I know zilch about gardening, so it was with trepidation that I approached a job that I thought probably had to be done – though of course since I know zilch about gardening I wasn’t at all sure – on our last visit to the Manse: cutting down the tall dead plants in the small perennial garden in front of the porch.
While I do love autumn, it was sad to see the plants that had looked so lovely just a few months before – before the Great Drought of Summer 2012 hit – now all shrivelled up and brown. Of course they will be back next year, but I fear that with the garden’s keeper now being me instead of the much more gardening-savvy members of the St. Andrew’s United Church Manse Committee, its upkeep this past year will not stand it in such great stead for next season. Pruning? Dividing? I know nothing of these things. I have trouble just ascertaining what’s a weed and what’s not. I have great hopes for our future garden at the Manse, but there is going to be a learning curve – not so much with vegetables, with which I have a fair bit of experience thanks to my childhood at the Manse, when we were all expected to weed the potatoes and the corn and the beans and all the other stuff in our huge vegetable garden. But perennial plants and flowers are a rather terrifying mystery to me.
Anyway, I slashed away at the dry brown stick-like stalks of what had, a few weeks earlier, been healthy tall yellow flowers – black-eyed Susans, maybe? I didn’t know if I was cutting them too low down or too high up, but at least a large section of them is now cut and disposed of and things look reasonably tidy in the garden.
Toward the end of the job, I was rather touched to come upon one last flower still bravely hanging on and doing its best to bloom and look bright amid the fall greyness and raw weather, and this is it. Not the last rose of summer, but you get the idea.
Hope to see you in the spring, garden!