In a garden’s early years, the gardener is perpetually in a rush. Impatiently, he fertilizes and frets over every bug and black spotted leaf that he fears will set the garden back. More important than tomorrow is today, and fast takes priority over slow and steady.
And then, a decade has passed. The gardener is not so anxious, and it’s likely that a plant or two that was jammed too close in his haste to fill the garden, must now be removed. With a more mature garden he is more relaxed. A tree lost to disease, or in a storm, is not the catastrophe he would have imagined years earlier.
I recall a morning, possibly twenty-eight years ago, when my wife and I looked out the front windows to see cows on the loose from a neighboring farm lumbering through the front lawn. There wasn’t much garden at the time, but I was panicked that newly planted beech and Japanese maples might be trampled. Fortunately, little damage was done, and now the beech and maple tower over the garden. The farm and the cows are long gone, replaced by homes, and the garden has expanded. Small trees have grown to cast deep shade, and large swaths of lawn are now small patches between gardens that obscure the view from one end of the property to the other.
In this mid September, fallen leaves of the beech cover a stone path, though not as many as after a typical, drier late summer. The progression into autumn is evident, from falling leaves of beech and serviceberry, to ripening berries, and leaves of dogwoods beginning to turn to crimson. After a cool and damp late August, temperatures are warmer in September, but lacking summer’s heat and drought, the garden is unusually lush. Certainly, there has been another summer as damp, or as cool in twenty-eight years, but none that I recall.