Late October: Behind in the Gardens

img_4429In Maine, October has really outdone itself this year. It has been so sunny and warm that we haven’t had any frost at the little house in the big woods. As a reflection of this, our heating bill is less than it was last year at this time, and I’m certainly not complaining. Nevertheless, warm weather or not, the gardens indicate that fall is progressing. The leaves of the big hostas are droopy and yellow, and the day lilies have collapsed into brown shreds.

Somehow, despite the warm weather, or maybe because of it, I am behind this year. Usually, by the end of October the gardens are cut back, and I am ready to begin raking. I might be halfway through my cutting, but that’s about it. I will need to get out there and hustle if I am to maintain any kind of seasonal schedule in the garden. But I’ll get the work done. I always do.


Even though I miss summer and warm weather and humming birds and biking, I do love this golden time of year when soup and muffins are so welcome. The other day I swept the driveway clean, and just as I was done, a wind came and blew a swirl of yellow leaves and pine needles into the driveway. No more clean driveway.

“Stop, stop!” I said, but I couldn’t help smiling at the beauty of those falling leaves and needles as they gleamed and danced in the bright sun.

Soon austere November will come in to replace golden October. Thoughts will turn toward Thanksgiving and Christmas lists and filling the deck box with pine and winter berries.

In the meantime, out I go to cut back those gardens, and as I cut, I’ll be making plans for next spring.


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