“But we should not mourn the summer garden. It was not more or less beautiful because it was temporary. If we were smart we took advantage of summer to experience as many moments of garden joy as we possibly could.” —Jason, from the blog Garden in a City
Yesterday was the fall equinox, that time when there is a balance between day and night. In Maine, fall is perhaps its most beautiful season, a dazzling time of bright blue skies, blazing leaves, warm days, and cool evenings.
However, Jason’s lovely description perfectly captures the bitter-sweet mood that northern gardeners feel when autumn comes. We should “not mourn the summer garden,” but in our heart of hearts, many of us do. Gone are the lilies, the bee balm, and the phlox. The stalwart black-eyed Susans are fading fast. The modest sedums, with their blush of pink, provide some consolation, but the joyous burst of color in the gardens is over for another year.
Yet Jason is also right about taking as many moments of garden joy as we can in the summer. Clif and I certainly did. Almost every evening this summer and indeed this September, we took our supper plates out to the patio, where we smelled the spicy bee balm and listened to the crickets, the loons, and the barred owls. In August, as dusk fell, we admired the hummingbird moths. We were still in blissful ignorance about the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde nature of these little creatures, of how the beautiful, ethereal moths lay eggs that hatch to become marauding, voracious hornworms. (I do want to note that not all hornworms attack tomatoes, but the offspring of the hummingbird moths that visited our garden certainly did.)
The gardens are in tatters, and next week I’ll begin cutting them back.
Cutting back the garden always makes me feel a little blue, but there are certain consolations. That bright sky, the warm sun, and the changing leaves. Now that summer’s heat has gone, time spent around the firepit.
And, of course, apple pie, my favorite kind of pie to make. This year is surely a banner year for apples. The wild trees by the side of the road are laden with fruit, and yesterday, on a walk, I snitched a couple of dropped apples from beneath a neighbor’s tree. How good and crisp and white they were, with nary a sign of one single worm. I am thinking of asking if I can snitch some more drops. (Cheryl, I promise to invite you over for apple pie or crisp. Your choice.)
So onward to fall. Every season—even the long dark of winter—has its beauty and pleasures. And like our friend Burni, we intend to squeeze as much pleasure as we can out of each season.