Leaf color is changing rapidly and leaves are coming down in the wind. It's been rainy and cold at night. Translation: fall has come to east central Illinois. Our garden rehabilitation project is still ongoing, however. We had a few dry days and friend Bryan put in some time on it. Right now, we're trying to get rid of tree seedlings that got big over the two to three years of zero maintenance and to pull up the ready-to-seed weeds, including the chocolate eupatorium that took over large portions of the yard. Of course, this particular plant may be fine in your conditions. In my case, I started with one plant, a pretty thing with chocolately brown leaves and white flowers in the fall (related to the annual ageratum and the tall pink Joe Pye), that became an explosion in all of the shady areas.
Most of the real rehab work -- re-doing raised beds, filling in gaps where perennials couldn't compete with the weeds that got established, and generally reorganizing with easier maintenance in mind -- will have to wait for spring. It's a big garden with a lot of treasures, collected over 15 years in this location and another 15 or more of plants transplanted from prior gardens. But the past few years, when health issues prevented us from working in the garden ourselves, have taken quite a toll. Fortunately, there are houseplants to cheer us all up through the long winter: