The Garden Plot

Ray Baird

Enjoying calm and splendor of November – Even though Black Friday and the beginning of the Christmas rush is two weeks away, don’t be hindered from enjoying these weeks of calm before the hustle and bustle of holidays arrive. Prepare your hearts and minds for the season of Thanksgiving and the blessings you have experienced this past year. Just keep in mind what King Solomon said, “A merry heart is a good medicine.”

November is a time of brown, gray, blue, tan, and hints of green – The splendor of November rides on the wings of a Carolina blue sky adorned with marshmallow, white clouds. The autumn sun moves in and out of the clouds and highlights the dark gray trunks of trees losing their harvest leaves and bearing their trunks and limbs. Their brown and gold leaves have provided a blanket on the forest floor. Only mighty oaks have retained their leaves and next month’s snows will bring them down, but for now their brown color adds to the late autumn landscape. Even though much green has vanished, nature provides plenty of greenery that stands out amongst the browns, tans, and grays in the form of cedars, pines and honeysuckle vines. Life is still very much evident in the transition of autumn to winter.

The Christmas cactus: an investment for years of beauty in color – November is the month to purchase a Christmas cactus or two for years of growth and enjoyment with very little effort. The cactus can be purchased in full bloom at Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes and many nurseries. When you buy one now you will know the color because you can see their blooms of red, white, pink, or light orange. They cost from eight to $10 depending on their size. Go ahead and buy a larger container and a bag of cactus potting medium and transplant it as soon as you bring it home because it is probably already outgrowing the container it is in. When transplanted, the plant will thrive and grow for many years. We saw one a while back growing in a washtub with holes in the bottom. It was the size of a huge umbrella!

Enjoying a Cheerwine pie for the holidays – A Cheerwine pie is unusual because Cheerwine is an unusual and flavorful soft drink. A pie made of Cheerwine will certainly bring fun to the dinner table. This is isn’t easy paramedic. Here are the ingredients: 2 eight ounce packs of cream cheese, 2 12 oz. cans of Cheerwine (regular or diet), one envelope of unflavored gelatin, one Graham cracker crust, one 15 oz. can of black cherries in syrup (drained), 2 tbsp corn starch.

Step one: Pour one can of Cheerwine into a small sauce pan. Sprinkle in unflavored gelatin to the Cheerwine and stir. Heat and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Set aside until fully cooled.

Step two: Cream together cream cheese and half a cup of sugar. Stir in cooled Cheerwine gelatin mixture.

Step three: Blend thoroughly and place in refrigerator until it begins to thicken.

Step four: Pour thickened mixture into the graham cracker crust and allow to chill for several hours.

Step five: Combine the remaining half cup of sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add the remaining can of Cheerwine and heat mixture until it thickens and becomes translucent. Add the drained cherries. Set aside to cool. Serve at room temperature after spreading cherry mixture on top of the pot. Covered cherries with a dollop of whipped cream, Cool Whip or dream whip.

The colorful pansies of cool November – Pansies thrive in the cold temperatures of November and add color to the porch and deck. Their dark green foliage attracts depth to their colors. Keep them watered, but don’t overdo it because you don’t want to promote freezing. With cooler temperatures, a little water goes along way. Even in mid-November many hardware’s, Lowe’s, Home Depot’s and nurseries still have plenty of pansies and they can still be planted and last until spring.

Plenty of “Dark Thirty” November – Since daylight savings time ended earlier in the month, darkness comes swiftly and it’s hard to get used to it. It will continue to get even darker by a minute per evening until Thursday, December 21, 2017 which is the first day of winter, and that will be the longest night of the year (unless you count Christmas Eve!)

The Christmas cactus ready to bloom – After being moved inside last month, the Christmas cactus is showing signs of reaching full bloom by Thanksgiving. The hot pink ones are the prettiest and will bloom for several weeks. You can buy them now at Walmart.

Ray Baird