The sky, these October days, is a dream of pink, morning and evening as the sun rises and sets. This blush of light stains the scudding clouds that hint of coming snow, not so far off now.
There is a sense of urgency in the air. Hurry and get the gardens to bed. Plant the bulbs, empty the containers (so hard, since many of them contain flowers still happily blooming), put the garden ornaments away. Overhead now, we can see gatherings of ducks and geese, making their way in flocks to and from the farms beyond the city to glean from the harvested fields and some to rest in the river a block away.
The backyard birds are quiet, probably visiting the forest for the fall harvest of berries and bugs. They will return soon enough.
There are still leaves on most trees, although we had 90 km winds last week. Even the trees that are almost stripped bare have little red or gold jewels hanging from the tips of branches. They look like decorations against the branches of neighbouring blue spruce.
I dug up much of the cranesbill geranium yesterday to have room for some new bulbs: tulips, daffodils and grape hyacinth. In the front yard, I have put my nephew, Eric, to work digging up a garden that is now overgrown with a spruce tree and an Amur maple. I am determined to be a better planner for next year and to replant this garden with some order in mind – of course, I always do have order in mind, the trick is to get in hand. Somehow, in spite of all my best intentions, the garden forces me to change my plans and random reigns over order in the end.
It is cool today. A brisk wind awakens the wind chimes and causes the last leaves to dance in the sunlight. Gusts lift the tarp that Glenn has placed over the pool, sending shivers of air over the water beneath the cover. It ripples and speaks in a low voice. The yard is chaos, with dug up bits of plants here and there and the remains of the two shrubs that hid the fence for 20 years.
Eric cut them down and hauled away the branches. Now I must think how to remove the roots of the old mock orange. It did not like the shade of the Manitoba maple tree which rudely took root some years ago among the canes of a snowball viburnum, now long dead. The maple (boxwood elder to some) has spread its branches so wide that shade now occupies this part of the garden except for the rays of the morning sun which reach in there for a couple of hours.
I think the spirea may grow back, so I will leave its roots alone for now and see what happens. Meanwhile, I have neither the strength nor the time to deal with the other roots right now. I will simply plant some of the 200 bulbs I bought in a frenzy of optimism yesterday (when did I think I would have time to plant them?), assuming the snow holds off for a couple of weeks.
Today, I go to Ottawa. I am back Thursday morning until Sunday, when I am off to Kelowna until the following Tuesday. Planting and pink skies will have to wait.
It won’t be the first time I have tucked bulbs into the ground under the freshly fallen snow.
October 16, 2011