I love this time of year. The holidays signal the change of seasons, as do warm days and cool nights. A certain rhythm returns to daily life after a summer filled with long days, vacations and all things outdoors.
At my house – maybe at yours as well – one of the outdoor activities is gardening. We are far from master gardeners. We dabble in gardening. It’s a hobby, a sometime passion that we’d like to be more involved in but work often gets in the way.
I have friends who read seed catalogs each winter, looking forward to spring and planting. They do their research about trimming, planting, feeding and watering. They are a source of information and a resource for finding answers to questions about all things gardening. I admit to being a little bit envious of that knowledge and ability.
We try. But the bushes in the front of our home are slightly overgrown. It’s hard to make that first cut on a thriving shrub, and what if you cut at the wrong time of year? We try to do research, but there are many conflicting answers to most of the questions. So we hesitate. And so it goes.
We have a couple of terraced planting areas that have hosted a variety of vegetable plants over the years. But without daily care, the weeds and squirrels take over. Or maybe a groundhog. Or a mole. Not really sure. And we don’t want to kill the weeds with chemicals because we’re growing food. Anyway, this year, we let those gardens go. Maybe next year there will be time to plant them the right way.
A couple of years ago, an overgrown area behind our house was cleared thanks to some utility work. It was a perfect spot for a wildflower garden, visible from all parts of the house and our two backyard decks. This became my husband’s domain because, truth be told, I’m completely freaked out by ticks and the wildlife that lived in that overgrown space.
My husband worked all summer, doing his research, planting native plants, fighting the regrowth of unwanted plants. The flowers were beautiful.
The following year, there were weeds, but he got them under control by hand. Then, an unfortunate back problem made the garden off limits for my husband. And now that space is completely back to its original overgrown state, and the animals have returned too. Yes, there are a few more flowers that rise above the weeds. But, for the most part, you can’t even tell that anyone had worked on the spot.
Now, we concentrate on containers. And that has been more successful. For us, containers are manageable. And the pleasure they brings knows no bounds. During a summer like the one we’ve just had, we’ve been a little more diligent than usual about watering. But we can handle that. I can even talk to the container gardens, which, I’m told, helps the plants grow better. And when I have my morning coffee surrounded by color, it brings a smile to my face and I feel content.
But now, during my favorite season, these blooms are fading. It’s time to clean out these boxes and get ready for the colder weather. Nothing worse than seeing flower boxes with dead plants, right?
Perhaps this column should have been written in the spring. But it’s nice to think about the flowers of the past summer and remember that it’s a cycle, just like the cycle of the year.
This issue of The Jewish Voice features our fall home and garden section. It won’t be too many months until we’re thinking about our spring home and garden issue!
And speaking of yearly cycles, you’ve probably already noticed the 2016-2017 Guide to Jewish Living tucked into your paper. We hope you enjoy this annual publication. Soon, look for it online, where you can refer to it and learn about our advertisers year-round. And remember to visit these advertisers, use their services and products, and tell them you saw their ads in The Jewish Voice or on our website.