Hello fellow readers, While the official start of fall has begun, the heat and humidity return after the late summer cooling spell has Mother Nature confused. I heard spring peepers the other evening while sitting on the screened porch. And, there’s early leaf drop on certain trees before they changed color, likely due to the summer wetness—what a contrast to the last few summers of drought.
Healing in the Garden of Life
We know that life is about change and adapting to it, hopefully finding solitude, joy, and love while doing so, though it’s hard to see beyond the chaos of what’s going on in the world. Thankfully we can find respite among nature and in our gardens. Indeed, there is healing in the garden of life.
Last weekend I stepped out in the garden after weeks of having no time. Weeds are doing well this year; fungus too. I immediately felt overwhelmed. Over my head in shrubs that are too tall now to reach and prune. The rule of thumb is to prune after bloom on flowering shrubs and trees to preserve next year’s bloom. For non-flowering woody plants, pruning spring through midsummer is best. But in desperate measures, when next year’s flowers can be forsaken, early fall is fine. Plants will still have time to harden off before winter sets in.
There were tears in my eyes.
I’ll share with you, my faithful readers; there were tears in my eyes as I began tackling what I’d neglected, exaggerated by a low day weighted by memories of time and loved ones gone by. I felt unworthy as a gardener, a nurturer of life. Then I knelt before the ‘Palace Purple’ Coral Bells and began weeding. Within minutes a toad jumped by my garden glove.
“Is that you?” I asked out loud. I tried to snag a picture of my garden resident, but he was too shy. He looked like the same little fellow I spied last spring when I was scrambling to do fall cleanup (not a typo, I was that behind with the circumstances of tending to my failing mom). Looking at the photo from last spring, I’m sure he’s the same fellow, plumper than the year before. Maybe all the slugs he’s taken care of for me.
A few hours later, some of the weeds weeded and pruning done; I felt better. The resident toad helped me realize the garden is a healthy, nurturing place despite neglect. And the garden of life is forgiving.
Imagine not looking at garden tasks, chores, or work, for that matter, as overwhelming. Instead, look at one miraculous thing— one plant or a faithful garden guest. Then get started on clearing your mind of not feeling good enough.
Column updated 5/29/21
You’ll enjoy a related column titled Frog Watch USA
About Palace Purple’ Coral Bells (Heuchera micrantha)