Some things to do during fall

Fall, l think, is one of the most enjoyable times of the year. Though relatively short, the days are delightfully crisp, especially when the sun is out, making it perfect to be outdoors. Moreover, garden work is more manageable than it tends to be in spring and summer, giving us a chance to sit and relax. Nevertheless, there are chores that cannot be ignored to prepare the yard for the coming winter season, though I am fairly guilty of ignoring them myself. So, since time is running out, I have hurriedly made a mental to-do list to get my act together.

One of the first things I plan to do is to drain and put away the watering hoses that have been lying outside since the onset of spring so that freezing temperatures do not damage them. As we do not have an automatic sprinkler system, we rely on the old-fashioned way of watering the lawn and the garden. Next, I need to tackle the weeds, such as chickweed and henbit, that have suddenly made appearances in a big way. Although the task is quite daunting, it does give me a reason to be outdoors and get the much-needed exercise, as well as sun and fresh air.

Fall is also a good time to clean the perennial beds that can become overcrowded, since quite a few plants multiply and spread during the course of time; these plants can be divided and grown elsewhere or shared with others. Also, cut them back after a few killing frosts have occurred and remove the debris while taking care not to disturb the delicate crowns and the root system. One important tip I need to bear in mind is to mark the sites of the plants because, as much as I hate to admit, I cannot trust the memory as I used to earlier! An idea worth mentioning here is leaving the seed heads of plants, such as sedums, for winter interest.

Another aspect of garden work that could use attention at this time of the year is to inventory and reorganize the tool shed. Getting rid of those tools that are broken or not functional anymore creates space and prevents the temptation of using unsafe items. Likewise, the birdfeeders and birdbaths need to be cleaned too. Speaking of birds, few things bring me more pleasure now than to harvest fresh berries, such those of nandina, and incorporate them in wreaths or holiday arrangements.

The list of chores does keep on growing, for it has just dawned on me that I still haven’t gotten around to planting the bulbs and a camellia shrub I got some time back. On top of all of this, pretty soon we will need to rake and gather the fallen leaves, too. But as far as I am concerned, I intend to leave this chore to some other members of the family.


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