A Garden’s Language

Fall is really about delayed gratification; we know our perennials will come into flower again as the seasons unfold.

bare garden in fall

Photo: Jennifer Lamb

Working in our gardens in autumn, we also revel in the crispness of the air and are energized to create a clean canvas to showcase the emergence of our spring flowers.

Recently I returned from a month traveling in Australia, where it is now early summer, and it seemed as if everything was in bloom. For example, in subtropical Brisbane, the Jacaranda trees had ethereal canopies of lavender-blue flowers.

I think about those flowers, still blooming in the Antipodes, as I try to adjust to the autumn cycle in my own garden, back home in Indiana. As I cut down the spent perennials that flowered during my absence, I remind myself that there are always flowers blooming somewhere on the planet, as well as in my mind’s eye.

Gardens in the Fall

Fall is really about delayed gratification; we know our perennials will come into flower again as the seasons unfold. Fall clean-up also reacquaints us with the bones of our gardens, as the shapes of our beds, blurred by plants spilling over the edges all summer, reappear.

Working in our gardens in autumn, we also revel in the crispness of the air and are energized to create a clean canvas to showcase the emergence of our spring flowers.

The garden writer Henry Mitchell wrote words that resonate.

Gardening is not a monument or an achievement, but a sort of travelling, a kind of pilgrimage… A garden is not a picture, but a language…

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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