Celebrating This Year’s Garden

– Posted in: Garden Musings


Each year, in late fall, when I bid adieu to my garden as it sinks into its cold weather hiatus, I feel a sense of sadness, nostalgia, and appreciation. This year, because I flew from Tel Aviv to celebrate Thanksgiving in Philadelphia, I knew that when I returned that my robust, autumnal Mediterranean garden will have morphed into a quiet, winter garden.

The brilliant zinnias, dancing and cavorting with each other, will most probably be dead due to intense rain and high winds. And my purple hyacinth beans will no longer be adorned with shiny magenta pods and sweet violet flowers.

Pennisetums (one of the few perennial grasses used in abundance throughout Tel Aviv), with the sunlight streaming through their outstanding purple plumes, will have become more subdued, hunkering down for the cold winter.

Pennisetum 'rubrum'

Outside of the straw-colored hues and rustling sounds of  Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’, there will be a minimal amount of color and movement, elements that I so cherish in my garden.

Panicum virgatum

The awesome fall sunrises that captivate me each morning will have become a wintry mix of grey, ice blue, black, and white.

2015-11-25 00.07.14.jpg- November sunrise

The week prior to leaving on my trip, I was mindful that this would be the last time I’d be puttering about on my rooftop gardens this year: I took the time, as I was cutting back vines and pulling the weeds, to savor and celebrate the bounty that I’ve received from this small property that I steward.

It also gave me pause to return to a the chapter in my book, Digging Deep, about celebrating where I wrote:

“The garden is always a work in progress, and unlike finite creations, such as buildings, it is never really done. It does, however, come to a natural conclusion each year when the weather turns chilly and the bloom fades. There is a letting-go process that needs to happen whenever we complete a cycle. For finite creations, like buildings, this happens when they’re declared finished. For cyclical ones, like gardening, or relating to others, this happens when one particular season comes to an end. Through celebrating, we can honor and let go of what was, to once again embrace the present reality of what is so we can move on into what will be.”

As I sit and write this post on a rainy and chilly morning in Philadelphia, my garden in Tel Aviv feels like a dream. Yes, it’s etched in my memory but traveling those 6000 miles has enabled me to ‘let go’; and now I am enjoying the late fall season, here, in Philadelphia. I have arrived just in time to experience the last of the leaves as they flutter to the ground: the colors are still glorious and the smells are divine.

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia

I am incredibly grateful for witnessing the beauty of nature, no matter what time of year, and no matter where I am in the world.

As William Blake wrote:

“But he who kisses the Joy as it flies, lives in eternity’s sunrise.”

Now it’s your turn. How are you celebrating late fall in your garden?

Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book."  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post Contributor.

Learn more about Fran and get free resources that will help you improve your life at www.fransorin.com.

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Fran Sorin
6 comments… add one

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Saxon December 2, 2015, 1:18 pm

love the Blake quote Fran
I am celebrating the Ginkgo leaves falling as a puddle


Carolyn Choi December 3, 2015, 5:00 pm

I’m always sad to see December come as it signals the end of the season here in the Piedmont of North Carolina. My garden still looks good with many blooms still clinging to life and my winter veggie garden is thriving but I know that anyday now that could end suddenly. I’m also enjoying the beautiful Fall colors we have here in this land of many trees-red oaks, dogwood, sweet gum, sumac, sugar maples, japanese maples and crape myrtles . Our Fall colors rival those of the New england states.

I have been busy preparing the garden for winter – shredding leaves and pine needle and mulching all the beds with them. I must learn as you have to appreciate every season but its a hard task for me to love winter as I grew up in the deep South and have never been able to tolerate cold weather. Living in Chicago for 4 decades I would’ve gone mad during those long winters had it not been for painting. I am about to return to the studio and wait for Spring. Hoping for a short, sweet winter.

RD@Wetland Restoration December 8, 2015, 2:20 am

Nice blog. It’s indeed worth celebrating especially the those flowers. Keep maintaining it and try to improve it.

Greenwood Nursery December 10, 2015, 5:13 pm

Your garden in Tel aviv does sound like a dream! so far, the transition into winter has been fairly gentle here- we’re being spoiled! in fact, in my personal garden, I’ve noticed some new growth in the lawn, which is usually unheard of this time of year. with the ground yet to freeze, days warming the soil, and rain still abundant, many people around the united states could probably still enjoy fall planting when they normally couldn’t this time of year. might be a great time to jump into adding a few lovely things like some hellebores in the garden! https://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/195324

Greenwood team

Mark December 13, 2015, 11:54 pm

This post made me realize so many things. thanks for this. it did let me appreciate the things that i’ll be letting go soon. 🙂

Fran Sorin December 16, 2015, 5:05 am

Mark- So glad to hear that the post was helpful to you. Have a magnificent holiday season. Warmly, Fran

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