Tuesday, September 19

When fall comes to central Mississippi

I was glad of my green sweater this morning as I rolled the trash can to the street in the early morning chill. The plants on the back deck, still wet from yesterday’s rain, looked ready to face a new day. While all my plants receive the same amount of attention, some thrive and others languish. After each rain one plant in particular looks as if it could take over the world. It floors me when I see it, its leaves seemingly twice the size they were before. I make a Kramer-like jump and gasp, “The Healthiest Plant Ever!”

Meanwhile, my mint has died on me for the second year in a row (if anyone has any mint-growing tips, please pass them on!), and the grassy plant from Eudora Welty’s garden is in its ebb. I think of it as the phoenix plant because it dries up to almost nothing before shooting out fresh green spikes and beginning over again. The first time this happened I was alarmed. After all, it’s not every girl who has a cutting from the Welty garden. What if I killed my one plant with a pedigree? As the pattern repeated, I relaxed. I know that what it really wants is to get out of its pot and into the ground, but alas, I’m a renter and must content myself with container gardening.

I find that seasons call for different kinds of reading. Nineteenth century Russian and British novels for winter (Dostoyevsky, the Brontes, Dickens), and Lucy Maude Montgomery is well suited for spring. But autumn is harder to pinpoint. I read Walker Percy’s The Second Coming last fall, and it fit perfectly. I felt Allie’s urgency to prepare her greenhouse before cold weather settled in. This year I am reminded of the Inklings—Lewis and Tolkien understood the pleasures of a chilly tramp through woods and countryside followed by propping one’s feet up in a comfy chair with tea or pipe. So I’m bumping The Narnian and The Two Towers up on my reading list.


Micah said...

Mint is like kudzu, at least in Louisiana. Give it one spot of your garden and it will soon occupy the whole thig and be eyeing your house. That said, it probably is best to keep it in the ground rather than in a pot. It likes to have "wet feet" (ie lots of water) and sun to moderate shade. I think Martha recommends growing it in one of those coconut-lined hanging baskets.

Have you ever read Mandy by Julie (Andrews) Edwards? It's a kid's book, but is still one of my favorites...about an orphan who adopts a little secret cottage and plants a garden. Good fall read.

Brad said...

You appear to have been in a very poetic and descriptive mood this morning. I was just chilly.

Caroline said...

I put Mandy on my holds list at the library. Thanks for the recommendation, Micah.

Ha ha. I was feeling descriptive!

wendell said...

I like the entry. Poetic and descriptive, yes. I miss you.