Broken hearted over September.


From my planter boxes I pulled up and cleaned out parsley, zucchini, chives and Love-in-a-Mist; butternut and pumpkin vines, and a volunteer zinnia. When I went after the sea of overgrown chamomile, its warm and bittersweet aroma comforted me in the midst of that violent afternoon’s work. I don’t think I used one leaf of basil this summer; I just wasn’t home enough to take care of the garden in general, or to use half of its produce.

My pumpkins, grown from seed and nurtured in the greenhouse, were a complete flop! But one plant I gave to my neighbors produced 22 pumpkins, so one morning I found these on my doorstep:

Now I’ve sealed the boxes against winter, and added several inches of good soil. Still to do: organize and plant all those beautiful succulents that my friends gave me in the last few months, and put seeds into the dirt.

Trug full of Painted Lady runner beans.
Succulent stem abandoned and unwatered — and undaunted.
My first spider plant ever!
Nodding Violet I propagated.  If you want it, come and get it!

I had fun with Bella the other day at the community garden where she tends a plot. We always like to look around at what the other gardeners are doing, and to forage along the edges where people plant offerings to the whole community who farm there; you might find raspberries, or cutting flowers, or kale ready to harvest and take home.

Some kind of amaranth…

Some kind of 10-ft glorious amaranth.

I brought home seeds from that community garden, too, of tithonia, in a handkerchief I happened to have in my purse:

These mild days with soft air are a balm to the soul. They always surprise me with their kindness, especially when they turn up between others that are by turn sunless and drizzly, then scorching. For two weeks I’ve had my bedroom and morning room windows wide open to the weather all day and night. A cross breeze rolls over me as I sleep.

Sometimes there’s been a bit of smoke, sometimes heat at midday. At night I often have to burrow under the blankets; I hear the traffic early in the morning, and occasionally the neighbors’ loud voices late at night. But it’s the best way I know to feel alive to the earth. Simply by being open to the weather and the air, I can be In Nature. It’s the most convenient month for that, here where I dwell. September is where it’s easy to feel at home….

But — September is leaving this very week, that change is in the air. I admit to being a little broken-hearted; essentially, I’m being evicted, and that’s harsh. There is nothing for it but to take inspiration from that budding succulent stem above, that will draw on its stored resources, and make the most of whatever sunlight burns through the fog.  Those three little pumpkins will likely come in handy, too, because it’s time to start cozying up to October.

11 thoughts on “Broken hearted over September.

  1. Beautifully expressed! You have been putting a lot of thoughtful effort into your garden too. Generally speaking, succulent cuttings actually benefit from drying out a little before planting. Enjoy this last week of September.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m at the other end of the year with baby seedlings popping up and blossom, and desperate for a bit of warmth and sunshine. Enjoy your months of warm and cosy inside if you can, while I get out into my jungle garden for a bit of fresh air:)

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  3. At this time of the year I should make a point of having a zip lock baggie in my pocket to gather seeds on my walks. I love your black Hollyhocks and would be watching for seeds. Although we have a lot of trouble with rust on the hollyhock leaves. Probably because of our wet Springs.

    That was kind of your neighbour to bring 3 pumpkins after your plants not doing well.

    I hope your Spider plant thrives. They are generally easy to care for. Mine are very rootbound but as long as they still look okay I’ll leave them.

    May October be as mild and beautiful as September was (for both of us).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post so very much, Gretchen. Your language is so very lyrical, so spot on, and so filled with love for these days, this place, this season. Our September has been unseasonably cold and wet, often in the 40s or low 50s and i’ve been inside and a bit stir crazy till today — which wasn’t great but better than anything else has been. Your words take me to your wonderful spot and I am enchanted.

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  5. I wish I felt about my garden the way you do about yours, Gretchen. You have the soul of a true gardener. I think my father felt the same way, probably why he was so happy moving to Florida where he could garden almost year round. I just have to think that maybe October will bring different joys to you. And next year I’ll ask my husband to plant our amaranth in the ground instead of a pot. It’s been beautiful but is a shrimp compared to yours!

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  6. Your delight and contentment with September is palpable in your writing, Gretchen. You are far ahead of me in your garden clean up. Such activity brings great satisfaction. I hope that October days are equally full of abundant joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Aww, Gretchen, you verbalize my feelings so well! I’m amazed to find the summer of sunlight and heat give way to the mellow sun of September. Last week was perfect for hiking and thinking and having a good friend go with me to sit in the mellow sun and “sunbathe”… somehow putting on lotions to ward off the sun is ridiculous in September! I love the softness, the stillness and the rain that is now falling, too. It’s goodbye to the beach and books unless a tiny space is allowed between October and November! Thank you for sharing your life.


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  8. Beautiful! I feel tenderly toward the zinnias and the hollyhocks as they are the strong soldiers, still hanging on,. I look forward to October because to me it holds more promise of fall. Yesterday it was in the 90s and HOT. I love your garden and your wisdom. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a melancholy time for you in the garden. Hubs and I cleaned out my herb garden last weekend which had been sorely neglected for far too long. Two very large rosemary bushes are no more. The ants and roly-polies were not happy to see us! We were disrupting them terribly.

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