Autumn in the Garden

Besides the autumn poets sing
A few prosaic days
A little this side of the snow
And that side of the Haze.
A few incisive mornings-
A few ascetic eves-
Gone-Mr. Bryants “Golden Rod”
And Mr. Thom’son’s “Sheaves”-
Still is the bustle in the brook,
Sealed are the spicy valves.
Mesmeric fingers softly touch
The eyes of many elves-
Perhaps a squirrel may remain
My sentiments to share-
Grant me O Lord a sunny mind-
The windy will to bear.
(123 A Emily Dickenson)

Here, it’s already Autumn. It seems like I was so recently plotting my garden and buying Hyacinth, Daffodil, Tulip, Columbine, Hydrangea, Rhododendrun, Magnolia, and on and on. All, new additions to my life, my family’s life.

I will tell you, it was a worthy task. It was expensive at times, especially the trees and the sprinkler system, but I think, well worth the investment. When I look out my window and see Birch (Royal and Heritage) and the Japanese Maple and my little Royal Magnolia, I feel a sense of peace.

The birds enjoyed it. It became its own ecosystem the moment they entered the ground.

But now, they’ve all gone dormant. They lost their leaves to the first freeze (Tyrant!!) and denied us the pleasure of seeing them change color. Now they start their long sleep just as we start to move inside around the fire and dust off our books.

(My sweet hydrangea after the freeze–yikes!)

hydrangea after freeze

But I did manage to save this beautifully preserved hydrangea flower which I used inside my house.

dried out hydrangea

Tomatoes after the freeze–I didn’t get one ripe tomato this year–not one!

tomatoes after freeze

Last weekend, I did the last of my gardening–planting bulbs. I planted 200 tulips, daffodils, narcissus, and irises. I have to tell you, it was difficult to motivate myself because it was cold and raining, but it was like I was hearing this loud clock tick, tick, ticking away the window of opportunity.

fall flower bulbs

I had already purchased them (buying them and staring at their pretty bags is quite easy, I found–it almost made me feel like I’d completed the job). However, motivating one’s self to get out there and plant 200 bulbs–whew–no easy task!

Part of it was having a plan–inaction is the child of chaos! (Did someone ever say that, or did I just make that saying up?!?) Instinctively, I knew this. Therefore, I consulted the back of their bags and arranged them by height and color. The Daffodils were a bit taller than the Tulips, The Narcissus were a bit smaller than my other variety of Tulips–etc.

directions for daffodils

I kept telling myself the whole time, as my fingers froze in the wind and rain, and I abandoned my wet, muddy gloves which I kept using to wipe my nose (which wouldn’t stop running because of the COLD) thus creating a muddy face, I kept telling myself–I will so, so, so appreciate this in SPRING!!

I came back into the house looking, I’m sure, the worst I’d ever looked in my entire life. My coat was wet and dirty, my boots were muddy from top to bottom, my hair was wildly escaping my knit cap, my face, my hands, my fingernails–every inch of me covered, it seemed!

What was I to do besides jump in the hot tub–part of whole Spring/Summer Garden and patio renovation–the fruits of our labor! I sat in the cold rain, soaking, relaxing, thinking—Wow, I can’t wait for Spring! Then, Maggie, my dog, ran to the neighbor’s house, stole their new puppy and the two of them came running back to our house chased by the neighbors. (Kind of ruined the ambiance).

As for the Dahlias–I’d almost forgotten to give an update on them. The big question was, How much do I love my Dahlia bulbs? Do I love them enough to dig them up and preserve them through winter in peat moss, as McDowell recommended? Or, do I let them tough it out and buy a couple more five dollar packs in Spring?

Here’s my answer to that question-

dahlias dug up for fall

dahlia tubers

They’re family–these flowers–how could I let them suffer through winter and possibly die?!? They are now my good friends who brought me so much joy at so small a price.

Notice how large they grew–is this an omen of wonderful things to come?!?

Did you do any Fall gardening? Any planning ahead for Spring? Any special friends brought inside or dug up?

Happy Autumn, everyone!

3 responses to “Autumn in the Garden

  1. You are far more ambitious than I’ve been :/

    Though the home improvements, siding, roof, etc, took precedence this fall. I’ll be planning some revised landscaping in the spring, mostly removing a few small shrubs and replacing them with the ornamental grasses, which I love. And maybe another hydrangea bush, another cherished favorite. I love the way those blossoms change throughout the seasons.

    But still, I’ve never planted bulbs. I don’t know why, because it seems so rewarding. (Well, the Spring part, when they spring forth). So other than leaf cleanup and garden cleaning, no autumn gardening here. We did get tomatoes this summer, but not many with a very rainy July that just about wiped them out. Until next year …

    P.S. Okay, I’m definitely putting E,P,L on my winter reading list, to “harvest” more inspiration. You’ve convinced me!

    • emilydickinsonsgarden

      I think I’ve brainwashed you–it’s E,P,L this, E,P,L that! Apparently, for me, it’s The World According to Eat, Pray, Love!! Though the planting of bulbs has more in common with Olive Kitteridge–didn’t she plant 2000? I thought that was a very telling part of her personality.

      I love the ornamental grasses, too. They’re beautiful even when they turn brown. And, I love to see them sway in the wind. Love it!

      Not one bulb, Joanne? Not one? ….I guess I haven’t been as good at sending you subliminal messages about the wonder that is bulbs.

  2. 200 bulbs, that’s wonderfu! Think of how beautiful your yard will look in a few short months:) I think I only planted 30 this year. I haven’t triend dahlias yet. Maybe next year. I dug up my elephant ear and glads so they wouldn’t die.

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