There aren’t too many times in my life that I do not have the philosophy “more is better.” I am referring to the number of branches on a forsythia.

On Sunday afternoon I settled myself onto a bucket practically inside an overgrown one. Saw in hand, I reduced the size of this shrub to no more than 10 young shoots. It was completely satisfying. I’m looking forward to just a subtle hint of color in the spring.

I am not fond of pruning forsythia, azalea, abelia or Rose of Sharon into globes or squares. The nature of the plant should be respected for Pete’s sake. We have an overwhelming need to control nature. Hopefully, after several decades in the garden world we can learn otherwise.

Speaking of nature, both my worker, Lorna, and I had similar experiences recently. We each had a praying mantis crawling around on our neck. She was a better sport than I was. I screamed bloody murder! It’s just not right to have an insect that big. While I completely admire the work they perform in the garden — eating their weight in other bugs — I hate the way they turn their head to look at me. Creepy!

Now is the time to think about planting some sort of cover crop. I like to devote a few areas to field peas. As they are busing fixing nitrogen they can be snipped for some delicious shoots. We love them plain with a touch of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. They do not survive really cold weather but the debris can be turned into the soil in early spring. Sometimes I do not bother, and instead plant right into the spent vines. Early cabbages do not mind the company.

I spent some time weeding the hoop house, preparing it to receive the late fall/winter plantings of spinach, kale, collards and romaine lettuce.

Before any more work was done, less than a week later, the wild morning glory was back. This is without benefit of a single sip of water since May. Why, oh why? Everything I like requires tending and watering and barely makes it. Talk about the way of the world.

Concering those plantings that I wish to winter-over, they need to be started soon. They need to be of some size and substance before we really lose the light.

Now is also the time to take a mental picture of the perennial beds. There are some holes in the summer plantings. The nurseries will be offering some savings soon and fall is a perfect time to beef up the beds.

I’m crazy about the fall — blooming clematis, also known as sweet autumn clematis. On a recent trip to the mainland I noticed tons of it threading its way up into trees along the Woods Hole Road. I think they are a week ahead of us as I’m just beginning to notice it here.

It behaves in a weedy fashion so it can handle quite a bit of pruning if you have it on a bench or light post. Left alone on the property edge it is very aggressive. So what! It’s endlessly more desirable than bitter sweet. It has a heady jasmine scent as an added attraction.

The Pope has urged all the parishes, convents and seminaries in Europe to take in at least one family from war-torn Syria. I’m not Catholic but I love him. He is the embodiment of true humility and real Christian values. Wouldn’t it be great if the anti-immigrant crowd here could exhibit even some of the welcoming spirit of Francis?

Conversely, Sarah Palin has come out in support of Donald Trump and his immigration policy. She said everyone should “speak American.” Have mercy!