Summer has slipped away.
The gardenview outside my kitchen window confirms this unavoidable truth.
Across the top of my neighbor's fence, a Sweet Autumn Clematis is shedding white petals like snow and going to seed. The leaves of all the big old Hydrangea Bushes are leathery and thick, their mophead blossoms, russet, violet, sage, parchment; papery to the touch.
Azalea, Mountain Laurel, Barbery and Crepe Myrtle are edged in wine and violet. Nandina is bleeding its seasonal maroon and burgundy; color it will hold through all the winter weather.
Roses are spindley but insist on making yet another bud, competing for the honor: "Last Rose of Summer".
Today I divided and moved that overgrown clump of Midnight Blue Japanese Iris , spreading it between the baby Hydrangea, newly planted Peach Oriental Poppies and Purple Lobelia. I try to picture these new companions together next spring. I am not sure if the Poppies will bloom before the Iris, but I know those new little Hydrangea will take over when the Poppies have died down to nothing and the Iris have gone to grass.
I am pleased with the addition of some very interesting little evergreens; looking forward to checking on them when little else draws me from the comfort of the warm house into the wind and cold.
This garden I now tend is of my childhood: My Father's Garden.
I grew up on this ground, played amongst these bushes, picked these flowers and wove chains of them for my hair. I brought fat stalks of his fragrant Hyacinth in Spring and Musky scented Chrysanthemums in the Fall as offerings to my grade school teachers.
I watched him turn the soil in the Spring...methodically sliding his shovel in, lifting a clod, turning it over, and slicing in to break it up ; one shovel next to the last, evenly in a row, never out of order. He planted Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplants and Broccoli, Zinnias, Impatiens,Begonias, and Geraniums.
The Blue Atlas Cedar, Norway Spruce, and Japanese Black Pine (he bought for a dollar )have grown to tower above the house...sadly these last few years, we lost the Black Pine to a plague of pests and disease they could not withstand.
Now I turn the soil in the Spring and picture him, shirtless on that first warm day of his favorite season.
It is a rich inheritance for me. I have the good fortune to return to my roots.