A few hours outside

Sometimes I lose focus when it comes to gardening. I forget why I do it. So far, I've lost a winterberry bush and the dogwood tree that I tried to transplant last month. My cosmos never grew, and the zinnias from seed didn't do much at all. The impatiens that I grew from seed came down with powdery mildew, and the vegetable beds along the driveway are slowly being shaded by my neighbor's growing oak tree.

At the end of the season, gardening has become a chore. Weeds need to be pulled, the perennials are ready to throw in the towel (me too) and I start actually looking forward to the end of the growing season, so  I can concentrate on creating a better garden next year.

But a garden is always growing, always evolving. It's never really finished. Every year, some plant gives up the fight. Some pest (momentarily) takes control. It's really easy to lose focus and not enjoy what has been accomplished in the growing season.

These flowers did the trick tonight. It did take a minute to see what actually was left blooming outside, but the hydrangea, anemones, zinnias, lavender and blue delphiniums look pretty surrounded by the autumn fern fronds.

And earlier, this little guy was patrolling the patio garden that I was weeding (and killing slugs - of course I found him after I killed slugs). And the tops of the carrots that I never harvested are feeding four black swallowtail butterfly caterpillars since yesterday.

Even with the ups and downs, this year's garden is definitely a learning experience, and proof that just because it looks good on paper, doesn't mean it will work well in nature.

Maybe I just have to lower expectations, or stop being so hard on myself.


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