Hello fellow readers,
While the official start of fall has begun, the return of heat and humidity after the late summer cool 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 in the last few summers of drought.
What we know for sure is life is about change and adapting to it. In so doing hopefully finding solitude, joy, and love. I believe these things are a universal wish, though 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.
Last weekend I stepped out in the garden after weeks of having no time. Weeds have done so well this year. Fungus too. I immediately felt overwhelmed. Over my head in shrubs that literally 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.
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 (Heuchera micrantha) and began weeding. Within minutes a toad jumped by my garden glove. “Is that you?” I asked out loud. 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 my failing mom). I tried to snag a picture of my garden resident. He was shy. Looking at the picture from last spring, I’m certain he’s the same fellow looking a bit plumper than the year before. Maybe all the slugs he’s taken care of for me.
A few hours later, some 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. Rather, look at one miraculous thing. One plant or a faithful garden guest. Then get started on clearing your mind of not feeling good enough. Garden dilemmas? Askmarystone@gmail.com