The garden is transitioning from summer to fall. The milkweed is mottled and scraggly, the sweet basil is yellowed and setting seeds. The parsley bolted, the Thai basil fell over under its own weight.

It’s time to do some cleanup.

Yesterday it rained all day. It was one of my favorite types of autumn Saturdays: chilly, grey, raw. We spent most of the day running errands. We bought new alarm clocks for the kids, harvest candles for the mantle, pumpkin-pie-scented wax melts to make the house smell autumny, and at the last-minute, mums for the garden.

Our daughter and I spent a good half hour inspecting the different colors of mums, gravitating repeatedly to particular ones (white for our daughter, burgundy for me), thinking about the colors in our garden, looking at pictures of the flower bed on my phone, and brainstorming what we needed to clear out and where we could put our favorite-colored specimens.

Today, the drizzle and pregnant grey are gone. The sun shines bright in a clear blue sky, and raindrops glisten on the green grass. The mums are out there waiting for me. I see our daughter’s white ones in a happy clump where the parsley once was. The wind is chilly right now, though, despite the brilliant sun. I’ll need a jacket and gloves while I work.

For now, I’ve got my slippers on and am sipping coffee from the chair by the window. Leaves shiver on the pear trees across the street, maple branches swing, and coneflowers and salvia nod in the wind. I’ll plant the mums when my cup is empty.

I think I’ll have a refill.

September gardening

cabbages and pansies for boxes
Cabbages and pansies for garden boxes
We thought we were going to wait till spring to start any gardening, but none of us could stand waiting.

I’ve been poring over gardening books, planning the spring beds. Our house looked sad and bare, though, after we ripped out the previous owner’s shrubbery. So we decided, we can at least put in some evergreens for winter, right?

Hick's yew with berry
Hick’s Yew (Taxus x media “Hicksii”)
holly in the garden
Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata “Helleri”)
With our freshly painted porch and door, we thought it might be nice to add some garden boxes too.

window boxes on porch rail
Fresh paint and garden boxes
We’ve never had garden boxes before. They are my new favorite thing about our house. Besides the turquoise front door. And the oak floors. And the kittens.

flowering kale cabbage
Pansies and flowering kale
We wanted something alive at our house when winter comes, and the man at the garden shop said pansies and cabbages would be great for garden boxes. The only real gardening I’ve done was in Florida, and I know nothing about winter plants. I am trusting blindly. Even if they don’t last through winter, though, they look awfully pretty now :-).

porch rail garden box
Garden box on the front porch rail