The Frost has Come

In Maine, we have had a beautiful fall this year. Lots of sunny days with just enough rain mixed in. As it has been for the past several falls, the weather was warmer than average, which allowed us more days on the patio, right through to the middle of October. I know. The warmer weather is not a good sign, but as a Mainer, I can’t help but appreciate the extension of summer into September and September’s weather into October.

Back in the day, the first frost in Maine came sometime the middle of October, but this year it came the first week of November. The frost nipped the basil and the begonias.

It was hard enough to freeze the water in the bird bath.

And it definitely put an end to the tomato plants.

Time for some clean-up. Following  the advice of Jason from the blog Garden in a City, I no longer cut back perennials in the fall. Instead, I do everything in the spring. According to Jason, over the winter uncut perennials  provide a home for many beneficial insects.

As it turns out, waiting until spring is a much better fit for my schedule. In the fall, I am either finishing a book or publishing a book, and I can barely focus on anything else.

I know some gardeners are concerned that waiting until spring will make the clean-up harder. I have not found this to be the case. Because I live by the woods, there is always a lot of clearing to do in the spring, and the remains of the previous season’s perennials are easy to scoop up with the bed of leaves that inevitable fall and blow into my gardens.

But I do remove the wilted annuals—herbs, flowers, and vegetables. I also rake the last of the fallen leaves from the patio and bring in most of the garden ornaments, including that bird bath, which is now tucked safely down cellar.

The big patio table has also been brought down cellar, but we have left the chairs and firepit set up in hopes of having a few more fires before there is too much snow.

And, we are still sliding in weekend treats of grilled bread, which we now eat at the dining room table. But those days will soon be coming to an end.

This is a bittersweet time of year as we say farewell to the delights of early fall and move into the colder, shorter but still beautiful days of November.



Above, I mentioned how busy I am in the fall, and this year is no different. I am working hard to finish Book Four in my Great Library Series, and I hope to be done by Christmas. At 50,000 words with 40,000 or so to go, I’m not sure if I’m going to finish by then, but that is my goal.

To make things a little easier, I will temporarily be discontinuing the “Nifty Posts from Lovely Blogs” section that I have often been featuring on Mondays.  Also, I won’t be able to participate in any challenges. I plan to continue with both after the book is done, sometime in the new year.

But never fear, I will still be reading your lovely blogs until I take my Christmas break.

Onward, ho!



79 thoughts on “The Frost has Come”

  1. Good luck with your book, Laura. I appreciated your account of cleaning leaves (never done) and wilted annuals, coupled with tidying your own blog work to create space for words elsewhere. Lovely metaphor. Here’s to future blooms!

  2. Autumn in your part of the world is beautiful… I’ve always loved autumn as it is a time to slow down, but I don’t think you will be slowing down any time soon wth a book to write… good for you! We also followed Jason’s advice and leave the plants that have died off during the winter to give insects and bugs a home.. it works well. Keep warm and safe and enjoy writing your latest book.

  3. Hi. We’ve had some very chilly days recently here in greater Philly. But I think I read that daytime highs in the 70s are expected at some point this week — I’m not going to complain about that!

  4. A sturdy piece of construction.

    I find that the macro function on my phone is very good and sees things that I can’t possibly see with my naked eye.

  5. I’ve experimented with both fall and spring pruning but it’s more to do with shaping and reducing. Come spring the growth is so fast that I find some pathways impassable. I have heard about the benefits of a home for wintering benefíciala. Good for you. Best of luck with your next book and all the publishing deadlines. You’re always good about letting your readers know what’s happening.

  6. I have the same mixed feelings about the warm temps, but it has been a glorious fall, I must say.
    I have to remove my sad-looking annuals, too, they are too depressing to leave in the garden. But the perennials with nice upright stems and seed heads make nice leaf and (eventually) snow catchers.
    Looking forward to reading the next installment of Maya’s adventures. 🙂 May your fingers fly across the keyboard!

  7. Whoa….blogging AND writing books? AND gardening? You must have amazing energy! Wishing you all the best in your projects. Re gardening:
    I split the difference and leave a few perennials up for the birds in the winter, but have most everything else ready to roll in the spring. Works for me…

    1. Thanks so much! If you took a look at the house, you would say where my energy doesn’t go. 😉 As for gardening…in the end we all have to do what rolls for us.

  8. We seem to be right on schedule with our autumn, which means that there’s no frost in the immediate future, and we’re still quite green. Still, there are signs. If nothing else, the squirrels have gone hyperactive!
    You sound a little active yourself. It’s the better part of wisdom to revamp your schedule until the book is done. As the saying goes, we can do everything — we just can’t do it all at the same time!

  9. Your photographs are an interesting reminder of how sharply winter makes itself felt in your part of the world – here we get colder and drier. I enjoy the energy and enthusiasm you exude … you are an example to us all.

      1. Oh, thanks! I noticed on Facebook that you commented how surprised you were that we still had leaves. In Maine, some leaves fall early. Others hang longer, some for the entire winter.

  10. Lovely photos. We had quite a hard frost the other morning – the first of the season – and it did for the cosmia, dahlias, begonias etc but it will be good for the parsnips. Every cloud……
    Good luck with the book.

  11. I’ve taken a fifty-fifty approach to the garden this autumn – cut back some and leaving others. My enthusiasm will be higher in the spring too so clearing the beds won’t feel such a chore. I still have some bulbs to plant though, must get them in quick.

  12. I am looking forward to book 4! Autumn is definitely coming later – The coppicing season officially starts on October 1st but there are still leaves on some of the trees so i can only cut ones which are dying of Ash Die Back disease. However, like you, I have been enjoying the sunny days and appreciating the need for less heating!

  13. Happy writing. I hope the words flow and the keys fly. 🙂 With regard to fall cleanup, who knew fall cleanup or leaf pickup would be such a hot gardening topic everywhere you look? My humble opinion is that each garden is unique including location, wildlife and insects, and the gardener should make a decision based upon that. Sounds like you have a good plan for your garden. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Judy! As for gardening…the gardener’s schedule must also figure into it. For years, I cut back in the fall and truthfully have not noticed any difference in the number of insects. Of course, I’m not out there counting, either. Spring suits my schedule. Fall is better for you. Garden on!

  14. The sunlight through the trees illustrates the Japanese word Komorebi I was reading about earlier in the week. I’ve been trying to persuade Mum to keep her perennials uncut till spring but she likes it to be tidy. Good luck with your writing season!

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for introducing this marvellous word to me. The Japanese have such a wonderful use of words to express concepts. In my backyard, in the woods, there is another tree that illustrates Komerebi. I’ll try to get a good picture of it—the camera doesn’t always catch what the eye sees—and feature it on my Monday blog post.

  15. Laurie, I’m in awe over your writing schedule. I’ve barely been able to string two words together with reason (probably something to do with having a little Monkey!). Good luck pushing through to The End. And good for you, not railing over the changing seasons but peacefully going with the flow!

    1. Thanks, Debbie. A puppy certainly has a way of throwing a household into merry chaos. And Shelties usually have a LOT of energy. After all, they’re herding dogs. Not surprising that caring for little Monkey has taken up so much time.

  16. Wow! enjoy warmer days. I love that last shot. We are dealing with cold, wet and stormy days and the colours are disappearing soon. I wish to get some good shots of whatever is left 😁….

  17. Wonderful captures of the changing season and that fabulous bread!! With all the leaves, I usually run out of time and some things are always left for the spring. Love that you still have chairs by the fire pit, with snow and rain on the way we put all the deck furniture away yesterday. Good luck with your amazing writing schedule and finishing your book!🙂

  18. I would agree with you about falling behind on the Fall garden clean up, but I’m usually behind on the winter and spring activity too. That’s about the only place that I have a big-behind, we might say. Oh my, another books. I’m sooooooo behind on my book queue. Every few days, I notice your 3rd volume, but want to save it for a time that I have the mental energy to enjoy a good read (rather than just reading it because it is on the list). Take your time with composing and editing. Then maybe I’ll catch up on my Fall tasks and have time to read leisurely. -Oscar

  19. There is so much to do when the seasons change!!!! something we don’t experience here in Singapore with its fairly constant weather. Having said this, I just peeped into our balcony and noted that I need to clean up the debris from last week’s heavy rains. So, not as much as you had/have to do in your garden, but I feel chuffed I can join in the industry!

    Wishing you all the best as you complete Book #4: good health, clarity of mind, cooperation of all your characters!

  20. We’ve had a morning or two at freezing or slightly below, though November has been quite mild with some mornings near 60, warm even for a summer morning here.

    I still have some daffodils left to plant and will have to clear space.

    I am eagerly awaiting book #4!

  21. I, too, believe in letting plants stay up all winter. I wish I had the guts to do so in public gardens, with interpretive signage (guts, or time, or the will to argue with the powers that be to let things be messy in public).

    We used always to get our first frost around Halloween. Here we are in mid November with maybe a first touch of light frost expected for tomorrow night.

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