Fun - and a few chores - in the fall garden
Enjoying the gardening days before the first frost.
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But fall also means putting the garden to bed -- and sometimes that's just as enjoyable -- although necessary -- a chore as trying to get a wide-awake 5-year-old to lie down and go to sleep.
But there are joys in the fall garden -- roses recover from the heat and produce their best blooms in months, mums cheer up drizzly overcast days, and you don't sweat so much as you pull weeds and move plants around.
If you already have a vegetable garden, but cooler temperatures cause you to want to get out and work in the garden while you can, The Times of London has 10 Top Tips for the Perfect Autumn Garden. It suggests activities from protecting your pond to encouraging wildlife.
Looking for a funky touch for the side yard? Follow the example of a Memphis woman who couldn't get grass to grow in her shady yard and so planted flowers in old shoes -- sneakers, pumps, children's shoes, boots, and giant flip-flops.
She used artificial flowers but many kinds of boots and shoes work well when filled with soil and used as offbeat planters for real flowers. I especially like wellies.
Then there's the bad news about fall -- for most of us, it's when frost pretty much ends the gardening season until next spring.
I liked Bonnie Orr's tips on figuring out if frost is really likely on a particular night. She says that in her area, she can usually count on a visit from Jack Frost if the air temperature at sunset is 50 degrees F. or lower, the sky is clear, and there's no wind.
Carol Michel, the Indianapolis Gardening Examiner, reminds us to think about the pace and rhythm of fall gardening chores and not to get so caught up in all that needs to be done that we don't relax and enjoy the fall season.
I couldn't agree more.