Sprinting into fall

Fall is such a mixed blessing. Sweaters instead of sweating, leaves that aren’t green, the clarity and smell in the air and shades of blue sky that just don’t happen any other time. Apples and pumpkins and cider and harvest moons. And, NO MORE WATERING!, which wasn’t an issue earlier in the summer but has been such a bother the past month or so, especially because I’ve been planting and transplanting like a mad woman (and all the rain we’ve had came at once, so the rain barrel couldn’t keep up).

But, but, but… we all know what comes after. Nobody I know likes winter, and all the gardeners I know go through withdrawal from December to April. (November is usually spent recovering from the beat-the-frost flurry of fall planting and transplanting and trimming and raking.)

We went through another plant-purchasing frenzy a couple weekends ago — partly because we keep refining the back yard (to make up for the ongoing mayhem in the front yard) and partly because Lowe’s got its fall planting stock in (nice selection) and a nursery we really like is closing (boo hoo) and had 40% off everything. All that resulted in us buying something like 17 perennials, a flat of ground cover, and 18 shrubs (including this oak leaf hydrangea…and a couple mums for good measure). Guess how I’ve been spending every spare moment?

We also traded up — instead of a giant, bare, burnt spot on the lawn, we bought a beautiful burn ring that Mike painstakingly installed (twice — did I mention he’s a perfectionist?).

I’m happy to report all the new shrubs are in the ground and many old shrubs and flowers have been moved around (please live). I actually had a moment last night, as I looked around the yard in exhaustion (just before it got totally dark) and thought “This looks pretty good.”

It’s that thought that will carry me through the last frantic days of autumn (hosta to split, mulch to spread, weeds to attack, bulbs to bury, shrubs to prune, lilac to whack), sustain me through the winter doldrums, and make me raring to start it all over again next spring. Just like gardeners everywhere.

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns. 
                                        ~ George Eliot


  1. Kevie said,

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 10:46 am

    No mixed blessing here! I love Autumn and admittedly have never be a fan of Summer. too hot and those bugs…. Odd for a gardener who has quite a few garden rooms…for me it is the beauty of Spring and Fall that I labor. Let the leaves drop and the breeze blow. Admire the colors and let them go.

    I must admit to finding relief from the gardens in the coming Winter months. I love winter! Fresh fallen snow makes for a most beautiful and magical landscape…cold chilly air and a nice hot ‘cuppa’ pumpkin spice coffee in the morning mist stirs the soul. The dead of Winter is reserved for a good read by a nice fire in the hearth….as snow storms roar outside.

    A mature garden is less stressful. There is a certain amount of self maintenance that frees one from the constant fret of keeping everything pruned and perfect….. Autumn does allow one to rearrange and refine….I love adding new plants as well. No longer do I feel the need for massive clean up. New fallen leaves nourish the ground and can wait until Spring. Ragged and wooly can be beautiful too!

    I do not enjoy the exposure falling leaves bring, but relish the break from work outdoors and time spent in my studio. WELCOME AUTUMN!

    “A solitary maple on a woodside flames in single scarlet,
    recalling nothing so much as the daughter of a noble
    house dressed for a fancy ball, with the whole family
    gathered round to admire her before she goes.”

    Henry James (1843-1916)

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Thanks for the lovely comment. Autumn has always been my favorite time of year too — must be that Libra-ness we share! I look forward to the calmer perspective a mature garden brings — something I’ve never been able to achieve with all the moving.

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