October and it's all done. This picture of my phlox David (white) and Veronica (lavender) is old, stored for a future post back in August. Outside this morning, the remnants of phlox petals are gently drifting away.
The 2009 garden might have been one of my best. The dependable rainstorms throughout the season meant I rarely watered (I think once or twice this whole summer). In fact, the biomass that I've raked and weeded out of the garden this summer is probably a record. The deer that came through must have encountered the deer resistant plants that I'd put in, and decided to graze elsewhere. His damage was minimized by a flush of growth. The family of wrens that took up residence in my birdhouse hopefully made it to adulthood. The goldfinches have moulted. Their gorgeous yellow feathers have turned an autumn brown. The banana tree in the pot on the deck is probably confused by the cool evening temperatures. (What am I going to do with it?) The apple tree never produced but at least it's not growing sideways anymore. The peach tree survived the gypsy moth infestation. The Fourth of July tomatoes delivered all through August. The herbs and peppers are still holding fast. And the eggplant plant gave me two or three lovely Aubergine.
Now comes the process of closing it all out before the first freeze in mid-November. The fall chores sometimes come with a self-imposed anxiety to rake and clean and put away. The crush of fall social obligations, sports games and school activities. The temptation to work late in the evenings and go in on weekends to meet the press deadline for goSmithsonian. All of this conflicts with garden work and chores. I have to remember that no one cares if the plants turn brown and fall over, and the leaves gather on the lawn. It's the way it is supposed to be and I need to move slowly, deliberately, one step, one season, at a time. The Putterer