A winding down

Jerusalem artichoke on the wane

Beach Meadows, November 21

Dearest Philip,

You’ve probably wondered where the heck I got to: I sent you off that batch of photos from September until Halloween and thought I’d type a bit to go with them. And then the U.S. elections hit  full force. I blame sleepless nights courtesy of  NPR’s coverage (most certainly not lullabye material) and the subsequent severe case of what my old neighbour George (RIP) would call “drop-ass”.

Anemone doing its autumn thing: seed heads bursting (I thought this happened in mid-winter; photographing the garden for the blog has made me pay close attention to just what goes on and when in the garden throughout the year. A lot of “who knew?” moments!)

Echinacea, sadly going, going…gone.

Veronicastrum with grasses (that’s our Karl Foerster on the right)

I couldn’t budge to write, garden you name it. I was a zombie casualty of the … I don’t even know what to call it but how about “hot mess of civic engagement” south of the border. And the necessary concomitance of tequila which helped of course until it didn’t. Anyway:  I GOT BETTER.

Loving the bottle brush grass. I’ve stripped a number of these to seed the opposing plot in the pollinator garden.

 The weather here seems to have mirrored the nutso political climate in The States.  We had a hard frost that pretty much flattened some of the plants in that lot of photos you have (you asked if the cosmos were still alive? Yes! They were! And then they weren’t). And then we had snow that stuck around for an entire day and made things kind of slippery on the roads so I didn’t bother heading over for the first snow photo op blah de blah. You’ll have to be content with the soggy aftermath. Today (November 9) we we’re up near 20 degrees, summery almost. And no mosquitoes! So yeah, the weather.  (Ed. We’ve had high teens celscius this last week! Huzzah! )

Cosmos looking great into November until the first hard frost. And then after the snow. Here today, gone tomorrow.

As for the update, the gardens are almost all mulched, the seeds (fireweed take 2, tansy button and mullein) and additional rudbeckia and lupine have been added to the meadows. The allium bulbs are in. I have some pruning to do but I’m thinking I might wait until a sunny day in winter when I’ll be happy to be outside in the crisp air. 

My favourite things: Fothergilla (witch alder) and Amsonia Hubrectii in their autumn glory.

So that’s about it, a meager dispatch from the field. Maybe I’ll surprise you with a photo of the neighbouring development: Lobsterland. You won’t recognize the place. Really.

Love to you and Cynthia and Misty, too. 


My dear Lynn,Ah yes, sleepless nights. There are a lot of those. But our garden, though constantly changing, is a beautiful and reassuring constant in a tumultuous and messy world. I wish I was there to see and take strength from it, instead of being locked away in an anxious and depressed city. But your brilliant photographs give me a glimpse and a taste of the beauty I miss. I see it all in my mind’s eye.

Larch changelings and our burgeoning nine bark that we’d layered. The Spikenard collapsed entirely after that hard frost.

I’ve been reading Gilbert White’s epistolary The Natural History of Selborne. It was first published in 1789 and has been in print ever since. White was curate at Selborne in Hampshire. He was a keen and precise observer of nature. He loved birds in particular. ” Each species of hirundo drinks as it flies along, sipping the surface of the water ; but the swallow alone, in general, washes on the wing, by dropping into a pool for many times together : in very hot weather house-martins and bank-martins dip and wash a little..‎”

The Heritage Wetlands. We had swallows in our birdhouse there but I never did see them dip. I think they were too busy with the mosquitoes.

He was interested in worms. Anticipating Darwin, he wrote, “Earthworms, though in appearance a small and despicable link in the chain of nature… if lost, would make a lamentable chasm.” Gilbert White created a garden around his Hampshire house. One day I will visit it.

Love, Philip

Montauk daisy and Aconitum aka Monkshood which is finally taking off in the circle garden. Not that out reader has noticed.

The seaside and circle gardens and Joe Pye Weed with grasses in the pollinator garden

Top: Hydrangea and maiden grass; Bottom: Milkweed post seed pod burst.

In demise

6 thoughts on “A winding down”

    1. Hi Heather, thanks for the compliment. We use wood chips as a hefty top dress (lots of trees down in last year’s hurricane and
      subsequent storms: we had the limbs mulched after the trees were bucked).

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