Reflecting on good times as new year nears

Published 11:09 am Friday, November 27, 2015

One of the roses in Lang’s gardens still blooms in early November. - Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

One of the roses in Lang’s gardens still blooms in early November. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

This morning is a rather gloomy day with light mist, but the temperature is still in the 50s. As I walk the gardens the clematis are still very green as they climb up their supports. The weather forecast is for much cooler temperatures in a couple of days and the “s” word is also being mentioned. This time of the year every day without snow is a bonus, as we all know what a long winter we usually are blessed with.

We managed to get all of our project list finished about a week ago. We finally disconnected the hoses and put them away since the rains we have received are taking care of the moisture the gardens will need for the winter months. It has been a beautiful fall and one that has given me time to really enjoy the season for a change. Quite often it seems like I am in a race to get everything done before the cold and snowy weather arrives, and I miss out on all of the beauty that abounds in the gardens.

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It was a wonderful year with so many visitors I enjoyed meeting and discussing the gardens with. Soon the snow will cover everything, giving me something else to take time and think about. Finally I am getting a chance to read all of those gardening magazines and even a few seed catalogs have already arrived giving me a peek at what is new for next year.

The roses were still blooming until just a week ago when I topped them off and then piled mulch around the base of them. It has been fun watching the three amber flower carpet roses as they grew and bloomed. While they were the last roses blooming, I was able to get some great photos taken of them late in the season. They performed so well for me and because they are a smaller rose fit nicely into the small gardens that I have, adding color for a long period of time.  My daughter grows this variety in raised beds; however, her roses are a lovely red color and the only thing she does for them is early in the spring add a bit of fertilizer and Epsom salt. Then in the fall they cut them down and pile bags of leaves on the beds for winter protection. If you want an easy-care rose, I would recommend this rose that comes in about 10 colors.

Over the weekend we babysat our granddog, a golden doodle named Sage. He and Roosevelt had so much fun chasing each other around the oval garden until I saw just how dirty they were getting. Then they were banished to crates to dry off and wait for the sun to dry the gardens and grass. Now I am wondering what it will be like with these two rascals next spring when the gardens are very muddy? They had fun, and I love watching the two of them interact with each other although Roosevelt doesn’t quite know how to react to this little guy, who will steal two of his toys at a time and then run with them.

This quote by George Eliot reminded me that already we have had to add hours to the timers on the lights, “The days were longer then … and the clocked ticked slowly in the winter evenings.” Already I have enjoyed a cup or two of hot chocolate with marshmallows on a couple of cooler days. So far I haven’t had any cider yet, but those days will be coming as the weather gets colder. Any time I have hot chocolate, I think about the many times I have shared a cup with my granddaughter as she was growing up and would come inside after playing in the snow with cheeks all rosy and very wet mittens and socks.

If you are like me, the weather affects your joints, and it seems that I need a nice warm sweater or flannel shirt to warm me as we adjust to the changes of cooler temperatures. My favorite thing to do on a snowy day is to sit by the sliding glass doors and watch the birds at the feeders. Although as I get older winter is not my favorite season, I do enjoy a good snowstorm as long as I know all of my family are safe at home.

“Nature is full of genius, full of divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.” — Henry David Thoreau 


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