ROCKWALL, TX (Oct. 13, 2022) We are in the glory days. The days of autumn, so eagerly awaited. Everything perks up around us. The mornings dawn cool and crisp. The sun creeps up at a new angle, the garden is shaded longer before the golden orb travels across and warms the blooms. Afternoons are toasty, yet not too hot. The air feels clear. I’ll grab a throw or a cardigan to have morning coffee outside these days.
I enjoy the late afternoon light as it softens, a little earlier these days. The lamp on the entry table is switched on earlier to brighten the front hall, than during the long days of summer. Bob Kilgore and I return indoors a bit sooner these cool mornings, though you’d think his fur coat would keep him warm. I think old age makes him less tolerant of a bit of a chill. He is happier napping indoors in the early morning and, dozing in the sun later in the day. The weather is lovely enough to take lunch outside, and Bob does not protest. Dinner preparation is delayed here. Five o’clock now is for patio sitting or yard puttering, and time for a kitty’s late afternoon snooze on an outdoor cushion. Oh the joy when pals show up with a pitcher of margaritas or other libation and we linger away the late afternoon. Soon enough, the days will be chill and outdoor time at a minimum. There will be plenty of time to cook supper during the winter!
Birds arrive at the feeder later in the morning and less frequently just now. They are following instinct and are foraging in fields and roadsides for seeds and acorns. Still, we keep our feeders filled for the occasional snacker. Our feathery visitors will return with voracious appetites and I’ll soon enough be putting bird seed on the shopping list with frequency.
The garden – The Mildscape, is wrapping up her second year, the growth has been quite astonishing. I attribute the success to beaucoup soil preparation. Much clay has been hauled out, compost mixed in, bags and bags of new landscape soil added, turned and mulched; until a bed of soft, loose planting richness was formed. Repeat, repeat, repeat. But garden work is at a minimum just now, and the milder weather makes the work outdoors less of a beating.
Curving borders of stacked stone outline the garden. Eyes wander over the fullness of plants, the riot of color and texture, a relaxed feel imbued by the curves, rounded plantings, pools of fluffy, soft green that flow away from the border. Poofs of color atop stems of leafy green, careful – the thorns will grab you when you least expect. Spiky green mounds tipped in purple and hot pink, blooms reaching to the sun. Stems and stalks are topped in assorted hues. Some share their glory all season. Some come to shine for a brief period, then tucking in until the next season, leaving me yearning for more. And then, another bloomer leaps into the spotlight, all in turn.
Some of the perennials are dwindling down, now that October is here, ready to melt down into the soil until springtime. Others are putting forth a delightful bloom resurgence – delirious with vigor in the marvelous temps. They will be ready to cut back in another month or so and I will put the garden to bed, tucking the plants in with more, new cedar mulch, for a winter rest. Evergreen shrubs planted in this fall season are already establishing roots and preparing to take front billing for the winter.
I take in the garden view each morning, from the bedroom window. First thing when I rise – I soak in minute or three at the window, gazing at the plants, the colors, the birds, the plastic three-gallon shrub container holding dried cuttings and weeds that I keep forgetting to walk around to the trash! This is the loveliest view of the day. If only we could have morning light all day long, but that would render me in a daze of for the twenty-four hours! The garden in morning light is peace. The light is soft and the colors dance.
Moving from the window, I patter to the kitchen with a kitty leading the way. I provide him his morning treats, fill his bowl, make the coffee, grab my pencil and composition book. Bob waits, impatient, at the door. Two clicks of the locks and we are out. I enjoy the view, with coffee, from my cushioned chair. The mornings out in the garden anchor me. They open me. Fill me with contentment and delight.
Throughout the day, I’ll take a peek from the living room window. And nearly every afternoon-evening, I’ll putter about in the garden or simply sit, and enjoy the dwindling daylight. The garden is integral for my life. I take in the loveliness and store it in the planting trays in my brain. The thoughts and the to-do’s of the garden keep my mind always turning, considering, planning.
When winter arrives, there will not be much glory out here. Things will be neatly cut back and those few evergreens will hold the fort. What will I do then? I suppose I will tackle those projects I’ve set aside, all season long. I’ll finally spend some time at my desk, in the writing room. And I will stand at the window, planning the changes and new additions to next year’s garden.
There is glory in the garden. The garden creates beauty in my soul. I gather it all in, in this plot that is mine. I am filled with simple, pure grace, and peace. For this I am so grateful.
This wonderful autumn time in the garden. In Texas we don’t have the apple picking, hot cider in front of bonfires (well – we might, but we sweat.) We get these bright sunny days and cool nights. I’ll take the cat out into the garden as much as possible to enjoy the glory. Despite the ragweed…achoo, cough cough.
By Sally Kilgore of Rockwall. Sally is a former resident of Rowlett, and a recent transplant, across the lake, to Fate, Texas. She is married to her long time flame, Chris Kilgore. When not writing, gardening, filling in at the local flower shop or hanging out with grandkids, Sally devotes her time to serving Bob Kilgore, a generously sized, Tuxedo cat with panache.
Contact Sally at SallyAKilgore@gmail.com or via her website SallyAKilgore.com
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