Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Good Night Gardening

Goodnight Cherry Tree

October gardening is mainly about putting things to bed; it's a long drawn-out goodnight. A bit like the goodnights on Walton's Mountain. where the final credits were always accompanied by all those fond giggles and sugary-sweet voices, calling from room to room. Didn't they have doors to shut and privacy to safeguard? Did nobody ever get up to anything at night, that they didn't want to share with the whole clan?

Goodnight Nasturtiums.
You've outstayed your allotted span already.
It's time you went to sleep,
 the frosts will get you any night now.

The dahlias are getting very tired,
low October sunlight turns
the petals transparent.
Dahlias can't go to bed until they've
been frosted once or twice.
In the meantime, they are yawning, mouths open wide,
taking a last sip of sunwine to store for next year's growth.

It is definitely goodnight to leaves and prunings.
Gardener is belatedly testing the air for wind directions.
We don't want another disaster like last time,
when he scorched and burned some of my favourite
shrubs and miniature trees.

Crab Apples and Holly Berries
will remain awake for a while yet.
In fact, they will be eaten alive and
 provide nourishment for birds
until about Christmas.
I do hope the blackbirds will leave some of the
holly berries for my Christmas wreath.

The beech tree at the top of the field stands guard 
over garden and paddock. 
It's unfortunate that there is no beast to feast on the mast,
but I am fresh out of pigs.

No pigs but plenty of these.

And sadly, they will all go to sleep too,
hidden in cracks and crevices, in walls,
in the stones edging paths, under water butts,
in drainpipes and log piles.
They will all appear happily next year, fatter 
and more voracious than ever.

Drat them!


  1. smiles. kinda like the kids book, goodnight moon...hope the gardens sleeps well until she awakes to new beauty next year...smiles.

  2. Dark cold and definately time to say goodnight here...goodnight friko!

  3. Gardener knows which side his bread's buttered ay Friko :0)

  4. I love how everything goes into overdrive to produce its last bit of color or blossom. They must sense the approaching cold nights and the long sleep.

  5. I love how you give everything its own personality and human qualities. Your photos are lovely. The colours in the first one are amazing and that last little snail - endearing.

  6. We also are collecting deadfall and burning it, stacking wood and moving some plants indoors. No frosts predicted for weeks, got my fingers crossed.

  7. 'Fresh out of pigs'! Honestly, you should really keep a better eye on what you're running out of.

  8. Mmm! The smell of burning leaves, so integral to Autumn memories. We are not allowed bonfires here due to fire dangers. Sigh!

  9. A beautiful story of a garden tucking itself away until it bursts forth full of energy and vigour donning their spring fashions.

  10. Comforting to know I am not the only who talks in the garden as everyone is tucked in...one herbalist I know has been bringing tender rosemary, lavender and lemon verbena inside all week...she calls it "bringing the kids in..."

    Gardener still looks a little apprehensive - memories of singed leaves and shrubs?
    Enjoy this swift moving Autumn days.

  11. that beech tree is fantastic
    lucky you
    I enjoyed our walk together today Friko

  12. Last night's insomnia is catching up with me and what with all these 'goodnights' I'm headed for bed.

  13. Loved the Walton's analogy and the gorgeous photos. You, my dear, are a marvel.

  14. Walking along a leaf-strewn old road
    in a rural area along a river that runs
    near my home this morning, the sun's
    pale rays trickling through alder and
    maple branches, tracing abstract art
    in the wet grass, a young black lab
    ran up to me with a stick in it's
    mouth, wearing a rancher's red
    bandana. Old Beeno came to mind,
    and you--half a world away
    chronicling the death of summer
    and the coming of autumn so
    beautifully, so completely, and I
    felt close to you over there on
    your emerald isle, nestled in the
    small village, tending your garden,
    greeting the briskness of the fall
    fog on your early walks. So certainly
    continue to paint with words, and
    then add the perfect images too.
    Thanks so much,

  15. Not only was your prose rife with
    poetry, but so was mine. Re-reading
    my response to your wonderful post
    inspired me to write about my morning.


    Walking along a leaf-strewn
    overgrown access road
    along a quiet bend
    of the Puyallup River
    this morning, gulping
    the brisk fall fog rising off
    the brown water and wet fields
    owned by the last few
    maverick farmers stubbornly
    still using their land
    in the teeth of the damned developers,
    I watched the pale shadow tag
    created by the forehead of mid-October’s
    sun radiating through
    the slick moss-mantled dark alder
    branches as they painted abstract art
    on the wet grass before me, when
    I was warmly greeted by a young
    black labrador, charging toward me
    fast with his fat tail whipping the mist
    madly, a chewed stick in his smiling
    muzzle, wearing a red rancher’s bandana.

    After petting the squirming mass of dark puppy,
    I conversed a bit with it’s owner,
    a short man with thick glasses,
    garbed in denim, hatless and joyful--
    then walked on alone
    pleased that the chorus of birds
    sang just for me,
    and whatever meloncholy
    that had tagged along, vanished,
    as the river ran through it.

    Glenn Buttkus October 2010

  16. I feel like I just had a beautiful walk in your autumn garden; thank you!

    Trying to be organic about it this summer, I poisoned hundreds of slugs with beer, and they still poured forth in armies to forage on my small garden. The snails were out too, and not so fond of the beer. I tried to appreciate them by taking their picture, but even that was gross.

  17. A lovely post, Friko!

    You are inimitable

    Aloha from Hawaii

    Comfort Spiral


  18. Lovely pictures! But a little grumpy today, are we? ;-)

  19. Fading colour and Autumn bonfires. The curtain comes down on another Summer.

  20. What a kind thing to do, saying goodnight to all of nature. I'll sure everything will sleep better. Your choice of photos always zings it home.

  21. That first tree, red with the blue and red flowers in the background – that would be a painter’s delight I would imagine. Our trees are slowing turning color but since most of the trees in our yard are pine, it is quite green all the time. I heard that pansies do well in winter so I may ask my husband to take out the impatient which are too leggy and plant some pansies. Pansies are so romantic; do you have some in your garden?

  22. I haven't really put mine to bed yet although I started a little bit today. I always want to hang onto the last bit of summer as long as I can and then wake up one morning to find it has gone to a shaggy, saggy mess! Yours looks glorious.


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