Every year about this time my mind begins to reflect on the season that has passed; the hard work, the early hours in the garden and the tremendous joy that my garden brings to me. I also begin to reflect on what needs to be done to prepare for the next season in the garden, before the chill of winter takes hold in my Alabama garden.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS FOR FALL CLEANUP AND SPRUCE UP:
The summer has likely taken a toll on some of your plants and the autumn winds will make their way into your garden, leaving leaves, twigs or other garden debris in your planting beds. Now is a good time to clean them out. Leaves will often become moldy during the mild winter months and can be a problem for you in the spring.
Reapply mulch. By now some of your spring mulch has broken down and needs to be reapplied. Mulch in your garden beds keeps down weeds and helps with moisture retention at the roots of your plants.
Remove annuals and replace with fall chrysanthemums. Vibrant yellows, golds and purple hues welcome fall like no other flower in the garden. Once the blooms are spent, we always plant ours in the back garden. Just snip off the spent booms and plant, and you’ll enjoy them again next year. Here in Shelby County, local garden shops and roadside stands have a great selection.
It’s a great time to divide lilies and irises for blooms next spring. Why not share some with a neighbor?
Clean your gardening tools. Removing dirt and grime will help extend the life of your gardening tools. Pruners and cutters need to be oiled to keep rust at bay.
I am reminded at this time of year of a passage of scripture from the Bible, 2 Timothy 4:21 “Make every effort to come before winter.” This passage is a reminder to me to set things right in my garden and in my life before winter comes. Paul is writing to Timothy to ask him to come. He had left Timothy in charge of the church at Ephesus. An aged Paul who was a prisoner in Rome, loved his friend and had a desire to see him one last time.
The final conversation I had with my grandmother was in the late summer of 1987. We stood in the Nashville airport and she cried as she held me tight and told me she would never see me again. I brushed it off and said, “I’ll see you at Christmas.” She just smiled and held my face and stared into my eyes as if looking deep inside my soul. Little did I know it would indeed be the last time I stared into her beautiful caring eyes and touch the hands of a woman I truly loved. She passed away two days before Thanksgiving and a few hours before my arrival at her bedside. Time is fleeting. I was reminded that day, and a thousand times since, to make the most of the time you have on this earth.
As grandma used to say, “this ain’t no dress rehearsal.” Are there relationships in your life that need to be mended? Loose ends left untied? Are there words unspoken that now need to be said?
Just as our gardens get messy, so do our lives. I urge you to take a few moments this fall and reflect upon not only your garden, but your life and set these things in order that have gone awry with the people around you. You’ll be a better person and will recapture for yourself and them a renewed sense of energy. And hopefully, by the grace of God, you’ll be at peace come winter…