93. Spotlight on Crepuscular Meadows: Matteo Chelone,
getting the grounds ready for Winter at Clematis Station
It wasn't yet time for heavy-duty winterizing work yet, but
Matteo Chelone wanted to space the work out so he wasn't swamped with it. Deadheading the seedbearing plants was one useful thing he could do, but he had already done that to the Coneflowers, Black-eyed Susans, and Shasta daisies.
He had cut back the foliage of the irises so the rotting leaves wouldn't harbor disease. Purists would have said that it was better to leave the seedheads on the plants through the winter so the birds could eat the seeds. Matteo was sympathetic to the birds, but he was paid for maintaining a nice appearance. Besides, many residents had birdfeeders.
He had kept the petunias reblooming by cutting them back when the stems got too long. The azaleas and peonies were
way past their green period. He had cut the peonies back to the top six inches of stem, so he'd know where they were they were next Spring.
The New England Asters had begun forming huge buds. The Montauk Daisies were starting buds, too.
He never bothered to grow Mums in the ground, but bought planters full of them to put out when the time was right. That time was just about now.
And last but not least, he needed a couple of big fat orange pumpkins for the front steps to the Station. Driving past the Anything Goes Church the other day, he had noticed their pumpkins, and asked where they got them.
So he called Guido Conti, and was assured that there were plenty of pumpkins to choose from.
So this morning, he swung round Prosperity Street, which was on the flank of Overlook Hill -- quite an out-of-the- way place, he said to himself as his truck climbed the steep grades. Also a strange place for a greenhouse, but Guido had intelligently terraced the land and was making it work. How he got water uphill, Matteo was not going to ask.
So twenty minutes later he pulled into the parking lot at Clematis Station and plopped the pumpkins on the front steps.
The residents took it for granted that Matteo would come up with nice little touches like this, and he didn't mind that at all.