It’s time to celebrate autumn season

Published 9:00 am Sunday, October 11, 2015

A pumpkin added to the garden adds a special touch to the fall gardens. - Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

A pumpkin added to the garden adds a special touch to the fall gardens. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Finally — it is time to celebrate the season of autumn and all the wonderful colors, smells and tastes that go along with it. We ushered in fall on Sept. 23 with the days getting shorter and cooler temperatures, and it is time to start dragging out the sweaters. Autumn is such a beautiful season, but such a short one usually once we get that first frost. We also had a total lunar eclipse in September that was just awesome to watch. We start thinking about putting the gardens to bed once the month of October arrives, and for me it is usually a race against time and the onset of cooler weather. It takes several weeks to get everything cut down, containers washed out and garden ornaments moved to the shed. Once the month of October arrives I am on my crazy pace of beating the cold temperatures so that I don’t have to wear mittens while I am working in the gardens.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

This morning I cut down garden No. 1 and transplanted a white phlox from this garden to the bed that is along the north fence where hopefully it will brighten up this shadier spot. It will still have morning and early afternoon sun so it should do just fine there. Previously there was a lavender phlox in this spot, but it just blended in with the gray fence. I am hoping the white will give it more pizazz.

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Over the past week I have planted about 35 lily bulbs as well as three pink daylilies. I mulched the areas after watering them well. This is a task I needed to get out of the way before I started cutting down the gardens so that I can see just how big and the location other plants are in the areas where these bulbs needed to go. I can’t wait to see how much color these bulbs will add to the gardens next year.

I don’t have room in the house to over-winter any plants, so everything needs to go to the landfill Since we don’t have a trailer, it takes many trips to the landfill before this task is completed. So far I have only emptied out a few of the containers, but I have moved many of them closer to the house so that I can water them without dragging the big hose all over the yard. Once we get a killing frost the container plants will need to get tossed out and the containers washed out and dried. The month of October just seems to fly by, and I always worry about whether I will get everything done on time. At least I have been able to gather seeds over the past few weeks as the blooms dried out and the weather has been warm enough to keep the seed heads dry.

Last night as I was about to go out and bring in the dishes of kitty food that I put out for the feral kittens during the day, I was greeted by a large skunk just as I took my first step outside. I don’t know who scared who, but I dashed back in the house and the skunk made a hasty retreat. This morning I found that he had dug two holes under the fence since he couldn’t get into the backyard with the gate closed in the area where I had just planted bulbs. My first task this morning was to load up the water cart with bricks and block the area that he had been digging, so hopefully he won’t be able to get in under the fence. Always something interesting happening in my gardens.

There have been lots of birds at the feeders, and I love to see all the activity. Overhead the crows are calling each other while Canada geese can be seen flocking together in the V-formation. I witnessed a group of blackbirds who were challenging a hawk as to whose territory this was this afternoon with a lot of noise. The birds were flying at the hawk, trying to persuade him to find another territory.

Every day a few more trees are starting to show their bright colors while dry leaves are falling onto the streets and my lawn. Such a short time we have with all of this season, and I want to see every bit of the transformation from green to the fiery colors of autumn. Celebrate the season!

“In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October.” — Alexander Smith


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