them again 🙂 I’m at least learning to cook these days. Although we just got a second rescue, a golden as energetic as our current one. So mostly we’re walking dogs!

  16. Connie Jordan

    Always love your blog. I planted 3 tomato plants this year and have had the most abundant amount ever produced. Made tomato juice, tomato sauce, and lots of tomato soup. This was my first year making tomato soup but it is delicious! Thanks for the tip about not covering the iris, mine got covered with too much mulch so I will have to do something about that.

  17. I can’t wait to see how this bed looks in the spring. We had to move most of my iris partly because they just grow and crowd themselves too much, but also that bed has become very shady over the years. We will see in the spring how they do in the backyard.

  18. I love having a garden each year. Tomatoes, Green peppers and onions. Sometimes some other items – depends on what I find to plant. Thank you.

  19. Joy B

    Someone just gave me some yellow bearded iris, I need to be sure not to plant them too deeply. I also need to uncover some of mine that come up each year but don’t bloom much. I think they were planted more deeply than they should be. They are so beautiful when they bloom.

  20. Lisa England

    I don’t have a garden, but when I get fresh garden vegetables from others or from the farmer’s market I definitely like to try new recipes with them. And use them in favorite recipes I have tried in the past.

  21. Jocelyn

    I have had no success with my garden this year. I mostly planted in large pots, but apparently they were not happy.

  22. Susan

    I like to try new recipes, but I also like my tried and true ones. This year I grew watermelon, zucchini and Romaine lettuce.

  23. Jacomina de Regt

    my tomato plants still have lots of small green ones on them too.
    and I still get green beans.
    Those last fresh bits are so precious

  24. Melanie

    I am envious of your harvest! We have the same wildlife here and enjoy them so much. Oliver is a kick! We have a lovely neighbor who grows a nice garden and brings bags of “samples” to us. We are so fortunate and thank him profusely. His granddaughter also brought a rose bouquet for me last weekend; such a darling girl of 8. Roses are about done here, and we are expecting our first freeze tomorrow. Fall Jubilee! Bring it on. LOL

  25. Joan Sheppard

    If I lived by you I wouldn’t get any work done just looking out at the beauty and being entertained by the wild life! Thanks for the tips about the garden. We just cut down 7 trees and removed 20 feet of hedges and it looks pretty barren. Bulbs are an absolute must. Thanks

  26. Debbie Miller

    Wonderful tutorial on the care and planting of iris. Now I know what to do with all of the ones that have quit blooming at my house! I took all of my red and green end of season tomato crop with some cabbage and onions and made chow chow-my whole family loves it!

  27. Camille

    The growing season is over here in northern Wisconsin. Snow has arrived, multiple times. I am hoping for a few days of warmer weather to melt the snow and let us clean up the last of the leaves.

  28. Stacy Whitney

    Thank you for posting about the bulbs – I had no idea the iris rhizomes needed to be exposed! The Cookish cookbook sounds interesting for my college-age, in their first apartment kids.

  29. Sue Hoover

    So grateful to you for posting about the iris and how to get more blooms. I followed your instructions a few years ago and have been so rewarded. This year will be the “division year” again and I’ll be sharing with my neighbor!

  30. I did the great divide last year, and was happily surprised with quite a few flowers this year, but ai am hoping that next year is the real show! We have plunged into winter this week, it has snowed every day, warming up just enough to melt it off, but now we are in for some extreme cold (0 for a low tonight 😳 ) though it may warm up to 0 by late next week. I was hoping for another eek or two of seasonable fall weather. OLiver is such a mooch! 😆

  31. Mary D.

    I enjoy cooking with fresh veggies from my garden! I tend to use the same recipes over and over, so this cookbook would be great inspiration. I am having fun during this Autumn Jubilee, so many awesome ideas. Thank-you!

  32. I look forward to your Thursday posts each week. We have a small patio area, so I’m planning to put tomato plants in pots. We miss seeing wildlife here, but we have awesome skies and average 300 plus days of sunshine. .

  33. Mom C

    What a fun post. I did not know that about Iris. I was always concerned because I couldn’t keep what I thought were the roots of the iris underground. They are still one of the few plants I don’t kill. The animals at our cabin are much more skittish, I’m amazed at the pictures you are able to get. Thanks

  34. Joni

    We had our first frost last night, time to pull up my geraniums destined for the greenhouse and plant my tulip bulbs. I had a bed of over 1000 tulip bulbs, but our wild turkey ate every single one! The fish & wildlife re-homed them later that year. Now we have 2 toms hanging around, my cats stalk them, so funny to watch. This summer I tried a new recipe a week. I collected some new family favorites.

  35. Charlie Disante

    Just stumbled on to your posts I appreciate the variety of info included as I have recently moved to NC and really need local planting information.


    I am ready to plant my daffodils now. Here in northern Nevada, it was 80 during the weekend. Finally it is cold enough, right now it is 28 and 9 is forecast for Monday morning. My tomatoes are gone, with the green ones on my dryer.

  37. I have to say that your perspectives and points of knowledge you bring to fellow gardeners are great. Keep sharing more work like this.

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