Autumn brings the last hurrah for gardens with warm colors before winter

Published 9:00 am Sunday, September 21, 2014

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Autumn in the gardens is really the last hurrah before winter comes and we have a barren landscape until Mother Nature paints it white. This has been a favorite time of the year for me as I love the colors of fall that are present in everything around us. We used to always take fall vacations out West and I loved watching the landscape change before my very eyes. The aspens would be golden and the sound of them rustling with the wind brought me such utter peace as we traveled throughout the West. Fields of wheat swaying with the breeze looked like gold and seeing the farmers and ranchers working in them reminded me of what this land must have looked like 100 or more years ago when my great-grandparents tilled their farm in southeast Minnesota. How they must have loved the land they farmed after arriving as immigrants in America.

Enjoying autumn in the gardens. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Enjoying autumn in the gardens. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Sitting in the gardens in fall and watching the stars flicker is one of my favorite pastimes and it makes me realize just how small our Earth really is in this world he created. I love how the crisp air just seems to make the skies so clear and everything sparkles brighter. Memories flood through my mind of days gone by when I was a child and we would rake leaves into rooms and play house, or when my granddaughter was little and she would beg me to rake a tall pile of leaves so she could jump in them. Visits to the pumpkin patch, gathering just the right pumpkins to carve scary faces on or the best one for sitting on the front step to greet the kids as they ran from house to house on Halloween seeking treats; these are the memories that will always be with me.

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The other day I finally brought out my small box of decorations that I use in the garden along with wreaths of bright orange and gold, but haven’t purchased any pumpkins yet. The gardens are slowly fading away so these colorful decorations brighten up the spaces. A few colorful decorations adorn the inside of the house as well, bringing some of the fall season’s colors for me to enjoy. Trips to the apple orchards are always a highlight of the fall season and warm apple cider brewing fills the kitchen with the smell of cinnamon.

Our new puppy, Roosevelt, will be discovering all the things in the gardens as we will spend time together outdoors this fall getting the gardens ready for winter. As the weather turns colder and the flowers die back I will start to gather seeds for next year’s gardens. Although this gardening season faced many challenges and was rather short, the gardens really performed much better than anticipated. It is difficult for me to pick favorites because each and every flower is loved equally. As the seasons change so do the gardens. Roosevelt will have lots of fun getting lost among the flowers and I will love watching him as he explores his new home.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

Our little free library has been busy all summer with children visiting almost daily and it has been wonderful meeting them and learning what books they like to read. We have tried our best to accommodate their requests, but we really need more chapter books, so if any of you have some you would like to share with us please drop them off at Serendipity Gardens, 806 Lincoln Ave. Now that school is back in session I expect the visits to the library to slow down.  Thank you for all the wonderful comments from not only the children, but also the parents. The small town of Hollandale also has a little free library that is maintained by the Loverink family, but we would love to see more of them around Albert Lea.

So enjoy the cooler weather and the colors of fall, and the last of the flowers blooming in the gardens as winter is just around the corner.

“Autumn, I grant, knows the art of gardening to perfection, possessing the secret of careless grace even beyond spring.” — Alfred Austin


Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at