The fall equinox was just a few days ago but the weather seems to be racing its way to deep fall. The trees around me are still green but as I walk further from home the red maples are in flame, and the sumac is turning red up at the park.
The wind had been wild the last two days leaving a deep chill in my bones. The ills of old age has left me on blood thinners and other weird meds that I am sure make me feel much colder than it is. I had and have much to do out in the garden so wind or not I headed out this morning. The first task was to take down the fencing around the small raspberry patch and cut away the dead stems. Then I dug what was left and moved them to one of the new raised beds.
The first cut into the soil showed me the devastation of two years of drought here in the upper mid west. It was hard to push into the dry soil but once I got through the crust it was all just crumbles of dust. The roots around the raspberry stems were thin and dry. They looked like they had been laying out in the hot sun for days. I dropped them in a bucket of water to soak for awhile and then moved them into softer soil and watered the heck out of them. I am not sure they will make it but we will see. They are in a better location now but I worry the roots were already too far gone.
I will water them daily for awhile and see if that might help them revive. I am doing this with most of the larger plants in the back gardens now. A daily dosing of water. I don’t want to run a sprinkler when the wind is this wild. It will just blow the water away. So I pull the hose around the back yard to each plant. The young lilac bushes I planted earlier, all the new plants in the hill garden, the Hosta that are all over the yard and anything else that is drooping gets a direct hit from the hose.
I did not keep up a regular water routine in the back gardens this year and now I wish I had. I spend so much time on the front and then ran out of energy for the back. Now this area is dusty, weedy and looks to be almost all dead. Let’s hope my renewed watering will make enough difference before the frost sets in. All of this raises my fears of the quickly moving climate change. I see the difference in the big lakes and the dramatic fires in the west but to feel it run through my fingers. The realization that this once lush green yard now will only stay alive if I am here to run city water over it often, is very scary. I know the front garden beds did not produce well this year and I watered them almost daily. The soil there as I pulled out short stubby carrots today also was dry and dusty even have been watered just the day before.
I turned from that fear and repotted and brought in the deck plants. Tonight the hanging basket out swinging in the wind is also in the sunroom since I don’t trust how chilly it will get tonight. The next few days are suppose to be very cool at night. Temperatures dropping into the upper 30’s – not frost but getting close. All the Dahlia flowers have been cut and put in vases. The tubers dug up and drying waiting to be stored for next spring. These are the routines of a fall gardener but with in them are the worries of dry soil, produce that is not producing and temperatures that are very warm and then drop suddenly to cold, dry and windy.
There is more to do in the garden but…
The days are short, dark comes quickly and so this old gardener is now sitting inside with a light blanket to warm me up just a bit. I have switched the iced screw driver for a cup of herbal tea. The light in the living room comes on by 6:45 pm instead of 9:00 pm. The warmer clothes are being pulled out from the back of the closet and the hiking boots and socks now warm my feet while the worn out sandals plus the sneakers are in the back of the closet also waiting for spring.
My worry of climate change continues as I read another book about drip lines for watering plants, hardy native plants with deep tap roots that will seek water deep in the ground and wonder how to make this small garden land self sustaining and healthy as the world changes quickly season by season.
I hope and dream of fall rains and a good snow cover this year to feed the earth beneath our feet.