Friday, October 28, 2011

Winter is Icumen In*

It has been a long and productive season for the garden. On Monday I was pulling out the tomato plants, having harvested the last of the green tomatoes (on October 24! a new record!!) and was then about to pull out the zinnias, which were looking pretty weary, when a freshly hatched monarch butterfly flew up. Its wings were still crinkled and fat, not yet fully dried out and hardened for flight. How could I take the flowers away when there were still new butterflies needing food? And when I looked at the broccoli that I had allowed to go to flower, there were bees huddling among the yellow blossoms. So I left it all.
But last night the temperature dropped to 24 degrees. We had a light frost in early October, but that only caused a few sensitive leaves to turn brown. This freeze has killed everything. And it's about time. Soon there will be snow, and the plants needed to stop growing and prepare themselves for winter. So today I will finally be pulling out the rest of the garden plants and putting the garden to bed.

Early this morning as the air began to warm, all the maple leaves that were still hanging on to the trees let go and fluttered to the frosty ground, their final connection to the tree severed by the freezing temperature.

*Ezra Pound's parody of the traditional English round "Sumer is Icumen In"


  1. The Monarchs frequently startle me with how late they emerge. My sister collects the cocoons and hatches them in a netted pot of milkweed or asclepias - she's such a geek! I love how delicate they are when they first come out.
    My stoopid Brugmansia has got a bud at last! The plant is confined to the cellar now but I can't cut it back while it's trying to bloom - silly thing.

  2. Such a slow plant, hoping summer will last ... do you have it under a plant light? You'll have to turn your whole basement into a greenhouse!