That word, a phenomenon so horrendous we gardeners dare not speak its name.
Yes, the F-word.
Frost is in the northern Delaware forecast this evening. But part of me is not convinced. This has happened previously (of course), though not yet this season: a condemning forecast, yet city gardens remain protected (often until rather late in the season) while surrounding gardens, properties, lawns, and suburbs sparkle a brilliant white.
This day, though, seems different. The Hunters Moon, which woke me in the wee hours of the morning, its luminescence peering through thick velvet curtains, seems a chilling caricature of itself. Daytime highs will reach only into the mid 50s, and nighttime lows will plunge into the mid 30s. Frost just feels a possibility
My professional life will occupy me today, leaving very little time when I return to make equally chilling decisions: which lives to save, which lives to allow to pass quietly into the night…
I don’t like these kinds of decisions; I don’t know of any gardeners who do. Yet most gardeners I know also have cultivated a particular kind of resilience, a nonchalance, towards such death. Next year will bring another gardening season and more plants; thus you save those you prefer. Yet I freeze (pun intended?) in the face of my divine like power.
Preferences: contingent on individual taste, and taste is stymieing my decisions. I happen to love my deep yellow lantana which I overwintered last year and which rewarded me this season with spectacular plenitude of foliage and flower. I love the ruby red flowers of my Pineapple Sage, a gift from my friends, the inimitable mother-daughter duo, Jane and Jenn. My patchouli and lemon grass—not exactly Zone 7 plants—have flourished. And what do I do with what I assume to be my Omure yama Matsumurae Japanese maple (under which Simone sits), the pendulous branches of which extend far beyond the pot and occupy significant space? I haven’t room in the house for all of those plants (most of which have become quite large).
This is why I need and want an all-season sunroom.
Until we add this dream to 410 or buy another house with one or space to add one, though, I need to make difficult life or death decisions, and act the Leviathan to my garden.
So, this afternoon in the waning hours of daylight, neighbors shall witness a harried MSW racing to and fro, condemning some plants to death, granting reprieve to others. As I mused in a previous entry, gardening is such morally trying work.
And if the frost comes, the neighborhood will be sure to hear me utter that other F-word, the F-word that Rahm Emmanuel made infamously famous.