Gardening Magazine

Grow Write Guild #13: Garden, and Gardener, in Transition

By Missinghenrymitchell

The prompt for Grow Write Guild #13 is to write about the topic of the garden’s end or transition.

I am fortunate to live in a horticultural haven: USDA Zone 7b, where winter happens but not for very long, the ground doesn’t often freeze beyond a slight crust, and a wide variety of glorious plants are both winter- and summer-hardy.

I look forward to the transition from summer into fall. For one thing, at this time of year it’s truly pleasant to be outside in the garden: mosquitoes dissipate along with the humidity, the kids are in school and the days are (mostly) quiet, and nurseries put everything on sale.  But what I enjoy most about this season is the changing of pace that always occurs, particularly within the gardener herself.

What is it about autumn that makes me slow down? People around me continue to hurry as much as ever; the calendar is always chock-full. The list of gardening tasks doesn’t shorten: rake, shred, compost, repeat. I never get the fall food crops in on time, but I’m not bothered. It will happen, in its own time.

My husband would remark that he hasn’t seen me slow down, but I definitely feel a disconnect between life’s flurry around me telling me to hurry up, and my response to that directive. The (relative) ease with which I can slip into a (relative) state of Zen is most pronounced in the fall, and most pronounced in the garden than elsewhere.

red japanese maple leaf

Maybe it’s the mornings of chilly rain that make me want to burrow under a blanket. Perhaps it is because I know I have several slow-moving months ahead of me in the garden, with fewer weed and disease battles in my immediate path, that I can feel so at ease. But mostly I think it’s something deeply biological: Nature is telling me, like she is telling most other living creatures in my environment, to prepare to rest. It’s refreshing to be reminded of my connection to nature; that, opposable thumbs and technology use notwithstanding, I am not terribly different from the rest of the living world.

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