May 5, 2010
the haunted garden
At this time of year, I traditionally become obsessed with my garden. Raking and weeding. Moving plants and dividing perennials. Fertilizing and mulching. Frequenting plant sales and garden centres in search of new additions. Not that I have room for many new additions; I have a small yard, and each year a little more lawn is sacrificed to the cause. Some plants grow more successfully than others. Shrubs love me; vegetables, not so much.
My springtime gardening obsession, however, typically loses momentum by midsummer. When I become more interested in sitting on the deck than digging in the dirt. By then, my enthusiasm has dwindled. I no longer care that bugs are devouring my roses. Or that the leaves of my lilac bushes are turning brown. Or that my "fail-proof" basil crop has failed for yet another year. I want to care. But in the heat of August and in the anticipation of autumn, I don't.
But this year, I have decided to make this late-season apathy my friend.
So rather than struggling to summon the interest and energy required for the autumn tasks of pruning, mulching, and general tidying up, I have decided to do absolutely nothing. Instead, I have decided to allow the decrepit appearance of my garden in October to create a natural backdrop for a haunted garden theme this Halloween. This is a theme that creates itself. Perennials will be withered and dried and listing weakly over patches of bare earth. Shrubs will have become shriveled shells of their former selves. Mulch will have broken down or blown away, exposing clods of weed-infested soil. Limp vegetable plants will provide a long-dead memory of what might have been. I expect it will be ideal. The best part, of course, is that I will feel no nagging guilt. No little voice in my head telling me to get out there and make the yard at least semi-presentable. No, it'll all be part of the plan.
I'll create my own additions to the garden, of course. The trees should fit in nicely. I may be able to cobble those old science fair backboards into something resembling a garden shed. And I'm currently working on turning an old papier mache mask experiment into some lovely Halloween flowers.
This could work. I'm feeling less apathetic already.