Archive for December, 2012

This time last year I wrote about the unprecedented warm warm weather we were experiencing here in northwestern CT. This fall has been much more typical weather here at Cricket Hill Garden. To date, we have has several nights in the mid-to-low 20s as well as two days of snow. The ground remained workable and this has allowed us to finish up all of our fall planting. Below is a quick photo journal of some of our fall projects.

hoop house

Potted tree peonies tucked away for the winter in our hoop house. We got the plastic on just in time, it snowed the day after!


Even as much of the garden has settled into earthy tones of brown, this tree peony bed with a living mulch of Dutch white clover remains brilliantly green. We were very pleased with how this cover worked as a weed suppressant and plan on inter-planting it in more display garden beds next spring.

leaf mulch

This new tree peony bed has been mulched with 4 inches of leaves for the winter. In the very early spring, we will move it away from the base of the peonies.


Our preference of ‘leaving’ the leaves on a garden bed as much as possible enriches the soil, protects the plants, and also provides a favorable winter environment for these self-seeded giant red mustards. These turn fiery after the frost and make a healthy and powerful addition to stir fries.

seedling beds

These two newly planted raised beds are full of some of our own test tree peonies. Many of these young plants will bloom for the first time next spring. Needless to say, we are very excited to see what they look like.


If there are any old leaves lingering on your tree or herbaceous peonies, these should be cleaned up. We do not like to let these stay in the garden. Fungal spores can overwinter and colonize in the soil around the plant, potentially causing harm in the spring. We obviously still have some work to do before we retire for a few months of reading in front of the wood stove.

tp filed

Our newly rearranged and replanted production field.


We are very excited about this seemingly lifeless twig! It is one of eighty Chinese persimmons (Diospyros kaki) we were able to import this fall. Altogether we will be testing ten varieties of cold hardy persimmons which have intriguing names like “Ox Heart” and “Millstone.” These plants need to be grown under quarantine for two years and it may be longer still before we are able to properly evaluate their suitability to our region. In the future, we hope to make some of these varieties available for sale.

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