Grace in the garden

Fall brings a gardener face to face with moments of grace in the garden, which recharge the spirit.

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    A bee takes a nap on a dahlia flower.
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While the stinkbugs have become more grotesque this week, I prefer to focus on the moments of grace that recharge my spirit in the garden.

I am listening to the song "A Sleeping Bee" by Harold Arlen and remembering the fat bees that sleep on my big dahlias.

Today I turned over a container overly full of water to find four sleeping salamanders resting in the cool temperatures beneath, thinking they had found a good spot to overwinter. They were chilly, and it took the sun a few minutes to warm them enough so they could scamper away.

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Tonight there are freeze warnings so I guess the awful summer is nearly over. I went out and covered the clivia, the unripe cotton bolls, the dahlias, and the basil.

If it does freeze, the basil will be toast under the sheets, but it is an attempt at protection. I live on an east-facing hill and often the frost just rolls down to the flatlands.

While I will miss the growing season once winter has arrived, I will try to cope. Music helps, and those plant catalogs will be coming. The low afternoon sun will create many sundogs, and they are always a gift.

Looking ahead, I realize that this year I must find seed for very thick-skinned tomatoes to try to thwart the stinkbugs. Maybe that will work.

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Donna Williamson blogs regularly at Diggin' It. She's a master gardener, garden designer, and garden coach. She has taught gardening and design classes at the State Arboretum of Virginia, Oatlands in Leesburg, and Shenandoah University. She’s also the founder and editor of Grandiflora Mid-Atlantic Gardening magazine, and the author of “The Virginia Gardener’s Companion: An Insider’s Guide to Low Maintenance Gardening in Virginia.” She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. To read more by Donna, click here.

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