By Phyllis Galowitz

The sumacs are golden, bronze and bright red. The burning bush is flaming. The apple trees are heavy with their bright fruits. Some of the trees here in Palmer Hollow have already lost all of their leaves on this mid-October day, but as I look at the surrounding hills, the colors are brilliant! Today is the peak of autumn. A few days ago, it was warm and sunny but not nearly as colorful, and I thought we would not have a spectacular display this year, possibly because of all the heavy rains we’d had. But suddenly it’s raining again and, for some reason, the colors have become vibrant and fulfilled my dream of the perfect fall scene!

It will turn cold and, according to the journals I’ve been keeping for several years, we can expect snow within the next couple of weeks, so I suggest we all get our snow tires ready.

As usual, I’m behind in the fall clean-up. I haven’t divided the perennials or transplanted the irises, which I’ve been meaning to do “tomorrow” for sure, but “tomorrow” was too cold or it was raining, and I didn’t want to work outside. But nature is forgiving. If I don’t get it done in the fall, the preferred time, I’ll still have a chance in spring.

Red clover: The last flowers blooming on Rte 28 as warm days have left us

What I absolutely must do, though, is to cut down the dahlias to 6” and in a couple of weeks dig up the corms and store them in peat moss, roots up, in a box under the stairwell in the basement until next spring when I will plant them again. I will also plant garlic, which is fun to grow. The scapes were so pretty this summer, either to eat or to display in a vase, and when I harvest the heads, I’ll have garlic for the rest of the year!

I did pick all the tomatoes, even the green ones which are ripening in a brown bag. The hot peppers were a huge success and I love the colorful bunches, hanging upside-down in the kitchen and some in the refrigerator for immediate use. They’ll spice up the sauces and soups that I like to make on cold days.

This summer I missed watching the birds at the feeders. There were too many incidents of bears, or possibly raccoons, taking them down, along with the hanging plants and the seeds, and destroying one after another of the feeders. It was an expensive lesson.

There’s no room in the house, nor is there enough sun to bring in all the plants I’d like to keep over the winter, but I do have a small greenhouse that I’m going to try growing salad greens in, on the unheated sun porch. It gets very cold out there. I’m not sure it will work, but it’s worth a try!

Each season brings new joy, and these cool mornings I’m loving my walks on Route 28, hearing the sounds of the brook gurgling beside me, the birds singing and watching the softly falling leaves carpet the street in bright colors. Hopefully, my readers are better disciplined than I am and have gotten all the fall gardening chores done. ~

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