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Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013
Summer is really, really overPosted Monday, October 27, 2008, at 5:08 PM
Puttering with flowers is one my favorite spring and summer activities. I may not be very successful with vegetables, but I'm pretty good at making flowers grow.
Here in Missouri, the growing season is a little longer than I'm used to, and I really appreciate being able to enjoy the beauty of my little patch of color well into late October.
Summer can be tough -- some of the plants I like to grow begin to exhibit signs of heat exhaustion in mid-July, and when it's really hot in August, the whole garden just sort of languishes, with drooping flowers and little new foliage. Watering becomes more of a task than a pleasure, but still the flowers are so beautiful.
All that's required is a little patience, though, because in September everything comes back into full flower and I get another 6 or 8 weeks of beauty to look at.
With our drenching rains this year, the "droopy" season was bypassed, though, and I rarely had to water anything. A mixed blessing, at best, since the time I didn't spend watering my garden was spent bailing water out of the basement.
Sometimes, you have to really look closely at your, uh, blessings.
But still, sitting outside in the early evening, I really enjoy just looking at the flowers while the small fountain in my whiskey barrel "water garden" provides a soft background noise that's very relaxing. When we have time, my husband and I often sit outside on the patio and talk about whatever comes to mind. Until the mosquitoes make their appearance at dusk, it's a very pleasant way to spend time together.
But all good things must end.
With a frost predicted for later in the week, and little extra time except on the weekends, the part of the year I like the least arrived Sunday.
With firm resolve, I got out of bed and dressed for the annual battle.
Oldest jeans and oldest sneakers I own -- check.
Turtleneck and sweatshirt -- check.
Heavy-duty gardening gloves -- check.
Pruning shears, rake, broom -- check, check, check.
Then I went outside and spent another little bit of time just looking at everything.
This is a job I really hate to do. Even though I know it has to be done, it's better than letting a frost kill it all. Because then it's an ugly, slimy mess, and the beauty is gone before I get a chance to say goodbye.
Yes -- goodbye. I do say goodbye to them all.
Sure -- I know it's a little weird to get so attached to flowers. And weirder still to silently apologize as I pull up each plant.
But they are living things, aren't they? They don't talk, they don't walk, they don't do much of anything except look pretty -- but still they are living things. My little apology -- well, little old ladies like me do things like that.
All the hours I spent planting, weeding, watering -- all the many hours more than that I spent watching it all grow and become more beautiful every day -- all the pleasure I took in just sitting and looking at it …
They far outweigh the two or three hours it took to pull it all up for another year.
But it still makes me sad to say goodbye.
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Kathy Fairchild received a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration in 1986 from Marycrest College, Davenport, Iowa. She is also a 2003 graduate of the paralegal program at New York University. She moved to Marshall in 2006, following a career of more than 30 years with the world's largest farm equipment manufacturer. She is an Air Force brat and grandmother of four.