It’s playtime in our garden in September. Happy recess between hot and cold seasons. Plants are putting a finish on blooms and berries.
Bees and butterflies follow the sun, attend progressive end-of-the-season nectar parties. Birds buzz, chirp, chip, while they scour the duff down below or commandeer berries from above.
The livin’ is easy, a time for fattening beneath a kindly sun: Gather your necessaries, but play a little, too.
In the early days of spring, a long time back now, plants were in a frantic hurry-rush-hurry. Make an entrance, stand tall, strut your stuff, look beautiful, bask in oohs and aahs. Seize the day. Be a star.
Brush off insects, hide from rabbits, shrink from deer. Minor annoyances, these last, as the vaudeville act goes on. Life in spring is one glorious fast track.
Come summer, enthusiasm dribbles. The marvelous spring show is gone. Bugs invade. Heat and humidity smother. Fawns and rabbits seem ravenous. Plants in tatters, or prostrate, or weeding in like bullies, this was not supposed to happen.
Now it’s not look at me, but leave me alone so I can droop and snooze. A drink of water is the highlight on droughty days. Let those warm-weather, molly-coddled, johnny-come-lately annuals do their stand-up routines and bask in oohs and aahs.
And what of the gardener? Rush-hurry-rush to clean up in spring. A chivalrous white knight in the garden makes sure star charges are displayed to perfection, basks in reflected glory. Doesn’t it look wonderful! And boy o boy, this is the best spring ever!
Until bugs, heat, and humidity brandish their blades. Chivalry takes a back seat. The all-conquering white knight becomes a wimpy white potato reading magazines on a couch. The partially (only partially) guilt-ridden, fair-weather gardener says, Nature Must Take its Course Without Me.
Maybe if I don’t look. . .Rainy days doubly bless the gardener: Less hose-work and legal, guilt-free couch days. There should be more of them.
Come play time in September, the gardener smiles along with the plants. Time to catch up and pick up and cut down and prune off in an ambling sort of way. Time to enjoy the garden without being a white knight.
Time to savor rogue fragrances, delicate, carried by scant breezes that would barely register on any man-made scale. Time to take pictures of a bright landscape under a bright afternoon sun before it all fades away.