Serendipity Gardens: As fall settles in, outdoor gardening comes to end

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

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

Who would have thought we would get an accumulating snow before the middle of October? It sure took this gardener by surprise, as I still had not cut down the perennials in the gardens yet and the topper was still on the gazebo. Luckily, the day before the snow arrived, I had worked outside the entire day, cutting down the annuals in the pollinator garden and getting the rest of the containers emptied. The ceramic containers were still sitting out uncovered, but a couple of days after the snow melted those got taken care of.

Carol Hegel Lang

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This time of year is always bittersweet for me, as I know that winter is just around the corner. I want to enjoy the beauty of the colors around us without knowing that it won’t be long and the landscape will be a barren brown until the snow arrives and stays. Each year as I get older, it takes me longer to get the chores done, leaving me little time to just sit outside and enjoy the peacefulness and the colors. The evening skies are usually clear and filled with stars to be awed by, yet so far I have not had a chance to sit under the gazebo and gaze at them.

My last task for the season is to get some lily bulbs planted. With much warmer temperatures in store tomorrow, I will get that job out of the way. I also plan to reduce the size of the Joe-pye weed in the pollinator garden and dig out the two in the oval garden and Garden 1, where instead I will plant lilies. Next week my lawn people will be here to take down the gardens and start cleaning up leaves. When those tasks are accomplished, our gardens will be put to bed for the winter.

So far, my birding season has been wonderful, with many birds at the feeders daily. The little red-breasted nuthatches have been regulars at the feeders. Suet cakes are up and another feeder has been set out to help alleviate all the visitors at the two platform feeders along with the peanut feeders. My ritual first thing in the morning is to get them filled shortly after sunrise so the cardinals will have fresh food, as they are my first visitors. If you don’t feed birds, I highly recommend it as a wonderful pastime to enjoy nature up close.

Notes have been made in my garden journal for next season, and one of the hostas along the south side of the oval garden I plan to divide and plant the new division just a few feet away, making three of them to add color to the darker side of this garden. This past spring, I spray-painted the tuteur lime green to coordinate with this lime hosta. I just love how it spruced up this part of the garden.

A big thank-you goes out to my friends Ruth and Lou Jean for taking the two hibiscus and the succulents, so they didn’t have to get thrown away. How I wish I had room to overwinter plants, but unfortunately I live in a cottage-style house that is small and we have it filled to the brim. Last year I managed to bring in six succulents, but this year that area now has Roosevelt’s grooming supplies — so no room for plants.

These two ladies have been such great friends and we all love flowers, birds, bees and butterflies so we have so much that we share with each other.

Once the snow and cold arrives, I will get to reading all of the magazines that have piled up over the summer, and I will start making my wish list for next spring. This lists grows over the winter months as magazines and catalogs arrive and then when February arrives, I start to whittle this list down to something I can afford. You can always dream big, but when reality hits you in the face, the list goes down.

“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.” — Joe L. Wheeler

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