The mums and the last of the double colchicums are still throwing out new blooms, but after a hard freeze they look like wet facial tissue. All but the stubbornest trees have dropped their leaves, and most perennials, if they have any leaves at all, are looking either yellow, brown, or mushy. But there are still some plants that are looking great. Yes, great!Though the garden certainly looks brown and tattered, little jewels of foliage can be found by the careful observer. We’ve had several nights in the low twenties (-7C), but these plants hardly look affected. As long as the ground hasn’t frozen solid, there will still be reasons to venture forth on mild days and hunt for surprises.
Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.
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