The November-December Garden

DSCN1599The November & December  Garden

You’ve heard the expression, “You should have seen the garden yesterday,” implying the existing perfection that was then, but is no longer available today. On this glorious October Sunday afternoon, as I write this reflection, there seems little difference between today and my journal entry dated November 8, 2008. Sitting today on the patio at Nantucket Grill, eating a late lunch and reading the latest copy of The English Garden magazine, it is 72 degrees. It is the height of our Piedmont fall, the sun on the trees showing off the blazing reds and yellows. Yet several days later I wrote, today the wind is blowing across the garden leaving behind fading colors and bare branches. This turning from October to November and December comes on swiftly. Thankfully, in this turning, there are still joys to be found in the garden. One of the best gifts is the Camellia Sasanquas that flower now. My journal mentions the one I have planted in a large pot in full bloom in late November. Its pinkish petals and bright yellow centers are worthy of photographs this afternoon. In the center of each blossom I found a bee drinking well before five o’clock, but then I suppose the bees figure its five o’clock somewhere. 

Can it really be time to write and think about the last two months of the year? Every November it is the same for me. I begin to look at magazines for holiday inspiration. I drag out all my saved November-December holiday issues. I love the articles featuring beautiful rooms, themed colors that match the package wrapping and bows. Each year I say the same thing, this is the year I am going to have a Martha Stewart Christmas. There is no end to my ambition of doing everything up right. The energy I have to create this MS Christmas abounds while sitting in my chair surrounded with these magazines and flower arranging books. Yes, this year, flowers, lots and lots of flowers.

But something always happens between when I sit in the chair with all my big ideas and the day that arrives to start the execution of these plans. I begin to think that lots of flowers will cost considerable money. If I strip my shelves to display Christmas things, where will I store my books and antique glass and platters? I can feel my big holiday balloon start to loose some of its air as my feet slowly float towards the floor. The Martha Stewart part of me wants to be let loose, but what of all the work and obsessing this brings on?  Perhaps my November plans of perfection should be postponed for another year. Looking out to the garden, cleaned up and put to bed for a few short North Carolina months, I am happy that this beautiful space is an extension of my home in every season.

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
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