My Garden is Ready for Winter

Robin James
3 min readNov 8, 2023

I’m a little late this year

My garden just before Halloween.

Usually, in fall, I hack all the flowers down to about two inch stems, then clean up the debris. This way the nutrients from the rot get into the soil over the winter. In the spring I pull out all the dead stuff, turn the earth over, and plant.

This year was different.

There’s a good chance I’ll be moving next year, although the landlords said they might not put the house on the market in 2024 if the market is still like it is now, which is mixed news. On one hand, I’d like to move just to get it over with. On the other hand, an extra year of cheap rent will help us save for a bigger down payment.

Anyway, I was feeling ambivalent about preparing the garden for winter so I just kept putting it off. I figured it could just rot right where it was. Maybe it would even reseed itself, since the flowers are mostly perennials. It felt like Future Robin’s problem.

It snowed shortly before Halloween, which helped make the decision for me. I thought if the snow buries it all then it’ll be too hard to cut down, so might as well just leave it.

Then the snow melted and it’s been warm. Not terribly warm, but nice and crisp.

My garden looked absolutely terrible. Everything was brown and limp and became an eyesore.

This past weekend the temperature crept up again. I caught sight of my neighbour cleaning out her gardens so, in a burst of energy, I grabbed the hedge shears and started chopping.

It took an hour and a half to cut everything down.

The flowers were so densely packed that I felt like I was chopping through a thicket. By the time I was done I was a sweaty mess and grateful that I’d bought the hedge shears years ago. Usually, I use a pair of garden scissors to cut the stems.

I didn’t bother clearing the debris this time, though.

I figure there are pollinators and other various bugs sleeping under the leaves that accumulated in the garden, so I stamped the debris down so it would stay close to the ground and not blow away.

My garden now. It looks like hair to me.

I hope I didn’t trample the pollinators too much.

The debris can stay there until spring. The snow will cover it eventually and maybe the soil will get some extra nutrients and seeds.

Next year I’ll decide how much effort to put into the garden. I’ll leave the debris until the temperatures stay at 10°C for more than a week to give the bugs time to wake up. After that, I’ll rake it all up. Whether I plant new seeds remains to be seen.



Robin James

When I’m not writing my novel I’m writing rants and whatnot. Figured I might as well post them here.