Supposedly autumn began weeks ago and summer is a distant memory, and in theory I understand that, but with shorts weather popping in here and there and with a sweaty lawn mowing afternoon it was easy to pretend we’re closer to July than we are to Christmas. That is until the last week and a half. Frosts have arrived and even a good freeze on a few nights, and it’s become hard to keep thinking autumn will be here forever and winter’s not creeping up on the horizon. Usually that in itself will spin me into despair over the loss of summer and the slow decay of annual life and the death of almost everything green… but I’m still kind of ok this year. The chrysanthemums were rained out but the snowdrops are starting, the fall foliage was kind of drab but the tulips are going in, and between houseplants under lights and amaryllis bulbs filled with promise it’s only the occasional dreary day which gives me the blahs.
Trust me we’ve had a good share of dreary days, but sun as well, and if the sun can just keep trying for a few more weeks I think I’ll be able to get the bulbs in and the garden put to bed before the snow starts flying…. Assuming that happens… Lately winters have become North Carolina mild and I’m already planning things like pruning in December and mulching in January rather than shoveling snow.
As the post-Covid schedule revs back up weekends are becoming more gymnastics and basketball and less sit in the garden all day thinking about what kind-of really-should ought-to-be done, rather than what comes first. Of course I know what I should do, and of course I don’t always do it. Case in point is the overly shaded, kind of overgrown, dwarf Scotch Pine along the porch. It’s been that way for years and could be pruned pretty much anytime other than last Sunday, but after finishing a coffee and looking at it for one minute too long I started with that. 45 minuted spent crawling around underneath pruning out dead-wood and sawing down stubs and making the tree look arguably neater was probably not even on a to-do list but now it’s done. Tulips are not planted, but this tree that I don’t even like all that much looks neater which is also probably good.
I often get into the mood where nothing’s good enough and everything’s an overgrown mess. Sunday that happened again and now there’s one less clump of variegated maiden grass (Miscanthus ‘Dixieland’) in the garden. I loved it but two wet years had it spending October and November as a floppy mess and instead of pruning the top I just pruned the roots instead. Maybe it will be missed… but to be honest I’ve already got a few other things planted around it which could use more room so there’s a good chance whatever hole is left is already filled. Such is the curse of the shoehorn/wedge-it-in planter.
In case you’re wondering, all the pots are accounted for and all the last tender tropicals are safely under cover for the winter, and for one of the first times ever this gardener didn’t have to jump up out of bed when he realized a freezing forecast was coming and there were still pots to drag in. He can now think about all the cannas in need of digging and daffodils in need of a new home. I guess that at least keeps him out of the bars.
So there it is. The first snowdrop photo of the 2021/22 season and before anyone complains I want to add they’ve been blooming for weeks and I haven’t even mentioned them more than once or twice. That will change of course, so fair warning 😉
I think snowdrops in bloom are a big part of my rehabilitated views on autumn. The fall season still doesn’t break into the top three of the favorite seasons list, but with colchicums and then chrysanthemums, and asters and cyclamen, and now snowdrops, things are much less gloomy and gray than they used to be.
Hope your autumn is more snowdrops and less gloomy as well, have a great week!