the garden in autumn-a time of possibilities

August 4, 2020

Use Its Broad Reach

The garden in autum has possibilities because of its broad reach, that is its ability to extend itself into other seasons, What we do in the autumn garden has a profound influence on our performance in other seasons,

  • we can add plants that extend the beauty and productivity of the summer garden’
  • autumn is our chance to prepare for how the plants rest in the winter
  • it sets up the spring garden for success

The True Nature Of Gardening-It Is A Long Game

Autumn is when the garden slows down, we are still actively gardening before winter but we have an opportunity take a breather and do our planning, This is when we start to understand what a long game it is. We like the physical labor, the exercise, the being outdoors, but it is the essential optimism of the gardener, that desire to plan for forever that is the core of the whole business.

“Garden as if you will live forgether.”

-William Kent

William Kent was the pioneer of what we love about the classic English natural garden. He sounds like an entertaining character and the definition of a “Renaissance Man.” He started life as a painter of carriages, some customers admired his work and became his patrons.

They even took him on the famous “Grand Tour” of the 18th century. It was the coming of age experience of all up and coming young men of his time. He studied Palladian Villas, he learned classical styles of painting in Italy.

He saw the renaissance the way no working-class British boy could ever do. He did not waste any time, he became a painter, a sculptor, an architect, a garden designer, and was a groundbreaker in everything he did.

Rousham House

This might be the most beautiful garden in England and Kent made it. It is located a few miles north of Oxford University, we visited it and found the place unforgettable. Here is what we saw.

The Gardener’s Attitude

There is an awful lot to be learned from studying Kent and the way he gardened. (When Capability Brown, was a young garden designer, he worked for William Kent.) But I do think that the most important thing to learn was his attitude. “Garden as if you will live forever.”

Learn that, and your other mistakes will be minor.

Extend The Season

We can add ornamentals and vegetables that prefer cooler climates. The fun does not need to end here and we are not leaving the soil bare.

Prepare For Winter

We can weed, water and plant, adding mulch to protect the roots of dormant perennials. Berries appear for wildlife in the garden. If we keep planting and weeding until the soil freezes we will leave the garden in healthy shape to face the cold.

Set The Spring Garden Up For Success

In fall, the soil remains warm, as the season progresses, warmer than the air. This allows the plants to put all of their energy into extending the root system. As the days cool, water evaporates more slowly and the garden benefits.

Plant Early Blooming Spring Perrenials, And Bulbs

Early blooming spring perennials will begin to bloom early in spring because their roots are established and the plants ready to perform. Perrenial herbs,planted in fall will be edible in May. The same herbs planted in spring will not be useful until late summer. What we do this autumn in the garden will make our next summer garden far more productive.

As the weather cools plants face less heat stress and can devote energy to root development.

Spring Is Hectic, Autumn Is Calm

Spring in the garden has its unique beauty but it is busy It is hard to play the long game. In Autumn we still have the summer garden in bloom. This change of seasons is the perfect time for planning. We see how everything looks, how the shapes and colors flow, where the empty spots are,

As autumn turns to winter, and more plants enter dormancy, the bare bones of the garden become more significant, it is easy to identify changes and additions we need to make next year.

Take The Opportunity To Do Strategic Planning