I’ve spent the last few weeks putting my gardens to bed before ski season begins. It’s a slow process. I can’t bear to cut anything down if there is the slightest trace of color left in the plant or if it still has interesting form. It’s now November and not much is colorful or remains standing. I lament the passing of the bountiful growing season, rich with fragrant and edible delights, color, texture and structure. I’ll miss having fresh flowers on my dining table every day.
I work in waves with each successive frost, removing the less hardy perennials that have shriveled up and turned brown or turned mushy and lay flattened on the soil and add them to the compost bins.
Last night we had a hard frost. This morning blades of grass and fallen leaves and apples were edged with silver. I had to scrape my windshield. The last remaining purple in the once brilliant asters disappeared overnight and the Physostegia fell to the ground.
Into my garden I went, armed with my favorite Japanese saw, ready to do my final clean up. As I bent down to cut back the Physostegia I found that yesterdays slender green stalks and leaves topped with graceful pale pink flowers had been transformed to the most succulent and vibrant shades of purplish red – like the juice that gets on your fingers when peeling beets. Its leaves were streaked with slivers of olive-y green and ochre. What a delightful surprise!
I couldn’t resist bringing the brilliant stems indoors to enjoy. I placed them in a turquoise blue pottery vase from the 1920’s and placed them on my table. I have captured their brilliance in a photograph and translated what I see into a color palette and then dropped the colors into one of my print designs.
Although the color has drained from my garden, Mother Nature will continue to inspire me with color even through the bleak days before snow carpets the landscape. For more information on my print and color palette work visit http://www.PoppyGall.com.