Changing Seasons

Last weekend I spent pulling most of the veggie gardens down. The plants were no longer producing. The leaves on many of them were brown or even dead from that late summer mold that infects pumpkins, squash and so many other plants. The smell of soil rises up as the roots pull free of the dirt. The stems at soil level are now thick yet brittle, showing signs of old age. Their season is just 4 and half months and then their life is over here in the northland. There are no bees to be found now as my grandson and I walk the gardens up and down the block.

Hiding under the sprawling leaves of the Baby Boo Pumpkin plants were weeds, and the remains of Strawflowers that were in fierce completion for space and light. The pumpkins won hands down producing 50 or more small white pumpkins for my grandson to share with his “friends”.  (Well, at 15 months he is a bit shy on friends, but he does have a few cousins his age who can enjoy tossing tiny pumpkins around.)

Baby Boo Pumpkin

I digress – this is about change – the garden change as it dies back, the trees are in massive change as they stop producing chlorophyll and the leaves green fade to bright reds, yellow and oranges. The small bushes spring from green to deep reds. The squirrel, rabbits and bees are crazy hunting for food and storing up fat in their systems to make it through a long winter or hiding food hopefully to be found latter.

On our block we have neighbors who are moving as well. Many have been here a long time and are now retired and looking to move into small places or places with one floor to avoid the steps and that ever present fear of falling as we age. A change of seasons for them as well. New young folks are filling in the houses.

As I sit on this windy, damp night the temperature dropping and leaves falling quickly from the trees I have mixed emotions. I am glad to bring this, summers garden season, to an end. I have frozen enough tomatoes and god only knows what we will do with those 50 white pumpkins. The flowers beds are overrun with unruly plants that no longer glow with flowers. I am ready for it all to be put away for the winter. I am ready for a fresh start next spring.

That said, I also mourn the loss of warm sunny days, brilliant green plants with a riot of color on top and bees everywhere buzzing loudly. I will miss the neighbors who chat as they walk pass the garden beds checking in on what new flower or veggie has started to grow. It is always sad to see the trees stand bare for the winter months. They look closed up, brittle and dead. I know they are just retreating into a rest period, but it is hard to watch especially this year.

The neighbors are friends who I know over time we will lose contact with and that too is hard. We will email and check in for a while but each of us will get busy with the life around us and the world will change. We will all move on.

I also have to say there is the little voice that is calling to the excitement of a new spring. A new garden needs to be planned and planted next spring. The new neighbors will bring new conversation, children and energy into a quiet little block. We are in need new blood and a bit of excitement on this old and aging block.

Changing seasons can feel hard and at times we resist that change even when we know it would be good for us. The soil needs refreshing. The conversations need new directions. The world needs to mourn this season of 2020. Then shake off the heaviness and move forward into new beginnings. Life in a new spring!

Here is to moving forward into 2021 – new beginnings and new growth!

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
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7 Responses to Changing Seasons

  1. Hi Joanne, I love your outdoor-themed post centered on the changes in the garden. It is wistful and somewhat sad but ultimately optimistic for next year and a new start both for the garden and for us all as we move past 2020. I wish you a restorative winter and many happy afternoons planning your garden for a new spring! Take care!

  2. What a beautiful piece. A tribute to those dutiful plants. As you say goodbye you know it’s not for too long. I’m looking toward 2021 as well.

  3. Ramona says:

    I love this reflective piece. I’m still hoping that a few cherry tomatoes will ripen. We have sunny days for another week! I like how you just hoped over winter and moved on to spring thinking. I always enjoy your planning for the new spring plants and this year will be no different. I like the idea that the young families will revitalize your neighborhood. We’ve had two new families with kids move onto our lane. I now have three young boys who regularly ring my doorbell, stand back to socially distance, and chat with me! Cheers to new neighbors.

    • Joanne Toft says:

      What fun to have three little guys stopping by to chat! Love that! Thanks for your comments. I am excited to plan what spring will look like in the garden and what my little helper will be able to do as well.

  4. Lakshmi Bhat says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Yes, we have to accept changes and move on. Regards.

  5. That’s an adorable pumpkin. Are they easy to grow? If so, I will have to the throwing some pumpkin seeds in the ground!

    • Joanne Toft says:

      These are easy to grow – they do take some space and good sun. Just look for Baby Boo pumpkins. There is also an orange mini pumpkin that we grew as well but they did not produce as well since they had more shade all summer.

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