The first week of October
...is what most of my gardening has now been consolidated to, the high maintenance annuals allowed to atrophy making it less painful for me to return their remains to the earth and the perennial beds left to their own devices. With school in session and less abundance of daylight, my plants futilely awaited me, like children drooping in their darkened bedrooms hoping for one more drink of water. I must care for what I can care for, and no more, whatever apology it may bring. I have inserted pots of mums in five colors to act as escorts in an attempt to cheer us on until the coldness comes. Record temperatures and lack of water confuse us all – my plants and me. The lavender has bloomed again in the loose, powdery earth, not knowing what else to do and the pumpkins are prematurely softening before their big day. My red geraniums now clustered on the back steps below an aging oak are disturbed by acorn-seekers. Soil is flung about; I scoop it up as best I can and pat it in again, reassuring my beauties, “there, there, now Lady Geraniums, try to keep your heads about you.” They whisper their wisdom to me. The diminutive alyssum does not jealously wish to be bigger than the geranium and, in turn, the geranium’s pride does not bully the delicate nature of the alyssum. The white alyssum simply spills out of the pot because it can, while the geranium must keep her elaborate coiffure propped up with strong elbows. To be sure, nature has its dastardly doers (poison ivy), its cunning tricksters (Venus Flytraps) and opportunistic squatters (weeds), but here in my pots, there is some containment, some control. Company clusters together for the waiting, waning times. Pot therapy.