The front flower bed was trimmed down this week…The eight foot tall fennel plant, that ladies walking by always comment on—“I’ve never seen such a huge dill plant.”—had toppled onto the sidewalk, the asters were all brown, and the comfrey was taking over. Halloween is over; the rains have begun; we no longer need a living hedge between the sidewalk and the house. Besides, we were starting to look like the home of a crazy old lady, buried in foliage. It took a few days. I whacked away at the fennel with the long-handled loppers and pulled the stalks around back, shedding seeds everywhere, and then began on the smaller plants. Over the years, I have adopted the “compost in place” technique in the front yard. I cut everything down, break it into slightly shorter pieces, and lay it back in the beds. Once everything is gone, I cover the whole bed with leaves scavenged from the street, place the Halloween pumpkins into the mulch to slowly rot into the ground, and we’re done. Much easier than the old technique of hauling everything out back, turning all winter, sifting in the spring, and hauling it all back up, loaded with fennel seeds. Not to mention moving a semi-rotten, soggy pumpkin off the front step on Veteran’s Day.