It’s finally fall here at Halcyon and we’ve already had our first frost. In fact, it was more than two weeks ago! As the season changes, we look at what needs to be done to get ready for when the days draw in and winter comes on with a vengeance. If it’s anything like last winter, we need to be well prepared.
In the gardens. We are lucky enough to have a greenhouse, so we bring all of our huge citrus trees, gardenias and other fragile plants inside where they can over-winter. And we always pull up all of the dead plants – you really don’t want your garden looking like a plant graveyard all winter, do you?
If you have tubers, like the dahlias we have by the hundreds, you can pull them up and over-winter them in your basement or another cool area. Here are some great tips on how to do this.
If you have plants in ceramic or terracotta pots, pull the dead or dying plants out and dispose of them, either in a compost heap or in the trash. Wash the pots and bring them out of the elements. If you leave them outside, water gets into the clay of the pots and expands when it freezes, shattering the pots. We have some gorgeous hand-thrown Guy Wolff pots, and would hate to have them shatter.
In the closets. One would hope that you stored all of your wonderful cashmere and woolen garments correctly last spring and the moths haven’t chewed them to bits over the summer! Now, it’s time to get those babies out of storage and give them a good airing.
You don’t want to go around wafting eau de granny from the mothballs, so either lay your garments out in the sun on a windy day for a few hours, or give them a spin in the dryer on the air-dry setting. Don’t use a fabric softener, as it coats the fibers, which you don’t want to do.
If you want to re-wash sweaters after they’ve been in storage all summer, The Laundress has a great selection of cashmere and wool washes and sprays that work brilliantly. Here are some of their tips for seasonal storage for your summer items.
Pack away all of those gorgeous linens, silks and light cottons. Clean or wash them before you pack them away, because even if you think they’re clean, they might have a spot that’s faded on the clothes and in your memory. You might be tempted to pack them in a big old plastic bin, but please resist. You can find great looking storage systems at Bed, Bath & Beyond, The Container Store and even Ikea. Dryness is the key to long-term storage! The Laundress has some elegant storage ideas, too.
In the Kitchen. Sad as it is, this is the time to finish up the Southside mix, the bottle of Pimms, and the G&T’s with lime. It’s on to more hearty drinks, and food that will warm you.
Change over your bar to more cold-weather spirits like whiskey, bourbon and rye. After raking leaves, nothing will warm you up like some hot apple cider and a big splash of bourbon! Sitting in front of a roaring fire with a great single malt Scotch is a perfect way to spend an evening with friends. A seasonal beer for watching the Ravens play is ideal.
Fall is the perfect time to spend a weekend afternoon in the kitchen working up a complicated dish like Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon from The French Chef. There are several sub-recipes in this dish, so you’ll need at least six hours to accomplish it.
Invite some friends over and serve the Boeuf Bourguignon with some robust red wines, crisp French bread and a tarte tatin for dessert. If you are ambitious, you will have picked your own apples for this… we do!
This should keep us busy for the next few weekends!