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Master Gardener: Notes from the Weather Diary

We’re coming up on the fourth week of October and on the verge of our first frost.

I am thankful that most of this year’s rains at the house were slow, soaking effectively into the ground - not the flooding downpours so many areas of the state, and a lot of the country, experienced. We had no harsh storms with damaging winds or tornadoes; no severe icing or deep snow.

Even the brief drought we experienced fell into what we consider a norm for weather in the river valley. Basically the only catastrophic event experienced was the late freeze. I know. We have a little over two months left and a lot of weather left to happen. I believe, like many others, that this winter will be colder and nastier in comparison to the last few we’ve been through.

Leaves as of mid-month have barely started their color change. Some maples and liquidamber (gumball) trees made tentative blushes. We should have a fine show of color by Halloween. I look forward to an afternoon or two of raking leaves - I haven’t succumbed to leaf blowers yet. Monarchs are continuing their march southward - I’ve lost count of the number who’ve met their maker on the front of my truck.

Roses lightly pruned over a month ago for one last late show of bloom are again putting on a colorful display. Light showers, cooler evenings and lower humidity - all entice what’s left in the yard to perform at its best until the first killing frost. My pot-bound tomatoes are laden still with fruit in various colors. The greenhouse, already half filled with propagations and ferns,, waits for the rest of its non-hardy guests to check in for the winter.

Pumpkins, cornstalks, potted mums and assorted scarecrow displays bring a smile to my face and like cooler evenings and football and welcome pots of chili or stew are part of what the celebration of autumn is all about.