Ahead of schedule

I don’t want to crow in case any of you are feeling swamped – either by the end of the garden’s season or in anticipation of the holidays – but as Gail would say, “we’re in good shape!” Almost all of the gardens are cut back and tidied (we take our time cutting back the pollinator bed to give the birds a chance at the seedheads); Betsy, Gail and I spread beautiful, fluffy shredded leaves on the cutting garden yesterday; and earlier in the week, the garden volunteers came in to help decorate the 18′ Christmas tree in the mansion. That particular event is always bittersweet because it signals the official end of our season with the volunteers. That very morning, snow fell for the first time and sealed the deal.

As ahead-of-schedule as snow (and tree decorating) might seem to me (at this point in the driest autumn almost ever, any moisture is welcome), it did help the gardens ratchet another notch towards winter. Their beauty has finally shifted fully away from flowers (despite a few tardy blooms here and there) to the granola crunch of seeds, twigs, and berries. And I am adjusting my tastes accordingly. It’s hard sometimes for me to stay enthralled with the gardens as they fall apart and blow to bits but I’m working on renewing my annual appreciation for muted brilliance of winter. Helps that the fall here is still spectacularly colorful. And even though I’m really trying to let go of flowers and focus on the other stuff, it wouldn’t be November Garden Bloggers Bloom Day without a gratuitous shot of the native witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) blooming down next to our compost area. And I’m not sure I could do winter without visits to an indoor garden like our greenhouse …

Is there anything still blooming in your garden? (To see what’s in bloom around the country and the world click here and follow the links.) Or are you on schedule to enjoy the seedheads and berries instead?