Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I love this season as a time of transition and as a time of hope. We forget not every climate gets to enjoy the kind of fall display we have here and because of the transition from warm to colder weather we have the opportunity to find hope in the garden. For me Hope comes alive as I tidy and prep the garden for winter. The tasks we do now prepare the garden, the lawn and for those of us who have them, the pond for Spring. It makes me feel hopeful that by doing these small jobs in my outdoor space, I am paving the way for stronger healthier outdoor spaces. And let’s be honest, isn’t Spring all about hope?
For me hope in winterizing the garden is as much about what you do, as it is about what you don’t do. Personally, I like to leave Ornamental Grasses standing tall through the winter months so there is some texture and interest in the garden. Small birds such as Sparrows and Finches will appreciate the grasses and the seed heads from plants such as Sedum, Coneflower and Black Eyes Susan. These seed heads will augment the birdfeed we put out at this time of year. Even during the deepest part of winter to see birds in the yard and the tops of these plants poking through the snow lets me know the start of a new growing cycle is imminent. For me this is a powerful and energizing feeling.
Believe it or not I also find hope in proper tool maintenance. Funny but true. The pair of Felco Secateurs my grandfather gave me more than 20 years ago are still working because I take them apart, clean them with bleach and oil them with a bit of sewing machine oil. I do it every year, like a ritual. When I put an extra layer of mulch on my Butterfly Bush and Mums, it takes me back to gardening with my Dad as a little kid. I’m not a little kid anymore but I always feel young again when the spring arrives; hope is in the smell of the soil as the ground thaws. It reminds me of my past and to look forward to the future.
One of my favorite quotes is ‘Gardeners plant Hope’. I truly believe this. Over the next couple of weeks, we tuck our gardens, lawns and tools to bed for along nap and they renew themselves in the Spring. How can this thought not make you smile? It is rooting hope for your future.