Wednesday, October 30, 2013
As the first frost hits I say a sorry goodbye to the blackened dahlias and look around for the next wave of beauty. I don’t have to look far—Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ has turned brilliant red and Ginkgo ‘Autumn Gold’ is true to its name. Viburnum xanthocarpum is filled with orange berries that gleam in autumn’s light, while long chains of burgundy fruit dangle from the branches of Leycesteria formosana. What fun to see trees and shrubs that have been standing quietly by, suddenly shouting, “Look at me!” I love the slower pace of autumn, when very little is urgent. That’s when I take a leisurely look at the garden. What do I still love, and what no longer pleases me in my little kingdom? What will live and what will die is totally up to me and my faithful spade. Lately I’ve been digging up masses of redtwig dogwood. Once a lifesaving filler on this acre of wetland, it’s colonized way too far, and is now occupying what my gardening buddy Doug calls “prime real estate.” Over the winter I’ll build up the soil by composting on site, and this spring there will be fertile ground ready for containers of Viburnum, Physocarpus and Loropetalum waiting to put their feet in the ground. Always looking forward to the next season, to the next new plants, to the next pleasures—a gardener’s life is a year-round delight.