After six years, I finally persuaded my wife to write a post for OpinionbyPen. Well, that and the sadness she felt with the transition to winter killing so much of her garden. She’s writing under the nom de guerre of Big Tomato. Keeping the Brussel sprouts at bay, I hasten to add that her name has nothing to do with her weight and everything to do with the mountains of huge tomatoes she grows every year. If you want to see her garden, head over to Nature by Carol.

The Killing Frost, A Transition to Winter by Big Tomato

The killing frost came to my Garden last night. This morning, I walked around the garden viewing the icy transformation that had occurred overnight. Missing were the bright colors highlighted in the lengthening rays of the rising sun, the fluttering of butterflies, the humming drone of bees, this morning all was still and eerily silent. Even the birds seemed to have gone away. No more sweet fragrance of jasmine and roses. The transition to winter had come.

Everything was dusted and edged with deadly silver crystals. I had been expecting the frost, had been surprised it had not happened the previous night. It was certainly cold enough, but the winds were too strong, offering one last reprieve to my friends. This morning, the brisk winds had left. The killing frost was here. Frigidly cold, glitteringly beautiful, all my summer friends frozen perfectly still.

I feel melancholy for what has past. Many people think this is the end of the garden, in reality it is only a transition. I will miss my abundance of colorful annuals, which were brilliantly stunning this fall, thanks to the late rains we had.

I ambled through the paths of the Garden reminiscing on the year nearly finished. Checking a plant here and there as I walk.  It had been a challenging year for gardeners in Texas. The cool weather lingered late into the spring, damaging plants. The heat came on suddenly, stressing the plants. The summer was long and brutal. Finally came the rains, a blessing at first which became too much, too heavy and too frequent. But throughout it all, the Garden still offered beauty and calm and bounty.

Each year is different and each season brings changes and challenges. With the transition to winter, the growing season for most things is over in 2018. My annuals passed on last night, shortly to be removed. So many of my perennials will soon seem like they are dead and gone too…..but I know that they just sleep and grow roots for an even better display next summer.  Some few plants will now enter their own growing time. There is always something alive and flourishing in the Garden even in its dormancy.

For me, the transition to winter is that one morning every autumn for saying goodbye to those friends who are done. I took lots of photographs all season long as the Garden grew. This morning, until the sun burns away the frost, will be the last photograph for most.  Captured with their frosty halo, for one last lingering moment, they are beautiful still.

While I say farewell, I already begin to think and plan for next year. So much to be done. I gathered seeds from my favorite flowers and herbs. They are safely stored. I took cuttings where I could and they are tucked into the greenhouse nursery, snug and warm. Growing into the new plants that in a few months will form the living core of the Garden next spring.

For now the next chores of gardening begin. Clearing the garden beds. Gathering up the leaves for mulching. Preparing for the next years promises. Moving things that should be better elsewhere, tucking everything in for its winters slumber. So much to do, so much to be reflected on, so much to anticipate the seasons to come.

© 2018 – 2019, Byron Seastrunk. All rights reserved.