African Garden + work

It's A Bittersweet Symphony

As the garden begins its slow descent into the big sleep of winter, I contemplate the beauty and tragedy of the garden, in the face of a forecast calling for sub-freezing temperatures this weekend. Wednesday was one of those perfect days, warm with a cloudless sky of the deepest blue. I had a hard time concentrating on garden chores and ended up instead just enjoying the afternoon.Dickens's often quoted sentiment, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," easily applies to mid-October here in Chicagoland, which can be anything from 80F and sunny to below freezing with heavy wet snow. This is about the time when the trees show off their blazing foliage color, although many turn earlier, and some don't turn until nearly Thanksgiving. But October really is the beginning of the end.

Many perennial stalwarts that bloomed all summer have finally given up, including plants that last year bloomed into November. I think the near-drought conditions of September may be the reason, but, if I'm honest with myself, I have to admit that last autumn was as close to perfect as I'm ever likely to see. But even in an average year, October is a special month.Many plants have an added beauty in October.

They reach their peak of color just before fading completely.

October brings to the fore the cruel ironies of autumn: the Rose that stopped blooming in August has buds again now

at the same time as the ripening hips.

It's doubtfully that those buds will ever open now.Similarly, the Dahlia 'Fascination'

is blooming the best it's done all year, and the flowers are perfect now that the Japanese Beetles are dead. I'll probably have to dig it up Monday after it gets zapped by the cold.Most of the Asters are on the wane now,

and the Goldenrod (Solidago 'Fireworks') is done,

but the very last plant in the garden to bloom now has buds.

It's a time of intense color and astonishing beauty.

The quality of the light adds to it, making October skies the most brilliantly blue of the year.

I am haunted by the beauty of the garden and the magic of October, whatever the weather brings.

art, autumn, blooming, flowers, garden, garden philosophy, plants, Rose, summer, time, and more:

It's A Bittersweet Symphony + work