Last Friday evening’s mini cold snap caused a bit of anxiety in the garden world. It got down to the mid-30s. Naturally, I was totally unprepared for the event of an actual freeze. There is so much to be done. I like to save my geraniums and begonias. I just yank them out of their summer homes in pots and boxes and place a bunch of them in one pot to winter over in an unheated area of my house. It doesn’t freeze in there but gets pretty cold. I only give them enough water to keep them barely alive until about mid-March. Then I water, feed and fuss over them. They have given me years of great summer color.

Since we have the impatiens fungus now here on the Vineyard, we need to rethink our shade borders for next season. I am crazy about the dragon-wing series of begonias. They bloom nonstop, do not need deadheading, can take full sun or deep shade and do not seem to be a favorite of deer. Seems like a win-win. They are usually available in six-packs at the local nurseries for a reasonable price.

There is an annual vinca which has a flower exactly like an impatiens and a nice glossy foliage. It does need sun but will be another alternative.

Supposedly the New Guinea variety of impatiens is immune to the fungus, but again needs more sun than our old favorites.

I guess the burning bush is now considered an invasive species, but I must say it is coming into its own right now. There are some nice ones at old School House Village across from the regional high school.

The Goldsturm rudbeckia has finally finished blooming. It gave me a great run this season — perhaps two months of vibrant yellow blooms. I like to leave the spent blooms of it and of echinacea for a while for the enjoyment of birds. In fact, I’m not in a huge hurry to clean up the gardens yet as there are still tons of bees busy at their work, as well as the last of the butterflies. The wonderful added plus to Vineyard living is the long fall for all to enjoy, now that the hustle of summer has passed.

I have some beautiful large green peppers right now. They are thick-walled and delicious. Most have not turned totally red or orange because I neglected to plant them this spring in a timely fashion. Oh well! Errare humanum est.

I whiled away a pleasant hour on Sunday weeding my new planting of carrots. They are still small but the tiny roots are showing a nice orange color so I have hopes for a decent harvest before Thanksgiving. If not, I’ll cover them with bales of hay and they will come along in the spring.

I meant to plant some Walla Walla sweet onions last month in the hoop house. They are a fine winter onion under some protection or if planted in the Pacific Northwest. Once again, my life got away from me. There’s next year, God willing!

I ordered a shocking amount of tulips, daffodils and crocuses. I was making up for neglecting to plant bulbs last year. They should be arriving any day now. Sadly, I have a grave to decorate, but by spring, new life will emerge.

I, for one, will be happier when we turn the clocks back to eastern standard time. I’ve been getting off to slow starts these past several mornings. As I have often said, I would rather have it dark earlier. Coming home to a long cozy evening sounds wonderful. I’m ready for sweaters, thick socks and long underwear. Hot humid summer weather has never appealed to me. I guess I’m a true Yankee.

Speaking of Yankees, are we still fighting the Civil War? The possible electoral map is divided geographically. I guess state’s rights versus federalism is the overriding issue in the upcoming presidential election. What is completely ironic to me is that, for example, heavily taxed Massachusetts pays for states like Mississippi. Don’t get me wrong, I believe whole-heartedly in supporting my less fortunate neighbor. I’m just amazed that they call us socialists.

As Vice President Joe Biden pointed out in the debate, Paul Ryan had no problem asking for federal stimulus money for his state after he voted against the policy and takes every opportunity to bash the program.

The most annoying thing in the entire process is the so-called undecided voter. Give me a break. Fish or cut bait! The real word for them is uninformed on purpose. They will wish they had “decided” when their Medicare and Social Security benefits cease to exist.