The Big Return

In New England, what goes out in the spring must be returned in the fall. At least that is the routine if you want to enjoy those blooms again and use those items the following year and not have to repaint or repair them.

Besides furniture, the biggest return this year are tubers. So far, I have three large boxes all dug, cleaned, and stored. I have another box of cannas drying, and then I need to start on the dahlias. They have been providing nutrients for the bees so I’ve been postponing their dig.

There are always gardening debates about cleaning up yard debris in the fall or the spring. It gets pretty heated online. I’m a fall clean-up person for the simple reason that once the snow packs all the plant material down for several months, the cleanup in the spring is way too much for me.

So, I’ve started cutting back perennials by taking down all that are finished for the season. Plants that are still providing pollen, I leave until they are done. With as many beds as I have, it’s definitely not something that can be done in one day or even one week.

One of the volunteer projects I worked on last week involved six high school girls. I don’t normally garden with teens so it was interesting. I learned a lot. They definitely dress differently, are willing to work, ask good questions, cliques are alive and well, and their attention span is minute except when it involves their phone. We’ll be back at it this week to finish up the project. I applaud their efforts to learn about nature and where their food comes from, and the dedication involved in maintaining a public garden.

As I look at last week which involved a lot of hard work, none of it really matters. My perspective changed with a quick call from a friend whose loved one is dealing with a medical emergency. One minute my mind was focused on a long to-do-list, and the next all I could think about was praying for a successful recovery.

Life’s a journey with a lot of ups and downs. I hope your journey goes well this week.

Take care, stay well, and enjoy the moment like we did when we saw this rainbow.

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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57 Responses to The Big Return

  1. Dan Antion says:

    That’s a beautiful photo, Judy. Kudos to you for working with teens. I wouldn’t be surprised if a little wisdom didn’t find a place in their heads. It may take years to show as an independent thought, but I’m sure it’s there.

    As for cleanup, one year, we were too busy to get after it in the fall. We waited until spring. I have never done that again and I hope I never do.

    I hope you have a great week.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    Sage advice to remind us to live in the moment, Judy. Hope your friend recovers their health.
    Fall is a busy season, almost as busy as spring here, too. But it is more leisurely as I’m in no hurry to end the season. With the temps warmer that usual, things aren’t going over as fast as in the past. Ten degrees makes a big difference. I’m grateful that I still have a lot of annuals from which to make vases.
    Bet it is interesting getting a close encounter with teenagers, 😉 they are a different breed with all their tech in their back pockets, lol! A mutually edifying experience, I’m sure. 🙂 Have a good week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the temps have been great. I was out weeding, cutting back, and moving plants this morning. One bed done! Hanging out in the garden with teen girls was certainly a new experience. They would ask for a tool, use it for five minutes, drop it on the ground, and go chat. 🙂 Thursday we finish up the project so we’ll have high school girls and college boys to do some heavy lifting of rocks. That should be a real kicker. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I pulled the last of my annuals last week. It’s mild here and they were still blooming but had gotten leggy. I’ve learned the hard way that I do not like cleaning up outside when it’s freezing out. Our first frost is usually in October so I’m whittling away at those tasks including outdoor furniture cushions. Somehow it’s always more fun to open up in spring than close up in October! At least this year I won’t have the pond to winterize. I so miss it but the work (which wasn’t all that much) was getting harder.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oddment says:

    Wow. I too had a rainbow yesterday, and it was glorious! I took some pictures but I haven’t checked them yet — I doubt they are as good as yours. But it goes so beautifully with your post: the seasons of life and the seasons of the year. They change in ways we know (mostly). Then there are the changes which come in a blink. I am very sorry for your friend and I will add my prayers to yours. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy beauty when it happens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t seen a rainbow in quite a while so it was a real treat. I’m glad you had a similar treat. 🙂 I was working outside this morning and was enjoying the raindrops on the plants, birds chirping, dahlias being enjoyed by the bees, and one bluejay taking a bath in the birdbath. I was very glad for those small things. Thank you for the prayers. One can never have too many when dealing with a medical challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Murphy’s Law says:

    I’m definitely a dyed-in-the-wool fall garden/yard cleaner upper! Not just the plants, but all my garden gnomes and yard ornaments. I want them washed and dried before I store them in the shed until next spring.

    That is one magnificent rainbow Judy! Usually they are so pale you can barely see them.

    Working with teenagers must’ve been a trip and a half. Yes, they have their own unique way of dressing and doing their hair. But so did we! I’m sure the education isn’t one-way, and that’s a good thing. I applaud the girls for volunteering for this project. They’re bragging to their friends how they worked with these old ladies, and old people aren’t so bad after all! Lol!

    So sorry for your friends loved one. Fingers crossed that there is a remarkable recovery. I sent up a prayer. Couldn’t hurt.

    Hope this turns out to be a really good week for you.
    Ginger

    Liked by 1 person

    • One year I forgot a birdbath, and during the winter the winds took it down and broke the top piece. Expensive forget. 🙂 It was definitely a trip, and you are so right. I can almost hear the conversation they had about the old women. 🙂 I appreciate the prayer.

      Like

  6. I have scraggy looking annuals to pull, mums to put ins their place, lots of perennials to cut back, bulbs to plant, and a cold frame to clean up before I put it over my parsley and chard. I also have a whole porch of houseplants to bring back inside. They are never happy to finish their summer vacation!
    Have a lovely week Judy! It’s raining here now, but I’m sure it will clear so I can get to work!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful pic! I so wish we had color here…..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful pictures! Good luck to your friend. May the recovery be swift and complete. I am one of those who cleans up in the spring. Perhaps it’s what I have in my gardens, but for me it really isn’t any worse than fall clean-up, which I did for years and years. However, your gardens are beautiful and productive so I say do the clean-up when it pleases you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love your rainbow! The fall colors in the header image are stunning! I’m sorry to hear about your friend’s health emergency.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautiful photos and words of wisdom. I hope your friend makes a smooth and successful recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Joyce says:

    Lovely metaphorical treatise on the cycle of life – through the good, the bad, and the inbetween – from the springs of birth to reflections prompted by the inevitable autumns.
    I’m so glad that “screens” weren’t a thing when my daughters were teenagers. It was hard enough keeping them off the phone! The “happy place” of my grandkids is now in front of them, and I see a continual battle with mom and dad to limit visits.
    Having had some experience with teens in my classroom, I can assure you that the impression you’re making with them might not be evident now, but it will be later. They will remember the patient, hard working lady who offered her time to enrich them with new skills and information and be grateful for it. Will they remember what they saw on the screen that day? Not a chance!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the smile thinking of the hours I spent on my princess phone. Oh my goodness. Yes, you probably wouldn’t have been as surprised as I was. They were all pretty girls, lovely hair cuts, big smiles, good speaking skills, but the clothing or lack of it was hard to absorb. Maybe it was all those uniform skirts, white blouses, blazers, and knee socks we wore. 🙂 Boy, my age is showing, and I know you get it so yours is too. LOL Screen time with the younger generations is sure going to provide business for orthopedic, arthritis, carpel tunnel, and opticians down the road.

      Like

  12. Nancy says:

    What a beautiful photo to end with… and what it comes down to is… Simple Pleasures and Enjoying the Moment. Our Long To Do Lists will get done but that rainbow will never be back again.
    I have to do a lot of fall clean up because sometimes when I get back here in the Spring… there is a lot up and growing and sometimes Spring Bulbs are done as well… so Fall Clean Up for me!
    Kudos for working with the teens… they too have lots on their plates from their own Sports teams, clubs, friendships, youth groups, church groups and families. I’m happy they were out there with you.
    I sure hope your friend’s loved one is doing somewhat better… 🙏🏻
    Stay well my friend and don’t work too hard! 🍂🍁

    Liked by 1 person

    • You definitely keep your gardening gloves on with two gardens, and they are both beautiful. I can only imagine how busy teens are today, and these ladies are planning for college next year or as one said she preferred a gap year. Thank you for the good wishes. We’re all praying and hoping.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Eilene Lyon says:

    You have an incredible amount of energy to do all that digging and trimming. How wonderful to have an excuse to spend time with a gaggle of teen girls. That must have been fascinating. Hope your friend recovers quickly..

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Helen says:

    Hope all turns out well with your friends loved one. Health does have a way of putting things in perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Brenda says:

    You are so right about how a medical emergency makes every other concern or problem seem trivial. I hope your friend’s loved one recovers fully. As for all the heated debate on garden clean up, amazing how people settle into their camps of right and wrong. I leave some plants alone in the fall and clean up others–kind of a split approach. Fortunately for me, I’m not a huge fan of dahlias, so I don’t grow them and don’t have to dig them up. That would be one chore, too many, I think. I like to put bulbs in the ground in the fall, not take them out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. It is downright funny to read some of the comments online about fall versus spring cleanup. I am a split person too, but I’m finding I need to make some more plant adjustments because the fall cleanup is just way too much. Of course, I use to work 6-7 hours a day at it and now I do 3-4. Age – it’s a factor. 🙂 The bulbs have been a good-sized job this fall between the cannas, crocosmia, and dahlias. I’ve left one crococmia bunch out to see if they survive. Bulbs – spring or fall do definitely require additional care. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. germac4 says:

    What a beautiful clear rainbow, which always signals hope to me. I also love your photo of the colourful trees….just gorgeous! We are not likely to see those trees in real life, so it’s lovely to look at your photos…remembering that the leaves also require a lot of clearing up in gardens in the Fall.
    Best wishes for your friend, it puts every other concern in perspective.
    Happy gardening this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Joanne Sisco says:

    I haven’t done any fall cleanup work yet and I know I’m soon going to regret it. Maybe this post is the nudge I need to finally get out there and get stuff done!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • How’s the outdoor renovation job going? I hope it is done or almost done, and you get a great deal of satisfaction as you anticipate next summer.

      Like

      • Joanne Sisco says:

        {sigh} We are STILL in a holding pattern waiting for the landscaper. I’m willing to acknowledge that weather hasn’t been our friend for the past month, but the cynical part of me thinks we’ve been told what they think we want to hear rather than the truth of the backlog. I’ve resigned myself to the fact this job won’t be finished until next spring. I hope.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. slfinnell says:

    Here’s to hoping that rainbow was a good sign for your friend. Prayers!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. tonytomeo says:

    Goodness, if we needed to dig all our cannas, we probably would not grow them. There are too many, and that is a lot of work. Well, I suppose they are easier to dig than some other perennials.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is my first year with cannas, and I sure enjoyed their beauty. Digging up, cleaning, and storing bulbs is not my favorite job and probably one year I’ll decide it’s too much. Right now, I’m okay with it because the hummingbirds are so drawn to them. I got them as a gift from a gardener who literally has hundreds of them. I’m not sure how she handles that project, but she does. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • tonytomeo says:

        I just featured cannas in the gardening column recently. Those that are still blooming are quite tall. I need to dig a few that have migrated out of bounds. Rather than relocate them, I will share them with someone else who wants more. There are a few cultivars here. I got ‘Australia’ a while back for a neighbor who requested it for my planter box downtown. I was hesitant about doing so (since I purchase nothing for the garden), but am pleased that I did. That darkly bronzed foliage is quite popular.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I just read your canna post. Mine look like your photo. I don’t have a name because they were gifted. Sharing plants is always fun and rewarding.

        Liked by 1 person

      • tonytomeo says:

        Yes, shared plants are the best. However, I would like to share the canna in the picture with someone who wants a species that looks just like it, but I can not positively identify it. I sort of doubt that it is the desired species, but it really does look very much like it.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. A gardener’s work is never done! How lucky are those girls to be able to spend time with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Pingback: The Big Return — NewEnglandGardenAndThread | Vermont Folk Troth

  22. Fall colors are so glorious. I wish we had more here.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I enjoyed your observations about the high school kids. “Cliques are alive and well” lol Some things never change, eh? That’s good of you to work with them, though. Love the fall colors the most of all the seasons. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

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