While planting certainly slows down at this time of year there's always one last reason to do a bit of digging before the ground freezes: plant spring-flowering bulbs. The best window of time to plant up your bulbs is from around November 1st through December 31st. You want to the weather to be consistently chilly (at least overnights), but also want them in the ground before it freezes.
Here are some of my favorite online places to purchase bulbs:
Most spring-flowering bulbs evolved in regions with cold climates and require an extended period of exposure to cold temps (i.e., winter) in order to stimulate spring growth. In fact, folks in warmer climates (e.g., zone 9-10) must give bulbs a cold treatment by placing them in a refrigerator for 12-16 as a sort of simulated winter to prompt them to bloom.
I am taking my time to properly plan out the gardens at Winterhill, but still gave myself permission to plant a "starter" assortment of bulbs in the already-established front entry beds. A classic mix of purple, white and yellow crocus, narcissus "Thalia" (a personal favorite), and tulip "Princess Irene" are what I've opted for to give some early-spring color next year.
Per usual, I've used the hand-thrown technique of laying out the bulbs in order to give a more naturalistic look. In case you're unfamiliar with it, you grab a handful of bulbs and gently toss them in the general area you'd like them to sprout. This creates unique swathes and pops of color rather than overly tidy rows that tend to look too agricultural.
I can't wait to see these beauties come springtime and also to find out what else might be hiding beneath the soil that I don't yet know about. Time will also tell if the deer will feel bold enough to come and munch on things this close to the house – fingers crossed they stay satiated enough down in the meadow!