This is the first time I’ve done this – dig up plants with the hope of salvaging the rhizomes for next year’s garden. I have elephant ears and cannas, safely set aside.

It’s pleasant to have expectations of spring even before the ground is frozen.

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides. ~W. E. JohnsThe Passing Show

(Especially when my enthusiasm out weighs gardening savvy. )

Knowing what I am doing in our yard during any season is not always a given. So, I look up stuff; like what to do with plants before they expire.

Instead of following the experts, whose online advice  wasn’t clear, I followed my neighbor’s advice, and did as she did: dig ’em up and bag ’em.


I followed SALVAGING advice this year

A gardening tip from Karel Čapek,  in The Gardener’s Year, reminds me that November doesn’t end gardening chores.

“You ought to know, you [woman] of the garden, that in these autumnal days you can still transplant.” (The Gardener’s Year, pages 101-102)

But, the root system Karel’s brother Josef Čapek* sketches, warns me that transplanting isn’t for amateurs. The older the plant is, the bigger the ball of roots, and the harder the task of transplanting.  So,

It’s better to leave the roots where they are and improve the soil. (p. 102)

Josef Čapek’s sketch of the unseen roots reminds me of my memories: sometimes they are clear recollections of so many people, places, and things that happened.  But like the roots, my memories can be entangled with few thoughts and emotions that aren’t so reliable.


Transplanting isn’t for amateurs

So, here’s where gardening advice can perk up my autumn’s garden:

It’s better to leave the roots where they are and improve the soil. (p. 102)

Or, accept the past – the roots that made me, me. But, keep working the soil! Do whatever it takes to stay attractive and productive.

It is never to late to be what you might have been. –George Eliot

So, just for today, then,  my autumn’s garden chore list includes

  • Staying connected with the Master Gardener.
  • Serving — Staying connected with people.
  • Exercising the old body, mind, and spirit, and
  • RESIST giving advice I rarely followed.

The benefit of a renewed mind is that it’s the only way to make peace with an aging body. Abigail Dodds

*About the artist Josef Čapek

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