During the past two weeks, the community garden has taken a back seat as I’ve been driving down county roads trying to get my children to after-school and weekend baseball games, violin lessons, marching band competitions and robotic events.
September was a blur of green fields and forests passing by the car windows as we drove place to place.
But yesterday, I noticed that the nearby landscape is changing. Shimmering leaves of gold are mixing with and almost overtaking the vast fields of green beans growing on local farmland. Dots of red apples are hanging from the roadside orchards. The local woods are showing slight hints of red and orange, yellow and brown.
My neighbor has already raked a small pile of dry leaves in his front yard. Another neighbor greets visitors with a collection of decorative scarecrows on her front porch.
The few vegetable stands that remain open display tables of bright orange pumpkins and colorful gourds surrounded by pots of blooming chrysanthemums in various colors.
The leaves of our neighbor’s blueberry bush in the community garden have already turned a crimson red. The sun is setting much earlier in the evening. And our other garden neighbor’s giant sunflowers are bent over as if bowing to the fact that the growing season has ended.
Summer’s hold is weakening – but not so fast.
Our garden continues to produce spurts of beans, tomatoes, squash, lettuce and radishes.
It’s a time to clean up the withered plants in the garden and to gather the last fresh vegetables until next spring.
As I debated whether or not to remove our jalapeno plants from the garden, I noticed a set of wind chimes dangling from one of my neighbor’s sunflowers. The music replaced the familiar summer hum of bugs. The plant was among a row of similar flowers, each twisted into bent shapes like a row of shepherd’s hooks.
Inspired by the strength of the flowers’ stalks, I left our pepper plants alone. Who am I to pull up green plants and declare that the growing season has ended? That’s a job for Jack Frost.
Until he ushers in winter, the Green Thumbs will continue to tend to the garden.