gardenphyllisophyBy Phyllis Galowitz

It seems we’ve been given a gift, sunny afternoons with temperatures in the 60s for lovely walks on our hiking trails or along whatever road you like. My walk is along Route 28, among apple trees laden with fruit, (I pick a few for applesauce tonight) gold and bronze beech trees still covered with leaves dancing in the soft breeze and bare sugar maples, their skeletons reaching high to the white, puffy clouds, in the blue, blue sky on this glorious day, Columbus Day. Next to the road, Bryant’s Brook is sparkling in the sun and singing as it gurgles under and over the rocks, in time to my steps. How I love these walks that bring back thoughts and fill my heart with the remembered pleasures of other times, other walks with my best friend.

I never did finish all that I said I’d do last month; I never do! And then suddenly, it will be too cold and I’ll be sorry that I didn’t listen to my own advice. But maybe you did and now you can relax, plant bulbs, garlic and wait for that first snow.

There are still flowers blooming, The showy New England asters and varieties of white asters are all along the road, while in my garden cosmos are still waving in shades of purple and magenta, and those gorgeous dahlias that suddenly will freeze to death and have to be dug up to store, safely, until next spring. The hostas have spread their large leaves along the ground, signaling the end of their season and keeping the weeds from sprouting around them. The leaves keep falling, carpeting the woods from tree to tree, in yellows, golds, reds and bronzes, making beautiful topsoil for years to come.

UntitledMy garden is growing old with me. The trees and bushes have taken over what used to be vegetable and flower space. I don’t mind. They’re beautiful too and keep the house cool in summer and warm in winter. They require little care. Container gardening is easier for me now, convenient to a source of water, less weeding and the pots can be moved, raised, lowered, to add color and architectural interest where needed or to fill empty spaces. If you’ve tried planting tulips, only to have them destroyed by deer or other creatures, try planting them in pots protected between bushes. Throw in a handful of naphtha-based mothballs along with the mulch surrounding them to discourage mice from hiding there.

This is the time to gather your gardening tools, give them a good cleaning and a protective coat of oil before storing them for the winter. Drain hoses, coil them and hang them in the garage or basement. Bring in clay or terracotta ornaments and pots as well, which will crack if left outside to freeze. Now you can relax by the fire and plan next year’s garden surrounded by the jungle of plants you’re overwintering indoors. ~