The Consolation of October

As it turns out, I had a nasty little flu rather than a miserable cold. By Friday night, my temperature was nearly 102, but the next day, Saturday, I felt significantly better. By Sunday, I was more or less back to my normal schedule. I even did some cutting back in the garden.

Unfortunately but not unexpectedly, Clif caught what I had—couples sure do like to share. But he should be fine by next weekend, when Dee is coming home from New York to help celebrate yet another retirement fête for Clif. (This should be the last one. Clif has certainly retired in style.)

Being sick, of course, is no fun, but I much prefer short and brutal over long and miserable. I have had colds stretch out for a week or two, with coughing at night to make sleep next to impossible. At least what I had was over in a few days, and a good thing, too, as there is much to do outside to get the yard ready for winter.

We still haven’t had a hard frost, but for the most part, the gardens and potted plants have had it. The coleuses have taken on a leggy, spiky look, and I hope to have them removed by the end of the week.


The hostas have become yellow and curled, and yesterday I began cutting them back.


The leaves of the evening primroses have turned a lovely red, and I’ll cut those last.


The ferns, too, have had it and are curling back into themselves. I don’t clip the ferns. I let them take care of themselves, and this seems to work just fine. Each spring, they return in a vigorous burst of green.


For a gardener, fall can be a melancholy time. The clipped plants give the gardens a shaved look.


Soon all the garden ornaments will be stored down cellar, as we Mainers like to say. The patio furniture will come in, and the grill will be moved onto the lawn. How sad, bare, and lonely it all looks when this happens.

Good thing, then, that October is such a beautiful, golden month. It’s almost as if she were saying, “Yes, I know brown, austere November is coming, and after that the long cold of winter, but before it does, I’ll give you some deep blue skies and some blazing leaves as consolation.”

And indeed, what a consolation!



9 thoughts on “The Consolation of October”

  1. I am happy you have recovered!!! And indeed better look at the glorious colors of fall and give the plants their deserved sleep whilst enjoying the harvest! Nothing melancholy about that! xo Johanan

  2. I do love that consolation! This weekend’s weather was so spectacular and the colors have been radiantly beautiful. Family and fall festivals have left me happy, but tired!
    You’re so good to trim back your gardens so promptly, we more or less wait until the last minute! 😉

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