Fall is welcome here in this New England garden. Blooms are traded for bright and burnished foliage and glowing seed heads. While the foliage lasts but a short week or two it also signals the garden's respite. Everyone needs a rest. The plants, the gardener and the thermometer. The gardens surrounding the house look battered and worn. August arrived and left leaving little moisture for the garden. September wasn't much better. In addition, the white tailed deer have been enjoying the buffet of the garden. Lush hostas are reduced to single stalks. So it goes in the gardener's life. Some success and many failures. Still, there are a few spots of color. The monkshood has several toppled stems but the few upright ones sport a jaunty, royal purple bloom. Asters and persicarias carry the day in the left handed mitten garden and one can always count on the Pink Sheffield mums for apricot blooms. I took a walk to the back field yesterday. It is not a regular event since the loss of the pups who loved to run, play and chase the scent of wildlife. Autumn was in full swing. Maples can exhibit a vast color range, ranging from bright red through burnished copper. This maple was glowing in the lower light of a fall afternoon. I crossed the stone wall to check out the spring which was once in the field providing water for livestock. There is no livestock there now and the field has given way to hardwoods. The spring was dry. I have seen that only one other year in all the years I have lived here. Each season gives us different challenges and each season teaches a gardener something new. Next year there will be a bit of drip irrigation for some of the vegetable garden. The mixed borders will have to deal with whatever Mother Nature decides. Except for those white tailed deer. These two beloved guys did a good job of keeping them away from the gardens.The dogs are gone but the deer, well, they have to go and the best method for control, other than the expensive fence just might be a new puppy. Yes, it is time this garden and this gardener had a new Job Supervisor. It may take a while but there will be a new face here at Ledge and Gardens sometime in the future. Now, what might be a good name?
Tucker, beloved labrador retriever, passed away quietly at his home on May 21st. For sixteen years he was a constant and devoted companion to his family. Tucker was a noble dog with dignity and quiet reserve. He was no lap dog and would never lower himself to slobbering sniffs, uncontrolled barking or disgraceful begging. He was persistent in his pursuit of unusual scents and would follow them to their end with a doggedness deserving of that title. He had many accomplishments in his long (for a dog) life. He could, in his day, shake hands, roll over and fetch a ball although he never really wanted to return that ball to the thrower. He was the Job Supervisor on all major planting projects including container plantings. He had a great eye for plant combinations. Tucker was the ultimate water dog. He loved to swim and chase his splashes. A running hose was a source of constant amusement for Tucker. Water was his friend. When he turned twelve, he acquired a brother, Cooper. While he tried his best to train Cooper in restraint and dignity, he rarely succeeded. Their first meeting was one of altercation and it was only Tucker's resigned acceptance which allowed them a comfortable companionship. Tucker truly understood that 'Top Dog' was a futile pursuit and he bowed graciously to his younger, more energetic sibling. Both dogs loved to take a walk to the back field. There they could run and chase the wild scents of the day with exuberance and spontaneous joy. Tucker leaves us with many wonderful memories which include his warm and moist nose, soft fur and his unconditional love and devotion. He was laid to rest in the field that he loved. So long sweet friend.