Fall Clean-Up

Clearing the crab apple branches from over the sidewalk offered the materials for a quickly woven door wreath.

Early in October, I was aware I would not have much time to address all of the critical fall gardening tasks, but certain fall clean-up chores are not optional. I was able to prioritize:

  1. Disconnecting and putting away all of the outdoor hoses to avoid damaging the outdoor plumbing,
  2. Picking up and storing the garden tools to prevent weathering,
  3. Cutting back the many low crab apple branches to circumvent blinding passersby on the sidewalk,
  4. Clearing out the overgrown and dead foliage and weeds from our front garden beds, and
  5. Layering in compost to the front garden beds to enrich the clay soil.

Our city offers a fall clean-up service in which all landscape debris is collected and hauled away for composting. I am not set up yet for composting my own yard clippings. I hope to be in a position to do this next fall, but for now, I wanted to clear the decks for the hardscaping I'd like to begin later in the fall.

The last of the fall flowers made for a nice showing indoors in the last weeks of Fall.

Trimming the crab apple branches from over the sidewalk offered enough boughs to weave a door wreath with some wire from the garden toolbox. The girls and their friends caught wind of this idea and started making their own crowns, wreaths, and bracelets from the plants in the fall clean-up pile which kept them busy for the rest of the day.

The kids' creations from the fall clean-up pile.


Clearing the garden beds made it possible to layer in the compost I had purchased from the garden center in September. I purchased a mushroom compost and fermented pine shavings to improve the hard-packed clay in the front garden beds over the winter. Adding these amendments also made it easier to plant garlic and bulbs later in the month.

Cleaned-up beds, ready for winter garden dreaming and scheming.

This annual ritual offers two important benefits. First, it allows one to "find" plants forgotten in the overgrowth; this year I "found" the saffron crocus bulbs that I planted last fall. Second, it creates a blank canvas on which to plan over the winter for the next spring and summer. I like putting the garden to bed in this way and reflecting while I work on went well this season and did not. For me this is the start of winter garden dreaming and scheming.

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