Summers End and Thoughts About Time and Energy

I wonder if everyone feels just a bit disappointed every year at the end of the garden season. I know I do. So many things that I had planned to do never actually happened. No time. Not enough energy either.

The hostas are wrapping it up for another year
The hostas are wrapping it up for another year

Last night as I watered I noticed the hostas are starting to fade. Summer has rushed by as though on fast forward. But for the most part we have enjoyed our little garden.

The Fuschia is in it's prime
The Fuscia is in it's prime

The fuscia is gorgeous now, the grapes are starting to turn and the gooseneck loostrife is the best it’s ever been.

The gooseneck loostrife
The gooseneck loostrife
The grapes are beginning to ripen

The grapes are beginning to ripen

The day lilies, now almost finished and slumping, flower stalks dried out, were beautiful in their prime back in July. The unknown groups of purple flowered plants are now standing sporting only seed pods.

Earlier they were a riot of purple around the garden
Earlier they were a riot of purple around the garden
Now spent and ripened to seed
Now spent and ripened to seed

I am of two minds as to what to do about spent plants. On one hand I want to have a tidy garden and cut out or pull out all of this spent plant life. But I have noticed in past years that the birds do enjoy eating these seeds throughout the winter, benefitting from my negligence.

We had plans to find more plants that flowered all the way to September. Unfortunately, only the solitary dahlia survived the winter here, which had us lose quite a few plants, like the hebe. Somehow we never got around to finding all those plants although we did find a few like the maidenhair fern.

The maidenhair fern

But now our inexperience and lack of time have caught up with us.

I know I have to accept the fact that summer is almost over. Plants set seed, die off, they have no regrets. They have done their jobs. But I, not ready for it to end, still wish for a green and flowering garden. Ah well, time to accept reality.

And maybe it’s also time, if we had any, to start thinking ahead to next summer and make some solid plans to get the plants we didn’t get this summer. After all we’ll have all winter to make plans. Or so we hope.

But time, time and energy, those are harder things to get. By the time summer is over I have generally run out of energy. I’ve come to the conclusion that the only people who have those wonderful luxuries of time and energy to spend extravagantly on their gardens don’t have so many other things they also want to do. Like teaching mosaics, making art projects and sculptures, participating in and preparing for art shows, or building a business, not to mention reading, dinner parties with friends, garage sailing, too much to list.

Maybe I should spend some time this winter thinking about how to have a garden that looks green and wonderful all summer without needing so much time and energy. Should I should switch to more bushes? Or more perennials? But I know what we really need are perennials that bloom at different times over the length of summer.

Or maybe I need to think about the fact that energy and time are limited, especially if you want to do other things besides garden. I’m one of those people who wants it all. But the end of the summer in the garden is teaching me that I must prioritize, compromise and reassess what I really need against what I want. Ah, maybe that’s the answer or at least a path to explore.


2 thoughts on “Summers End and Thoughts About Time and Energy

  1. mary-lou says:

    Very philosophical this. Maybe we’re to take a cue from our gardens, they’ve spent their energy doing what they do, living in glorious colour and diversity and being a part of the great cycle of life, but now it’s time to send out seed for the coming year and after that rest a bit. All of which you said in this beautifully thoughtful post.

    I think I’m with you on leaving the seed for the birds and other critters. I was pulling old canes from the loganberries until I saw the wasps buzzing around the dried-up fruit we never got to harvest this summer. I was too preoccupied with keeping the tomatoes watered to pay much attention to those two little clumps of berry patch, but now the leaves are turning a beautiful orangey-red and they are a true reminder of the changing seasons. I’m also happy to see the neighhbourhood Stellar’s jay enjoying the bounty from the nearby walnut and hazelnut trees. He is such a pleasure to watch. Each season has so much to offer, thanks for the reminder Helen.

    And now I know what that lone plant is in our container box: a gooseneck loostrife! I will let it seed and be bountiful!

  2. Lia Fraser says:

    Beautifully said, Helen and Mary-Lou. I,too, believe there is a time to rest, as Mother Nature does. After all, if we bloomed and looked glorious constantly, we’d soon run out of gas!

    To be in touch with the seasons of nature, is to be in touch with our true selves and what better way to see that than in our gardens.

    Thank you both for your very insightful comments.


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