Gardening in autumn is weird. I’m in a flannel shirt and wool socks, moving plants, pulling others out of the ground, recomposing the flower beds for how I want them to look next gardening season.
There aren’t green sprouts to get excited about like in spring. I’m working as the weather gets colder instead of warmer. Everything is brown and will not be coming back anytime soon. I wonder if today’s work will be successful, and how long I will have to wait to find out. Come spring, will I even know where I moved stuff and why? Will I still want them arranged that way? I made all my new bed designs based on what was in bloom in August in September. In spring they might look terrible.
Today I worked in a November drizzle. I divided fescue grasses, lambs ears, and marjoram to make borders on some of the beds. If you have patience with gardening — and if dividing plants in fall really works like the gardening books say it will — you can make a single plant go a long way. An individual marjoram I bought four years ago for probably $3.99 is now a full border of 10 plants. Four blue fescues are now eight. A single lambs ear became six.
I’ve never gardened in autumn. I’m usually too tired and just don’t care by the time October and November arrive. But this year I have a few days off, and the garden has expanded enough that I’m not sure I can do all the dividing and transplanting in spring while also working a full time job.
Since this is my first time gardening in November, I don’t know what to expect. The drizzle today precedes a cold snap tonight. I watered in the transplants, but what happens if it freezes? Will crystalized droplets slice through tender, disturbed roots? I’ll have to wait six months to find out.