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