Tend: Lessons from the Garden

When my garden slowly goes dormant every fall, its lush landscape reduced to little more than sticks and stalks and naked vines, I always find myself exhaling with relief. No doubt, in a few months’ time I know I’ll be wishing and longing for growing season. But for now, on the heels of overwhelming summer bounty and the endless fighting of weeds and pests, I’m grateful for a break.

I’m among those growers who don’t even bother to rip out the dead and dying remnants of my garden in the fall. No, I’ll intentionally wait until spring to clean it up. During the cold winter months, even in the snow and ice, I’ll wander up to my hillside garden looking out over the lower meadow and distant hills and wander slowly among the vacant beds. I love it fiercely, even empty. I’ll remember what I grew in each spot and make mental note of how well different varieties performed. I’ll dream of the limitless possibilities of spring and watch closely to see which perennials come through the cold months unscathed. But mostly, I’ll simply let the roots and soil rest, as well as my attention to it…

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