We had our first hard frost on the 17th; a low of 31 degrees. It was cold enough to ensure that the dahlias, coleus, cannas, and other tender perennials were done for the season.
I awoke to a world dusted in white and came home after work to blackened foliage throughout the garden.
The first hard frost is a beautiful sight glittering in the early morning light, but terribly depressing by midday.
Oh well, it is mid-October. Much better timing than in those years when the first hard frost occurs in mid-September and you’re left with weeks of warm temperatures and no late fall blooms.
There is still so much to get done here before the first snow falls and the temperatures plummet for the duration. So far we’ve had a very balmy autumn. Looking out over the next 10 days, the temps are expected to linger in the high 60s to low 70s with most overnights in the 40s and 50s. But I feel as though I’m being lulled into a false sense of security, and one morning I will awaken to several inches of snow.
Still on the mighty to-do list: plant 300 or so daffodil and tulip bulbs; cut back and weed asparagus bed; weed and mulch raspberry beds; pick up remaining 20 bales of hay for sheep; clean out and winterize hen and duck coops (our farm animals have to be able to withstand lows of -20 degrees, so the coops are insulated and they have heat lamps and heated water dishes); sow fall seeds such as poppies and hollyhock; cut back and dig up the many dahlias in the garden and store in crates in the basement, along with the couple of canna lilies; mulch and protect roses for winter; put the vole/mice protectors on all the young fruit and newly planted trees in the orchard and garden; and if time permits, continue my weeding. edging and mulching of the mixed borders. I won’t have time to get through all 13 or so (frankly, I’ve lost count) borders, but I’m hoping for at least half.
That list doesn’t include the multitude of things my brother takes care of before winter — wrapping the screened porch and gazebo, bringing in the hoses to store in the barn for winter, leaf raking, mulching and adding to leaf mold pile, turning compost piles one last time before winter, and cutting and splitting wood to season for next year’s winter (he only cuts and brings down a couple of dead trees per season, always careful to leave some as shelter for the wildlife).
It’s exhausting thinking about it, but it always seems to get done.
I should take a lesson from the dogs however, and just sit back and enjoy the beautiful Autumn.