Six on Saturday: Gratitude

Camellia sasanqua

It has been the sort of week when we look for reasons to step outside or linger by the living room windows. It has been so beautiful, we both just revel in the gorgeous color as leaves on the autumn wind and collect in colorful collages on our still green ‘lawn.’ Several more Camellia shrubs began blooming this week. We still have vibrant red pineapple sage and the most electric blue Mexican sage one can stand this late into the season.

The threat of frost has haunted us all week. I keep finding more and more tender plants to bring indoors to save. Every time I say that I’ve finished for the year, I notice another pot of something. Today it was the Christmas cactus in bud on the back deck, a few seedling citrus trees and some succulents.

This soft shade of grey-green found on Lamb’s Ears, Stachys byzontina, will be one of the fashionable colors for 2022 according to some paint manufacturers and designers.

We have enjoyed bright sunny days, brisk autumn winds and nights flirting with frost. But each morning we wake up, look outside, and breathe a sigh of relief that our garden remains beautifully vibrant. No frost yet. We are very, very grateful.

I walk around each day and look for what has changed. The Hostas have turned vibrant yellow. The Arum italicum have pushed up to fill empty spots in pots and beds. Leaves grow brighter by the hour. Geraniums still bloom around the front porch, and ginger lilies still perfume the air. Woody cuttings I stuck in pots earlier this month resist now when I give them a gentle tug.

Arum italicum appears in autumn and fades by May. It provides a profusion of bright, evergreen leaves through the winter months. I’m planting new tubers for this European perennial this month.

Some might watch leaves flying on the breeze and feel sad to see them fall. Some might read the brilliant scarlets and golds on our trees as a sure sign of the season’s ending. But gardeners learn to live with a deep understanding of constant, continual change and transformation. As leaves fall, buds swell along the bare branches already holding spring’s flowers and next summer’s leaves.

It has been a very busy week, and I only scratched the surface of my mental ‘to do’ list. I guess I stood by the windows daydreaming too much, or wandered aimlessly among the lingering flowers catching their scent and watching for late bees. As I walk through the fluffy headed stems of goldenrod birds take flight and seek shelter in a nearby shrub.

Acer palmatum

I should have been cutting down the Cannas. But they are still in bloom. I should have been cutting out that goldenrod before its seeds spread much further in the wind. I should have planted more of the plump bulbs, so full of promise, still resting in their mesh bags in the garage.

But instead I photograph the sunrise turning hickory leaves into golden stained glass. And smile with gratitude, content to wander for another day in our garden animated by the wind, but untouched by first frost.

With appreciation to The Propagator, who hosts Six on Saturday each week.

3 comments

  1. I suspect that cannas get frosted to the ground there. I prefer to cut mine to the ground because it is easiest, and also because I do not find the foliage to be so appealing through winter. It can look rather discolored and tattered. Some of my best ‘Australia’ canna needed to be dug at the wrong time, while they were still growing and blooming late in summer, because their planter box was in need of repair. I heeled them in so that they could ‘survive’ long enough to eventually go dormant for autumn. I intended to share them with someone who had use for them. However, they started growing! They now look great, but just in time for autumn! I will share them anyway, with instruction to just cut them back as the foliage gets shabby. Anyway, what I meant to ask was, can you leave cannas through winter, or must they be dug and brought in to avoid frost? They can be so weirdly variable. I know that some of the ‘basic’ species can live outside through winter in Oklahoma, but I also noticed that the fancy garden varieties, which are likely more closely related to tropical species, get dug and stored. I never bothered to ask why that is done, or if it is necessary for their survival.
    Also, have I explained the problems with growing citrus from seed? I mention it to so many that I can not remember who I have mentioned it to.

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