“You spend an awful lot of time agonizing over leaves,” Joe, my partner, said to me the other day as we drove around the neighborhood. His statement was in response to my noticing that some homeowners had bagged their leaves in plastic bags while others had bagged them in recyclable brown paper bags, which the township now requires.
I admit I have a hard time letting go of summer.
Even with leaves changing and falling and blooms fading and browning, I’m still reluctant to clean the beds and put them to rest. Even the weather is having a difficult time falling into a seasonal rhythm. There are days that are windy and evenings that are slightly frosty, and then there are the times when it feels mild and balmy.
So, with camera in hand, it’s last call in the garden, one last chance for flowers to bask in the spotlight before a hard frost takes them away.
I stepped outside this morning and I could see my breath. Clearly, summer left the building — or at the very least, it left the garden. Almost immediately, I began singing Lana Del Rey’s smash, “Summertime Sadness” — or, rather, just the chorus: “I’ve got that summertime, summertime sadness, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh.”
I’ve actually been a little melancholy over the past few days. Maybe it was the 9/11 anniversary. Maybe it’s the start of another school year. And maybe it does have to do with the change in weather. While the cooler weather signals the time to clean and store terra cotta pots, elephant ears, and canna — as well as myself — for the winter months, there is something else on my mind.
Yes, that is the question – and it’s a question I didn’t even knew I had until a recent Monday night Twitter conversation.
A few times over the summer, I’ve participated in The Garden Chat, a group of gardeners who “meet” in the Twitterverse to discuss gardening, ask gardening questions, share garden photos — it’s kind of like an old-fashioned neighborly talk over the fence, only the fence is really, really big.
The Great Heat of 2013 has come and gone, and there is joy and gladness throughout the land — and when I say land, I mean my garden. In fact, I think I can actually hear a collective sigh of relief coming from the plants (and maybe some of you) as more reasonable, seasonable summer temps return.
And when I look around the garden, it’s clear that some plants are still sporting nasty sunburns. Some of the hydrangea heads, for example, are tipped with brown.
But it’s the zinnias that garner all of my praise. I planted various kinds of zinnias this year — more than usual — because I knew that I would be unable to start my usual annuals from seed in the potting shed. I needed an easy seed — one that could be directly sown — and zinnias were the obvious choice.
And I’m so glad I did. As the temperatures rose, they stood tall and proud, empty of fear and full of color. I like to think they were the cheerleaders of the garden, encouraging the other plants to hold on. I’ll let their photos do the talking.
Which plants in your garden would you cheer for?