In late summer, my flower garden becomes a tangle, and I remember these words from a favorite poet:
In my end is my beginning. – Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot
I have nearly reached the end I have been aiming at since I ordered seeds last winter.
And in this tangle are seeds I can gather, setting in motion the garden’s next beginning.
Every garden in every place revolves on a circle of the seasons.
Even in a tropical garden, where the weather seems much the same month after month, plants have their times for blossom and fruit.
We are nearing the equinox (fall in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern). It is a tipping point, and that is a significant moment in the garden.
It is a moment when we work and plan for NOW and for LATER.
Here are the tasks I prioritize at the tipping point of the year:
- Seeds: Sow them, gather them. Right now I am gathering and spreading seeds from three favorites: Verbena bonariensis, Daucus carota dara (chocolate lace flower), and Papaver somniferum ‘Lauren’s Grape’ (poppy)
- Bulbs: Enjoy them, plant them. Remember that narcissus are deer and pest resistant and do well planted anywhere, even out in the lawn! I prefer to plant tulips in containers or in beds near the house where deer are less likely to roam.
- Plan: Think ahead. Right now, I’m enjoying the flowering ornamental grasses so much that I’m making notes about which grasses I want to plant more of next spring (because in my zone 6 climate, grasses are more likely to survive the winter if they have spread their roots all summer long). I will definitely be adding more Prairie Dropseed grass. And, I will make planting Purple Fountain grass in containers a priority next spring because right now I wish I had big pots of them!
- Plant: Spring and Fall are the best times of year to plant. Some think shrubs and trees do even better when fall-planted because there is usually enough rain and the soil is already warm.
Because the garden moves through a circle of seasons, our own thinking, planning, dreaming, and working must follow that same circle.
In the garden, we are always looking back and looking ahead even as our feet are firmly planted in the present.