I could be floating today, I suppose. It would be a beautiful day for it. The sun is out in a partly cloudy sky, there is almost no wind, it is ridiculously warm for the second week of November. Right now it is 72°F (22.222222°C) (I’m sorry, that is what my calculator said and I just had to put that in. What a magical number.)
However, it is also a beautiful day for sauntering about the garden, documenting what is happening in The Havens today. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that there is a lot going on.
I have been contemplating the Gardening Gone Wild “Picture This” subject ever since they announced it a few days ago. “The End of The Line” has so many connotations, I have been meditating on how one could include those different connotations in a photograph. Some ideas translate, some don’t. One of my “pretty good” connotations involves the worn-out work boots I have planted with sedum that sit on the front steps. They are at the end of their line — no longer work boots. And they sit at the end of the path. And the re-blooming irises in the shot are waiting on the brink of the hard freeze that is sure to come soon.
That’s a pretty good picture, but the trouble is that the dead foliage, which I included to bring in the end of the season feel, makes everything too brown and same toned.
You would not believe the amount of primping that has been going on in the vegetable garden in honor of this shoot. That is another thing that has been going on at The Havens. I have decided that I need a gardener and a photographer’s assistant. Fortunately, Jim was there to assist in the removal of the pea trellis. Over the course of my forays into this subject, it became painfully obvious that the pea trellis was screwing with the light and perspective something fierce. At the risk of seeming to have only one subject for GGW, which would be swiss chard, this picture is supposed to indicate the end of the year in the garden, the end of the line of swiss chard that made my bathtub full last month.
That trellis needed to be put away for the winter anyway. After all, next year it will be in a different bed, due to the rotation plan. I have also found over the years that putting the trellis up away from the ground where it can be scoured by the winter winds and rains, and the hungry birds, is a good way to get it sterilized for the next year’s use.
So after the pea trellis was gone, I started playing with the idea that even though this is the end of the season,at the same time this is just the beginning of the next cycle. After all, in this garden, the beginnings of the next year are already in place as the old year comes to a close, due to my wonderful cold frames. (These were built by Jim according to the plans in Eliot Coleman’s book “Four Season Harvest” and presently house the winter garden of salad and stir fry greens.) So now we have the end of the line of chard coupled with the beginning of our abundant winter harvest.
I didn’t really like that picture. I didn’t think it was getting my point across. The light was wrong, the cold frame glass was obscuring the fallow garden bed behind the cold frames, blah de blah blah. After taking several dozen more pictures in quest of the Right Shot, I went for a stroll back around front to see what the pollinators I had noticed earlier in the morning while I was trying to capture “The End of the Line” (boots version) were up to.
Well. The marigolds are still going strong even after several frosty mornings, and for some reason the rue decided to put on a fall bloom, probably because of the rains we have been getting. And there were literally dozens of pollinators out there enjoying them. I counted at least five different sorts of butterflies, including this sulfur, which was out on the salvia in the stroll garden.
There were also three kinds of bees, at least half a dozen different varieties of wasp, flies and tachnid flies.
I admit there were bean beetles but I’m afraid I conscientiously killed every one of those I saw.
Now the next pair of shots happened within seconds of each other. I was lining up on the little butterflies sharing the branch of flowers and just as I tripped the shutter a bumble bee flew into the picture.
Without waiting an instant, I told the camera to shoot again and this is how the participants re-arranged themselves.
I have no idea where the little skipper butterfly wound up, but I guarantee it wasn’t far away.
I’ve been watching the hostas on the back side of the house as they die back to their crowns. This one caught my eye today. The fall change that is occuring just before it dies has turned this variegated beauty into a watercolor delight.
Now, I ate almost half my total daily calories for breakfast this morning, so now, before the scent of the bread that is baking right now turns me into an eating machine, I am going to saunter on out to the gardens and start working on removing the henbit that is trying to take over the bed where my Japanese maples live. That henbit has a lot of company: chickweed, dandelions, grass, poke, grape, cherry, bluets, and violets are vivaciously and visciously volunteering over there too.
Enjoy the end of autumn, y’all. Try not to come to the end of your rope. End of the line. Whatever.