Monday, December 20, 2010

12.16 Not Ready For Winter


There is a lot I didn’t get to.
I feel bad about the pots of hardy mums I never got to transplant into the ground. There is limit to how hardy mums can be when you leave them inside the pots where the soil freezes hard after a few nights in the twenties. They do a lot better in the earth, which holds out some hope against a sudden, deep freeze.
Some plants and shrubs that should have been pruned were not. How far down do I want to take a butterfly bush or an autumn joy sedum? I didn’t decide quickly enough, put the decision off, so now they’ll winter in their current unkempt condition and straggle in the snow like their cousins in the wild wood. Actually, I’m looking forward to a snowy background for that straggling.
I did not make much progress on the spreadsheet we started on plant care, which, if I ever do find the right information and plug it in, should remind me what to do when. I have notes from previous years, a bundle of loose papers. Redaction is required.
Am I violating the social contract with my perennial plants, the ones I’m counting on to perform again next year?
Or is the green world with its own let-it-be, let-it-go response to winter’s bitter cold showing me the way? The Tao of winter may be just this: give up, the fight is over. For a season. You can go back to hands-on management in March when the sprouts of the survivors begin pushing up again.
The naked branches of a lilac or wiegelia or the new little viburnum I put in in October may look cold and bare, but I don’t think they’re suffering. If they are, it’s too late for me to do anything about it. I had my chance in the now balmy-by-comparison days of short-eared November. Nothing is gained by feeling guilty.
Learn by example, the garden says, rest and go back to your roots. In my case that mostly means reading, plus a fair bit of lying about.