Who says you have to go to the East Coast to see Fall Color? On a short last minute girl-friend get-away, we enjoyed the colors of Fall as we drove around Placerville. We discovered this tree as we were leaving town, it’s right in someone’s backyard, but of course we still needed to stop and get a photo.
It’s now the end of the summer and my garden, left unattended for many weeks, is showing the signs of the Fall (both the season and the event). Under-watered plants dying of thirst, blooms past their peak but still sapping the plant (dead-heading sooner would have refreshed them), bud worms robbing me of the beauty of a blossom before they even open, fallen blooms and petals littering the patio and even the fountain dried up and is filled with debris.
There is still plenty of time to prune, plant and enjoy the beauty of my Northern California garden. Winter won’t really hit until December. November will be cooler and most likely the rains will begin. The cycle of life, death, rebirth, and fruitfulness is so consistent and telling. A picture pointing to reality.
As I head into another winter of death and dormancy I must remember this is a necessary season and not all is truly dead forever. Some plants are just sleeping preparing for rebirth. I’ve made some difficult choices in my garden and my life. I’ve removed plants that are not doing well. The climbing rose required too much maintenance and was so easily affected by disease and the overflow of the chlorinated fountain.
So I had them removed.
Some shrubs have outgrown their spots and have been moved. Some needed more shade and less sun, some visa versa. Some vines are taking over the yard, choking out plants. Heavy pruning keeps them at bay but some really need to be removed. Some things need to die for other things to live.
I must be intentional about what I prune. And then water and fertilizer must be added to the things I want to grow. After eight years it’s time to give up on the Azaleas. They could have worked in another spot but it’s just too hot and sunny in the summer. It’s hard to give up on beauty but there is something that will grow well in that spot.
The parallels in my life are suddenly so clear. Every now and then I have to take stock of my life and see what needs to die so that something else can live and produce fruit. Every year I grieve as I watch something go dormant and I wait in hope that it will be re-born in another season. I don’t know what beauty or loss I will experience next season. My careful tending (weeding, pruning, watering, feeding, spraying) does have some affect on the beauty in my life but I do not have complete control. If I do nothing my life will be out of control but constant fretting and pacing about will not produce the magical beauty I hope for. The actual life from death comes from the Life-giver. I’ve watched the seasons come and go so there is some evidence life will come again but still I must trust that the Life-giver is at work in my ‘garden’ even when I cannot see the fruit I hope for.
“Beauty is an image of our deepest desires.” CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses.
“There is a mystery in beauty that defies logic or quantification. We don’t always know why we find something beautiful, be we experience an inner stirring of pleasure that longs for more.” Barbara Henry, Woman to Woman.