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  • Robert Bruce Adams

My Garden Rests

I AM IN THE PROCESS OF PUTTING my small garden to bed for the winter. It is not more than an hour commitment, a responsibility I fully accept. It is a small price to pay for the pleasure the garden gives me. We have not yet had a killing frost an event that shuts the garden down in one fell swoop. I’m a bit early this year in my tidying up. Frost is not forecast until early November.

I stepped into the garden with clippers, a shovel, and my garden basket and began my clean-up. This year the Goldenrod seems to have expanded their footprint at the expense of the Asters and Sedums. Their aggressive rhizomes supported dozens of new plants producing an abundance of the familiar yellow blossoms. Their antenna-like flowers began appearing in late August. I do like a few of these plants in my garden, as do the visiting Monarch butterflies, however, if I don’t thin them out they will take over the entire space. A compromise is in order, a fact that both my garden and I understand.

I enjoy the changing nature of my garden, the progression is predictable and I find comfort in this seasonal regularity. I’m especially fond of the arrival each year of the yellow loosestrife and blue spiderwort in late May - a gift from my parent’s garden via my brother’s garden a few years ago. There is always room for new additions to add to the garden’s offerings. This summer I placed a potted orange butterfly weed plant in the garden hoping it is rooting down preparing for next year’s mid-summer display.

On yesterday's afternoon walk I contemplated moving my bird feeder. It sits alone at the edge of the garden. It just doesn’t belong where I put it five years ago. It is too far from the action is my thinking, and perhaps it is time for a change. It’s like moving to a new hair style, or adding a newly discovered ingredient to a favorite recipe, just a little tweak here and there to keep all party's happy. This morning I moved the feeder to the center of the garden and filled it with a new crop of black sunflower seeds.

My fall clean-up is now complete. The small pockmarks in the soil will heal and the garden soon will be covered by a blanket of freshly fallen snow. I will watch this next event from my porch window thankful that I spent a little time putting my garden to bed.

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