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No Thanks to Flaming Autumn

No Thanks to Flaming Autumn
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Guest Rant by Jane Scorer
I know what is just around the corner… I can guess what I will be reading about, any time soon…the joys of the autumn and winter garden, that’s what. There will be pages about flaming autumn colour, and we will be encouraged to buy certain plants for their spectacular hues. But why? That plant is dying back for winter, so why would I want to watch it do that? Autumn leaves are depressing and should be ignored. They are signs that the long days of summer are behind us, and I really don’t want reminding of that.

When it is November and the wind is whipping round the house, don’t give me articles about how architectural the dead grasses look. I want to see delphiniums and roses, things that are young and full of promise. Not things that are dead and decaying.

Berries? Don’t get me started! How many times on tv gardening programmes do we hear about the wonderful colour of berries, and how they enhance the autumn garden. For a start, any I might have last a nanosecond on the shrub before they are devoured by flocks of hungry birds, who then splatter my car with multi-colours, Jackson Pollock style. Take it from me, elderberries are the worst.

“Winter colour” is yet another myth promoted by people who have little else to write about once the summer is over. “Plant for winter colour,” they say, “to give pleasure in the coldest weather.” Well, I don’t know about you, but come the winter, I’ll be sitting by the fire with my feet up, flipping through a seed catalogue or two. I will not be down in the garden, in my wellies, scouring the beds for berries or the odd flower.

Also, like most people who work for a living, I leave work in the morning when it is dark, and come home – you’ve guessed it – in the dark. There could be the Hanging Gardens of Babylon out there and I wouldn’t be any the wiser.

No, save the colour for when we can enjoy it, in the spring and summer, when the evenings are long and light.

Now then, in the depths of winter, I need to be cheered and lured by the promise of the new season. So, photos of spring blossom will do nicely in October, and by December, I will be overdosing on the flowers of high summer. In the snows of February, I want to be reading blog posts about mowing the lawn on a hot summer morning, or picking tomatoes in the heat of the greenhouse.

So, just let me dream a little before everything springs into rude, lusty life again in March, and let me forget the harsh reality of the bare winter garden.

Jane Scorer likes to garden like she eats cake … compulsively, greedily and frequently. When she’s not gardening, she’s writing about it , and you can find her blog at HoeHoeGrow.

Posted by

Jane Scorer

on September 11, 2014 at 7:19 am, in the category Guest Rants.

20 Comments

    • Susan
    • 19th August 2016

    Amen, sister!!

    • Benjamin Vogt
    • 7th October 2016

    Sheesh you are depressing! I find my winter garden anymore almost more beautiful than the high summer one — not so sugary sweet. I find it more peaceful, too, with no screaming kids on creaky swing sets, mowers, or blowers rampaging through the neighborhood. Here are some pics of my early winter garden: http://deepmiddle.blogspot.com/2013/11/i-dare-you-to-cut-down-this-beauty.html

    • Julie Hill
    • 3rd November 2016

    A true rant indeed. I am guessing you must live somewhere in the Arctic circle to be so upset about the forthcoming fall and winter! Here’s the thing about winter and any other unpleasant event…if that event did not occur you would not love and appreciate the good events. It is the yin/yang of the way things work. Can’t have the good without the bad…light without dark…you know how it goes. It would be like having Christmas everyday. After awhile you would hate it. To quote Dr. Wayne Dyer, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” It’s all perspective.

    • Jane Scorer
    • 4th November 2016

    Erm, not quite the Arctic circle !! Uk ! Actually, the thought of Christmas every day is very appealing! I guess I just never want summer to end, and would happily bury my head, ostrich-like, in seed catalogues, throughout the winter!

    • Julie Hill
    • 6th November 2016

    Ok…so the UK is a bit cool and damp and definitely closer to the Arctic Circle than I am! Yelp…you probably do need a wee bit more summer!

    • Mary Gray
    • 13th November 2016

    Okay, Jane, I can relate a bit to the winter doldrums, but autumn? Trees ablaze with color? Pumpkins, dahlias, anemones, asters, that delicious nip in the air…and sorry, but I adore berries, even when they get eaten by the birds. My Viburnum nudum is adored in pink berries right now and it looks freakin’ awesome.

    • Jane Scorer
    • 15th November 2016

    Mary, autumn just makes me sad … all those leaves just preparing to DIE !!

    • Laura
    • 15th November 2016

    While I do appreciate a colorful autumn show, I can relate to the part about plants that provide “winter interest.” For me, the show ends with the first snowfall. I have been known to stand at the storm door leading to the back yard for hours at a time, with a foot of snow on the ground, attempting to visualize the scene in 6 months time. And no, looking out at any lingering ice encased rose hips do not seem to help improve my mood much.

    • Jane Scorer
    • 15th November 2016

    Joe, there was only a glimpse of the sun for a second or two this year, spotted from my sodden, mouldering, dreary peat bog . Several people couldn’t even remember what it was. Good luck with your bear burrs (whatever they are) , barbs and snow.

    • Laura Bell
    • 15th November 2016

    We’re expected to hit 100 today and the next three days. I’d give anything for some cool weather & rain! Yes, the verdure of summer can get tiresome &, IMO, is highly over-rated.

    • Susan
    • 16th November 2016

    I’m the one who said “Amen, sister!”. Don’t get me wrong – I do love autumn; the weather can be superb, I’m an October baby, so I love the foliage, etc. My problem is that I know what’s coming along behind autumn. Six months of being hermetically sealed in the house, slogging through snowstorms or praying the power doesn’t go off during an ice storm. Autumn is fine – but it means that winter isn’t far behind, and that, frankly, sucks.

    • Jane Scorer
    • 16th November 2016

    I know what you mean Susan, when autumn comes, winter is never far behind ! I suppose if my birthday was in October it might perk the month up a little .

    • kermit
    • 16th November 2016

    Sigh. I would love to be hermetically sealed in the house all winter. Two more years to retirement. Fall is wonderful – I grew up on Ray Bradbury’s “October Country” and Serling’s “Twilight Zone”. A chill wind, the approaching darkness, sends a delicious chill up a young boy’s spine.

    • Laura Bell
    • 16th November 2016

    Frankly I find this post depressing.

    • admin
    • 16th November 2016

    I have to agree. While I like autumn color and I love my “Aster” October Skies in full bloom it’s also a sad time because I know that the outdoor gardening season is rapidly coming to a close and I’ll be stuck inside the house most of the winter.

    • David mcMullin
    • 16th November 2016

    I think if I lived in England I would also dread the onset of winter, but here in monsoonal, equitoral, steamy, exotic Atlanta we have glorious long autumns that last til Christmas and brief and cheerful cold winters that bring a little snow and ice but the daffodils start in March – so not a big deal.
    I use that period to catch up on my weight-gaining. If I had a longer winter, perhaps I’d become a meat mountain – so best to keep it a short one.
    Jane, I hope you’ve got a flight south booked for February!

    • Jane Scorer
    • 17th November 2016

    Hi David, funny you should mention it – we were in Atlanta in April this year and travelled down to New Orleans. We just loved it !

    • Frank Hyman
    • 17th November 2016

    Good writing and a lovely rant. Tho personally I don’t know what you’re talking about. Here in the southland, i’m looking forward to a winter of fragrant tea olive and daphne odora and no doubt some early blooms of Japanese camellia. But do keep sending the postcards from the land of frosty winters.

    • Jane Scorer
    • 17th November 2016

    Frank, it sounds like heaven !

    • Deborah Banks
    • 17th November 2016

    Love your post. Funny! Not my mindset, but I do tire of those “Winter Gardening” articles that talk about plants that bloom in the winter. When it’s 20 or 30 below zero and snow is 2 feet deep, I don’t think anything will be blooming in my garden. But I’m looking forward to the time inside. It’s supposed to frost here tonight, and I for one am ready. Bring it on! I’ve pesto-ed and jellied and deadheaded enough for one year.

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