November 11th, 2006

Garden, late fall

Those of you who follow this blog know that when I bought my house I bought the responsibility of gardening, and I’ve tried to step up to the plate and do right by it.

I’ve posted photos of the garden bed in the front, the sunny one–in spring, in summer (can’t find those, so no link), and in fall. It’s always beautiful.

And here it is now, in very late fall, before being cut down and put to sleep for the winter. Although you might say it’s dead, it’s really not; it’s just resting.

Even in this brown and faded state, it seems quite beautiful nonetheless, in a sad and subtle way. At least, I think so. And strangely enough, the roses are still in bloom.

Last year I published this same poem around this same time. It’s Robert Frost’s “Reluctance,” very appropriate to the season:

Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question ‘Whither?’

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

5 Responses to “Garden, late fall”

  1. Webutante Says:

    Your garden is lovely even as it fades to winter. I love to garden too, and also to visit gardens when I travel. I seek their sancturay at all times of the year as their beauty and hues change from vibrant colors to neutrals. In DC, I love the Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral as well as Dumbarton Oaks formal gardens owned by Harvard, and the Gardens at Mt. Vernon. There seems to be a peace in such places and a sense of sanctury not found in many other parts of a big city.

  2. meade Says:

    Nice garden photos. And I love the way each stanza of rhyme and meter in Frost’s poem brings to mind’s eye images of leaves loosening, spiraling, descending, and finally resting on the earth.


  3. jodetoad Says:

    Moved from where gardening is possible to the desert, where calling a monumental challenge is an understatement.

    I’m in withdrawals.

    Nice garden; damn, I’m jealous.

  4. Steve Says:

    Very nice garden. Gardens take a lot of work. I do some work in our yard (not the same thing), mostly weeding; that sort of thing. This time of the year I will have to spend about 20 hours bagging up all the leaves. I go out with the dogs and pretty soon the cats start coming by, one by one. It’s a pleasant way to spend an hour or two; not 2-3 days 8 hours a day, which is the usual mid-November regimen.

    Key element is that I generally avoid gardening, because, like the poem, I was raised to always be doing something, and something “meaningful”, like reading or writing or planning or dubbing recordings, not to be doing something seemingly Sysiphean like gardening. But the process is itself, and afterwards, you’re calmer, and put the traffic in words into a better perspective. Sleep better, enjoy things better.

    I never thought leaves were a metaphor of anything, except that, as a child, when I saw leaves covered with frost, I always thought of Corn Flakes.

  5. Fausta Says:

    Lovely post!
    While The Husband usually takes care of our garden, this year I planted four lavender plants and they are still doing fantastic. They take full sun and do well in the summer heat, but they are sturdy enough to outlast the mums. And they attract butterflies, too.
    I think I’ll get 4 more next year.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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