There is nothing that gives me more outright garden fun than giving this little lady seasonal hats. Here's her latest. She's on the bathroom vanity along with a lacy maidenhair fern. Both the Coleus and the Heuchera leaves have rooted, so — with a little luck — she can wear a green hat all winter.
For the last month we've taken advantage of dry weather to gather all the fallen leaves from our trees in order to chop them up to be used as mulch next Spring. We've got 18 big contactor's bags filled with them, along with two bags of white pine needles that our neighbor helped me to rake up in his yard. They will be used to refresh the pine needle paths in the Sacred Grove come Spring. It's like having a pantry filled with home canned foods that you put upn yourself. But the garden — and not the gardeners — will be getting fed as a result of our efforts.
The east side of our house is currently the junk/storage area. As you can see our neighbor uses the adjacent spot for the same purpose. One of these years this will be turned into more garden — as soon as we can figure out how to make it a workspace that is as attractive as it is practical!
. . . and that look good until the snow arrives is another way of describing Hart's Tongue ferns. I grow two versions of this fern. The top image shows the straight species (Asplenium scolopendrium) while the lower picture is the ruffled version (A. scolopendrium Angustifolium). The increased ruffling on the later plant is quite obvious.
My garden has any number of ferns that look good until they get buried by the first snowfall. And then there are Hellebores, Epimediums, Hepaticas and Arum italicum — plants that arrive early, stay late, and always look good. I never thought too much about them in terms of their evergreen qualities. Living in Wisconsin, you get used to thinking that nothing is evergreen except for conifers and boxwoods and the like.
But I suddenly made that evergreen connection with my ferns and assorted hardy perennials as I was reading Carolyn's Shade Gardens blog. She'd been doing a series of posts on flowers, groundcovers and Hostas that look good in fall, proving you can have a beautiful garden at this season without mums! She really made me really think about my fall garden. I actually went out and looked at which Hostas were still looking good late in the season and which ones should be replaced by a more serviceable variety. And I noted her many versions of the Italian Arum. Mine is doing well, but is in the back corner of the garden while Carolyn planted hers by her front door. So I need to see if there's a spot for one of these beauties where I can enjoy it at this time of year without trekking out to the back forty! Check out her blog for some great fall plants, along with excellent gardening info.
At some point during last winter's protests, I began carrying a big yellow, hand-made sign urging people to vote for Kloppenburg in the state Supreme Court election. I thought it might help some marchers to see what the next step in this process should be. And indeed, by the last big rally in mid-March many people were carrying Kloppenburg signs.
This time I wanted to do someting different: I wanted to carry a sign that related to events in Wisconsin in a more personal way. So I decided to tell my story on my poster. It took a lot of words but I got my point across to other Wisconsinites at Saturday's Recall Rally.
In fact, dozens of folks stopped me to ask if they could take a picture — just as we had done with hundreds of other folks carrying signs last winter. I have to be honest and say that I did enjoy my short moment of stardom.
As we were all marching around the Square at the end of the rally, we realized there was a group of 50 to 75 pro-Walker protesters on the sidewalk by The Old-Fashioned restaurant. It was an interesting and odd moment because they looked like us, meaning they were clearly Wisconsin residents and not folks bussed in from elsewhere. They were doing the same thing we were: marching around the Square carrying all kinds of signs, most hand made, in support of their beliefs.
Folks in support of the recall were loudly chanting "re-call Walk-er" which eventually changed to "This is what democracy looks like." And, of couse, this is exactly what democracy looks like: groups of citizens exercizing their First Amendment rights in a loud and messy way. I give the Walker supporters a lot of credit for having the gumption to show up at an event knowing they would be outnumbered by the thousands.
But a couple of things were noticeably different between the people on the two sides of this issue: A great many of the pro-Walker supporters were frowning and looked angry. Only a small number seemed to be having as much fun as we'd been having all afternoon.
Mark and I left the street and walked over to the curb. I was still holding my sign and he was taking pictures as he'd been doing all afternoon. I don't know if they felt threatened by the camera or what, but they had no qualms about yelling at us.
One man told me — in response to my sign — "That's the way unions used to be" and walked on before I could respond. A minute later a man jumped in front of Mark and started screaming at him: "I'm a Vietnam vet and Walker is the best governor we've ever had. Deal with it." I wanted to reply, "My husband was drafted in 1968 and served two years as a Conscientous Objector. Deal with it." Probably just as well that he was gone before I could get my mouth open.
The pro-Walker people continued around the Square marching down Mifflin Street side and onto upper State St. where, after some apparent confusion, they went down and then back up the 100 block. Most anti-Walker protesters were standing open-mouthed as they watched the other side. But by the time they got to State St. much of the crowd on our side was shouting the now familiar epithet, "Shame."
We followed, me with my sign and Mark with his camera still snapping photos. At this point a woman my age yelled at me so vociferioulsy that I couldn't even make out what she was saying. And then two guys at the tag end of the Walker group looked at my sign and turned to each other and laughed.
I guess that is the issue that so many of us have with Governor Walker and the policies of the Republicans in Wisconsin and elsewhere: what is so funny about having to go to work as a child and growing up wanting something better for your family? After all, it is unions that gave us the weekend which made it possible for both groups of Wisconsinites to come to the Capitol on Saturday.
A lovely Wisconsin day! The morning began with friends at our favorite coffee shop (where I gathered eight more recall signatures) and ended with a beer and sausage tasting at a neighbor's (where all of us had signed or were attending an upcoming recall petition-signing party). In between those two events we socialized with about 30,000 Wisconsin comrades at the recall rally on Madison's Capitol Square.
The rally was an event that has become very familiar to citizens in Wisconsin over the last nine months and featured everything we were anticipating — like off-duty police and firefighters leading the march up State Street . . .
Many familiar faces: friends, folks we've met at other political events, and movers and shakers like Hizzoner da Mayor. Don't let his cranky look concern you; that's classic Soglin and how we know it's really him . . .
the ubiquitous red heart-shaped balloons . . .
there was music by the Forward Marching Band . . .
and singing of a rousing version of "Solidarity Forever!" led by the members of the Solidary Sing Along, an inspiring vocal get-together that takes place daily in the Capitol Rotunda . . .
there were dogs in abundance . . .
and Wisconsinites from the oldsters . . .
to the youngsters . . .
There were also lots of well-dressed teens up at the Capitol for a big debating event. This group was from the Chicago suburbs and getting another kind of education . . .
and, of course, all the wonderful faces, families, costumes, and signs that we've come to expect and appreciate so much that we have to share them . . .
Deer hunting season brought out the blaze orange garb and hunting tags used to hold recall messages . . .
this gentleman has been a life-long school teacher . . .
This young woman is raising her recall petition high so anyone in the crowd wanting to sign can find her. I haven't heard how many signatures were collected at the rally but 105,000 signatures have been gathered statewide in the first four days . . .
This person's blue Wisconsin sign is covered with signatures on the back; everyone from our local member of Congress, Tammy Baldwin, to "the pizza guy" . . .
The crowd was estimated at about 30,000. We stayed on the concrete to help the lawn around the Capitol recover from the protests last winter . . .
We met these guys with the mamoth sign coming up State St. as everything was coming to an end and we were leaving. Don't know if they were late to the party or what . . .
Despite all the things that were familiar, there were a couple of things that were different about this rally compared to all the other ones we've been to. Stay tuned for details.
I cut the last of the toad lilies and assorted foliage on Nov. 2 to enjoy indoors. By the end of the first week, some of the ferns and other plants were dying. So I did a little rearranging and added some dried Hydrangeas to perk things up. But the backbone plants of the garden — Hellebores, Heucheras, native Pachysandra, NY ferns and an Araum Italicum — have been indoors in water for a little over two weeks and are still going strong. One more reason to celebrate foliage!
The reds have had their moment but the yellows continue to shine in the November garden: golden Hakonechloa grass, Kerria Japonica 'Pale Moon', Epimedium grandiflorum 'Red Queen' and our neighbor's maple leaves that fall into our garden (along with leaves from our Oak and a Redbud).
The official start date to collect the signatures needed to recall Gov. Scott Walker occured at 12:01 a.m. today, Nov. 15, 2011. I just returned from picking up petitions at the west side field office. The parking lot was full and cars lined both sides of the street as I pulled up. There was a line of folks of all ages snaking down the hallway; everyone ready to go out tomorrow and get signatures. The atmosphere was festive and serious at the same time — kind of like the protests last winter. We're making history all over Wisconsin tonight!
I've been through the training on how to properly collect signatures and will be out and about doing that this morning as soon as it's light. If you are worried about GOP dirty tricks, go to one of the many recall field offices around the state to sign a petition. And remember, you must sign an actual paper petition; this cannot be done online.
To all my Madison friends, give me a call if you want to sign a petition and don't know where to find one. We'll set up a time and place to do the deed.
For information on recall events, check out this ONLINE CALENDAR. (Don't worry if a world map pops up first; just wait a sec and the Wisconsin map will appear).
If you live in Dane County you can find NEIGHBORHOOD TEAM LEADERS here. You can join them or just find out where to sign a petition in your neighborhood.
And then there is the RECALL RALLYat the Capitol in Madison on Saturday, Nov. 19 beginning at 11 a.m. You'll get a positive jolt of energy and solidarity and be able to sign the petition all at the same time.
Recall Walker Kick Off Rally Saturday, November 19 · 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Capitol Building, State Street Corner
Events kick off with a flash mob at 11 a.m., rally at 1 p.m. Please bring nonperishable food items for the "CAN Walker" food drive benefiting area food pantries. Shuttle buses will be running to and from the Alliant Center, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (cost is $6 to park there).
Who would have believed that nine months after we first went to the Capitol we would all still be fighting, working, organizing and converging on the Square again wearing our winter coats! My boots are still covered in mud from the Welcome the 14 Back Home rally last March. But I'm cleaning them off to hit the streets again.