October 31, 2022
The pumpkin in the picture above is the very volunteer pumpkin that grew up out of our burn pit!
The bright greens of summer transformed into the warm hues of fall, and my garden wears those blush and gold tones right now. The garden is performing its last lovely show before resting for the year.
Though I am always sad to say goodbye to my garden for the year, I always enjoy the autumn display. A fall garden is something spectacular, subtly dramatic, and only those with an observant eye can perceive all its beauty.
To some, fall is full of “weeds” and overgrowth, but ever since I was a young girl I’ve enjoyed all the color and texture of the season even amongst the “weeds.” As a teenager I would walk our hilly subdivision on the hunt for anything vibrantly colored and full of interesting texture. Goldenrod, sumac (not the poisonous kind), and a variety fluffy white weeds filled my basket. Bringing my treasures home to the back patio, I set up a make-shift florist shop and began trimming, tucking, and arranging to my heart’s content. The arrangements had to stay on the back patio due to my mom’s severe allergies, but that fact never discouraged me from making my fall creations.
On one of my first fall foliage ventures, I brought home brightly colored red sumac because I could not resist the beautiful red berry-like feature. As soon as I brought it home, my mother made me go straight to the shower and bathe with dish detergent because she thought it was the poisonous kind! We have since learned how to tell the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous. To this day I still think of that memory when I see sumac.
Today I would like to share a few final glimpses of my garden before there is not much to see. I have very few shrubs in my garden, so winter is pretty unimpressive around here.
I’d also like to share a few lessons learned along the way this year. Gardening, like any other skill or endeavor, is a truly organic process. I am constantly learning!
The purple hyacinth beans were quite the adventure, and I truly enjoyed watching them grow. I think that plant is a little too dramatic and big for what I’m trying to achieve in my front garden. I overplanted the bean seeds and began to feel like Jack from the childhood story, Jack and the Beanstalk. One bean plant would have been plenty for the old swing frame, but I planted 6! My garden friend Susan chuckled at me for that garden blooper. I knew I had overdone it when my husband texted me a picture of the front of the house with purple hyacinth bean vines growing up into the gutter and soffit. He politely asked me to trim back my beast of a plant. Maybe if I get around to creating a vegetable garden in our yard this next season, I will plant a purple hyacinth bean on the fence.
I plan on moving the old swing frame out of the front garden. I enjoyed the adventure of growing a vining plant, but I plan to use the old swing in a vegetable garden (hopefully). The swing took up a lot of space in the garden, and I look forward to using that space in a different way next season.
Zinnias are some of my absolute favorite flowers, and I have a terribly hard time pulling up zinnia plants because I love them so much. Because I have planted zinnias for so many years, the seeds have spread and plants pop up all over my garden. Yet I think I will restrict them even more in next year’s garden. I allowed them to grow up front, and they completely blocked a visual of the plants toward the back of the garden.
Planting cosmos next to the house was a bad idea! These flowers are enormous, and their small root structure gives them little stabilization. In a typical southern summer storm, they fell over and never really recovered or blossomed well. I also do not think the cosmos flowers got the full sun they need since they were tucked under the roof overhang. Perhaps cosmos would do well out in an open garden with sturdy supports around them.
I struggle to keep up with watering. Perhaps, I am just lazy, but when the sun is blazing, I struggle to take care of my plants. This year since I invested so much financially in my garden I was more motivated to keep up with watering. Although standing outside each morning with a hot cup of coffee in one hand and a hand held nozzle watering my garden sounds lovely, I just do not have that luxury at this stage in my life. My children are not self-sufficient in the morning, so I need a more hands-off approach to watering. So a sprinkler works well for me at this season of life. Even this fall I have tried to water my plants more since it’s been so dry.
A few words of encouragement.
If you long for a garden but don’t know how to start, just start growing something. Don’t let perfectionism overtake you and keep you from planting something. Yes, I know there is science behind planting and understanding soil conditions, but do not feel like you have to read every book in the library before trying to grow something. Just plant a seed and watch it grow! If the seed doesn’t grow, try something else. Learn from each gardening experience.
Also, do not compare your garden to someone else’s garden. Gardens are like homes in that they are uniquely personal. One gardener’s plant preference may be entirely different than another gardener’s style. You also may have more or less time/energy than another gardener. So just like your home, enjoy what you have in your garden!
Happy gardening, friends!
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