Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Garden in Decline

I know some are upset that summer is over and fall is here, followed too closely by winter, but I am rejoicing. The rain has returned, the weather is cooler, the days are getting shorter and darker and Halloween is coming.

Happy First Day of October.

I don't even mind that the garden is in a state of decline. There's beauty in death (an appropriately Halloweenish state of mind). It appeals to my morbid sensibilities. If Goth had existed when I was a girl, I would have been one.

Echinacea seedheads against vibrant purple Asters makes quite a contrast

I like to leave them for the  birds

Yellowing Syneleisis foliage

Mukdenia never dies pretty, like in all the internet photos of it; in my garden it just collapses to the ground like an ornamental rhubarb in the heat of summer

Pacific Fire vine maple

An interesting pattern on a Brunnera leaf

Drought-stressed Hosta 'Sum and Substance' leaf

A cup-shaped variegated Hosta leaf has caught a bit of fall detritus

The oak leaves have started to turn

'Forest Pansy' Redbud leaves collect in a planting pocket of the recycled concrete wall

One redbud leaf caught in the colorful and still vibrant branches of an Arctostaphylos

Turning Peony foliage

The oakleaf Hydrangea flowers are all brown, but the leaves are all still quite green

The fall rains always bring on a flush of fungus

 How do you feel about autumn's many little deaths? There's a Shakespeare quote about sleep -- "Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care, The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, Chief nourisher in life's feast." I think of autumn (and winter) that way. Something has to balance spring and summer's exhausting exuberance, and feed next year's second chance at getting it right.


  1. I love autumn and part of that, as you so aptly described (with an assist from Shakespeare), is the promise associated with the fresh start it provides. I had some goth inclinations as a teen too and seriously considered dyeing my blond hair black (just to stir up perceptions) - my mother would have disowned me.

  2. Great post. It will help me appreciate the loss of all that summer exuberance. I am feeling the itch to get out and start cutting and slashing and cleaning and composting.

  3. I absolutely love the intro to this post, it makes me happy there are people who love this time of year. Your Echinacea seed heads are stunnng in their black state, almost worth growing for their beautiful death!

  4. I love the changing of the seasons and wouldn't like living somewhere where it was the same all year.

  5. I keep trying to picture you as a goth youth :-)
    The exuberance of spring and heat of summer tire me. I get a burst of energy when the clouds come in and I can finally put my visor away. Last year's Aster blooms convinced me I needed more. I divided a large clump, so this year my fall garden is glowing at dusk with of purple blooms. Death? What death?

  6. Yes, bring forth some cool, though dark is unlikely here. I enjoy all your color and damp leaves, again not much of that here...second spring starting with fall soon.

  7. Thanks for the laugh! It's never too late to go Goth! A bit of black hair dye, some dark lipstick, a bit of a wardrobe shift...Double dog dare you!
    With a foot in both camps I love summer because I've so much free time to frolic in my garden, visit those of others, and the nurseries are bursting with cool plants. There's also beauty in the garden's decline and promise of another year. Autumn is glorious with warm colors and celebrations. It's that whole winter thing that I could live without.

  8. Not ready to go to sleep yet - I still need to plant my bulbs!


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