The Guilty Gardener

By Michael Leach

Are you a guilty gardener? Do you appear to mourn the passing of the growing season with appropriate remorse and gloom, but can’t quite hide a twinkle in your eyLeach garden (11)e? Is there a certain hollowness in your sighs and tut-tuts about the demise of the gardening season and onset of winter?

I confess to feeling relief after the first walloping frost blackens tender plants. And why not? There are just so many times I can handle the “ings” of gardening:  watering, weeding, fertilizing, trimming, raking, sweeping, fretting, pleading, and cursing. (Plenty of opportunity remains for that last item, as watering houseplants is always fraught with spills, drips and splatters. But I digress.)

My advice — rejoice. We are into the season when the landscape becomes a grand dried floral arrangement.

Granted, chores remain. For me there are still evergreens to trim and shape. This I do around Thanksgiving to provide materials for a few Christmasy, winter-theme decorations. Outdoor containers are stuffed with evergreen branches and red twig dogwood stems to make them seem lifelike. Fortunately these branches won’t need a single “ing” for months. About thLeach garden (9)e time they begin looking ratty, it’s practically pansy season, and life is returning to the scene.

Even dragging the heavy patio chairs into the garage, has a certain delight –I’ve almost crossed every item off the chore list.

There is one gardening tie that even a killing frost can’t break. Being fond of fresh food, I cultivate cold-tolerant collards, kale and turnips under row covers in the vegetable garden. They are largely on autopilot. Harvests tend to be skimpy in January but by late February, longer and slightly wLeach garden (22)armer days prompt them to grow again. Sort of the same thing happens to me in late February.

By then I tire of hours of reading, tucked under a thick afghan on the sofa, whiling away weeks of seemingly endless nights.

We gardeners are rather like children building sand castles. We play amongst our plants for months. Somewhere about mid-autumn the fun wears thin, but we refuse to admit it. Children secretly hope for a big wave to give them a respite, gardeners a killing frost. We return refreshed and excited to our pleasures, whether in the surf or the soil.

7 responses to “The Guilty Gardener

  1. I do not find any reason to be so guilty in this process! Good pictures nevertheless.

  2. Really nice post my wish i will make my garden look like this. thanks

  3. Ron Wilson

    Excellent post…I have always felt the same way! I will mention this post when we’re back on Dec. 7 as a tease for Teresa coming on the show Dec 14! Nice job Michael Leach! rw

    ________________________________

  4. July Hays

    Another wonderful essay! Again you touched a chord. Please, please Michael, collect these in a book someday.

  5. Kathy green

    I could have written this myself, but not so eloquently. I know I feel a sense of relief when the long days of winter arrive and I can hibernate with my books and garden catalogs. After A long winter’s nap, I am ready to jump in and get my hands dirty.

  6. Robert Mullinax

    Michael, I enjoyed this story very much!!,

    Bob

    Sent from Carol’s and Bob’s iPad

    >

  7. Thank you all for taking time to comment on this post. Your kind words are like sunshine on this gloomy morning. — Michael

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