Generally, I’m not a fan of cold weather, so when fall finally gets here it’s a sad time for me. I know it won’t be long until those chilly temps take hold and freeze my toes off. Along with frigid air comes bleak surroundings – bare trees, brownish lawns, lackluster garden beds. But even I have to admit that when you really think about it, cooler weather brings with it other things too.
It’s Cold Outside – The Bright Side of Life in the Garden
While I must confess that it doesn’t typically get too cold here until around late December or January, when those temperatures do begin dropping, you certainly don’t want to be outdoors. I don’t anyway. I feel the same when it gets too hot, which is why I’m normally ready for fall to show itself temperature wise. I’m a Goldilocks kinda girl. It needs to be somewhere in the middle, just right. If I could have comfortable weather year round and keep my pretty, lush garden, I’d be in hog heaven. Alas, this isn’t my reality.
When it finally does arrive, admittedly the cooler weather gives me the chance to finish those backed-up gardening chores piled up from all the excessive summer heat. Before it gets too cold to do anything, I enjoy giving the garden a quick sprucing up. Nothing too fancy mind you. I prefer to leave a few spent blooms here and there and I don’t prune much, just some of the more scraggly dead growth. I want wildlife to have plenty of extra food and shelter for winter. I pluck any remaining overgrown weeds. I remove twigs and other fallen debris. The leaves that have collected in piles I spread out over the garden beds for added insulation and nourishment.
Cold weather also puts many of those pesky insects to bed. Bye-bye blood-sucking mosquitoes! AdiÃ³s to those tiny biting no-see-ums! Au revoir you menacing aphids! See you later Japanese beetles! Until next year all you insatiable veggie munchers! Of course, this also means a big hello to the hordes of stink bugs and spiders that will now infiltrate my home in search of warmth. Ugh.
Speaking of warmth, it’s always nice to curl up next to a fire or other heat source this time of year, perhaps with a good book or a pile of plant catalogs. I also find cold weather in gardens to be a great time for contemplation. Maybe not once it’s bone chilling cold, but just cool enough to warrant a blanket to wrap up in while sitting on a bench. I like to sit alone in the garden and just take it all in. The sounds. The smells. (I hate the smell of burning leaves, just throwing that out there.) The taste and feel from a warm cup of coffee, tea or hot cocoa isn’t bad either. And while much of the landscape is bleak and unsightly, there’s still lots to be seen”¦ changing leaf color, a randomly planted mum or aster, birds taking full advantage of the seeds you’ve provided, squirrels burying endless amounts of acorns that will no doubt pop up in the yard later.
I think about my triumphs and failures this gardening season and what changes I’ll try, if any, next year. Sometimes I just think about life in general and all my blessings, while praying for others who may not be as fortunate. I may not particularly like the cold, but it serves its purpose. I’ll still be counting the days until it’s spring again”¦ at least that’s something I can look forward to.