A gardener's favorite season.

As a gardener here in the northeast, winter isn’t exactly my favorite season.  Other than drooling over the seed catalogs that get sown in my January mailbox, there’s not much to do, garden-wise.  Instead of transplanting perennials, I’m moving snow again from the sidewalk to the … well, wherever I can find a place that doesn’t already have a three foot pile.  For me, digging in the snow is not at all as satisfying as digging in the earth.  And it’s surreal to imagine that all that dirty wet stuff will actually give way to a lawn and beautiful blooms in too many long months. 

Give me spring any day.  I have crocuses in the garden just off our front porch. Once I spy those first tiny tips of green pushing through the frozen earth, I check every day to see if they’ve grown.  And then once they bloom, I pray for another day of their company before the rabbits mow them down.  In other spots in my gardens, things pop up that I forgot all about … Oh, yes, I have allium there!  So much promise and surprise in spring.   But if you assume it’s my top season, you would be wrong.

You’re now probably sure that summer is IT for me.  When the waves of color and fragrance begin to roll in, it’s gardening heaven, right?   Yes, but …   If it weren’t for gardening, I probably wouldn’t be crazy about summer.  It feels like a coincidence that my favorite hobby just so happens to be a hot weather past-time.   I get tired of hiding my fair skin under sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats.  I’ve already got a few ugly age spots on my hands, although I don’t consider myself “aged,”  unless you’re comparing me to fine wine.   And I get burned-out by the sun and the oppressive heat, more and more so as I age, er, I mean … ferment?  So, in spite of my passion for gardening, summer is not my first love.

But a crisp, brilliant fall day that crackles with dry leaves and hints of a blazing fireplace somewhere in the neighborhood.  Now that’s something I savor. Yes, my irises have already had their end-of-season crewcut. The hydrangeas look like charred marshmallows on a passel of campfire sticks.  And my hosta are gooey yellow lumps.  Yuck.  But fall feels so right to me.  Why is it when everything is starting to die, I feel so at peace?  

I think it has to do with being an introvert. We introverts love to pull within ourselves, to shelter from the storm of daily life in the boisterous world. Fall just fits our nature.  It’s a time to reflect and rejuvenate our spirits, getting ready to hunker down for the long winter of welcome solitude.   

An autumn-loving avid gardener.  This is who I am - an enigma, a contrast of opposites.  Whether I’m aging or fermenting or just getting moldy, I wouldn’t change a thing.