Late fall breezes put me on a collision course with haphazard balloon trips. This one bounced off the side of my house and landed in the yard.
Bailey (pup) and I have been wandering the foothills, enjoying the rustle of autumn and dreading the coming of winter. Summer went too fast. I'm not ready for hats and mittens.
And, neither is my garden. It's going out with a bang. In spite of freezing temperatures, 3 tough old gals are digging in their heels and pretending it's still summer. White Phlox (David,) Pink Evening Primrose, and Purple Salvia shake off the night's hard frost and bloom in the morning sun.
But, I can't ignore things any longer. It's time for my garden to get ready for winter. Tender perennials will be up to their eyeballs in mulch by the end of the day. I'll even break down and mow the lawn properly, cutting it short and removing the grass clippings. It will keep growing, in spite of the cold. Heavy snows can rot grass clippings if they're not removed.
On busy days, I believe whole-heartedly that you should do what you must, not all that you can. Perennials with woody stems do better if you leave them alone until spring. Their tall stems help snow drift around the plant, creating a warm blanket during cold winters. Save yourself some hard work. Leave Catmint, Iris, Gaillardia, Salvias, Lavender, Russian Sage, and Coreopsis alone until early spring.
PS: Hands off the Lilacs. They started growing next year's buds months ago, when you weren't looking. Prune them after they bloom, next spring.