25 October 2011

Goodnight, Garden

The nights are growing longer, cooler, with the damp musty scent of things dying. But even though there's a chill in the air, I still open the windows each evening.  Better to shiver a bit and slip into a shawl or sweater than deny us these last nights of fresh air. 

Oh, and the crickets are singing as always, despite the onset of the colder nights.  But as lovely as their melody is, I feel wistful knowing that within the month they'll grow silent and won't be heard again until next summer.

My daily walks through the garden are numbered. The Autumn sun is already draining the fading greenery of color and transforming it into burnished gold and brown.  The rose bushes are heavy with large orange hips that the birds will nibble throughout the winter; the black Pokeberries have ripened and are hanging like large bunches of grapes from their limp yellow stalks; and the Black-eyed Susans have dropped all their bright yellow petals to the ground, leaving only their brown centers bobbing on the end of their long stems.  For awhile the Asters were still in bloom, braving the cold nights and enlivening the garden with their deep fuchsia. But  even they are drooping and fading, joining the earlier summer flowers that are already withering and grey on the ground. 

It won't be long before I'll be putting it all "to bed" for another season: bringing my cotton plants indoors, dead-heading blossoms, cutting down dried flower stalks, protecting tender vines, collecting seeds from flower heads, planting bulbs that will optimistically push through the sleet and snow of early spring. The wild jungle of greenery and color that sprang up around the cottage like a colorful wilderness only a few months before will be only a memory, and in its place will be bare leaf-strewn beds bearing no resemblance whatsoever to their summer glory. 

Before long there will be warnings of frost on the radio, and one of these evenings I'll know that my walk through the flower beds is the last I'll take again until winter has past.  And on that night I'll stand in the midst of what used to be my garden, and smile and do what all gardeners do at this time of year: start planning for next year.

Goodnight sweet garden! Farewell dear crickets!
Take care little birds and squirrels as you bustle in the Nightshade berries and rosehips!
Soon the flower beds will be dozing under a golden quilt of fallen leaves

and then, before you know it, I'll be making small paths through the drifts of snow
to pour seed into the feeders.  
It's always sad when the garden goes to sleep,
but after such a glorious and colorful summer,
filled with the most beautiful blossoms, she's earned her rest.

No comments:

Post a Comment