Sunday, November 28, 2010

Before It Snows, Late Fall... & Merwin Poem

I doubt my photos stand out from the rest I see hurled up on the internet, but here they are. Ringing endorsement? Apathy? No. The garden is beautiful right now. If this lineup of brown looks monotone to you, click on and expand the images. You know what I'm talking about. The birds have been feasting. They know. But I'm ready for snow, excited to see what the plants do to it, and what it does to them--the highlighting, the sculpting, the reflection of one on the other.

Aster laevis seed, which I
promptly shook off in the breeze

Creepy coneflower seed

'Prairie Fire' Crabapple

Black-Eyed Susan Ruby Something or Other

Ahh sweet texture

Dew Light -- W.S. Merwin

Now in the blessed days of more and less
when the news about time is that each day
there is less of it I know none of that
as I walk out through the early garden
only the day and I are here with no
before or after and the dew looks up
without a number or a present age

Rabbits ate the right side of the sumac last
winter, will they balance it out this winter?

Amsonia hubrichtii

Lysimachia 'Firecracker' in foreground, bright orange,
with a divine shaft of light shafting the fall garden. 


allanbecker-gardenguru said...

There is a haunting, ethereal quality to the photos of your fall garden that make them stand out from among the other autumn images "hurled up on the internet".

Next summer, in addition to the magnificent fluttering Monarchs, perhaps you will give us a glimpse of these same plants in bloom.

Don't be concerned that other gardeners' images might overshadow yours. Every garden has its own story to tell.

Diana Studer said...

Mm hmm! I find your garden memorable for its 'je ne sais quoi', and inviting because we share the gardening for wildlife mentality. Your pictures tell a story. Today's poem puts me right into your garden!

Carolyn ♥ said...

Enjoyed your browns! Today my gardens are white.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Allan--Thanks. It would be interesting if a person somewhere shows a specific plant(s) in every season. That would be a helpful and neat database.
EE--Unfortunately, all that dew is frezing this time of year.
M--I'm ready for white! Bring it on!

Carol said...

I love these textured, muted fall photos of your garden. I love too that it is a feast for birds. I tried to find your book. . . maybe you know a secret? Having trouble. The link did not work and my local bookstore cannot get it? I was hoping you had a ton of copies so you could make more than just the royalty. I could send a check and then you might send an autographed copy?? Your garden and your writing are exceptional . . . why are we always our own worst critics!?

Benjamin Vogt said...

Carol--I run across far too many people who aren't self critical enough; and by that I mean they settle, don't try, set their sights far too low. Artists should always be self critical and shooting for the moon, esp on later drafts / artworks. As for the book, don't know why a bookstore couldn't order it for you--that's odd. Anyway, email your address to, and we'll exchange info so I can get it sent to you. Thank you!!

Les said...

After three seasons of riotous color, the time of brown, gray and eventually white gives the eyes a chance to rest - and to appreciate what we have when the color returns.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Truer words were never spoken by Les. I do need the rest! Go that garden tour to store up for--and the freaking out which ensues.

lostlandscape (James) said...

Ah the perfect description of the state of mind that a garden can allow you to enter (if you're willing): "only the day and I are here with no / before or after". I'd be happy to sit with an eternal present of the earthy browns in your photos. Still, it's exciting to look forward to the upcoming eternal present of brilliant white.

Susan Tomlinson said...


And I adore Merwin. More, please. Always.

Benjamin Vogt said...

James--I've been having dreams about snow and what it will look like in my maturing garden. Is that sick? It's cold outside, in the teens at night, so it might as well get to the season so I can start dreaming about spring.
Susan--More Merwin. Yes ma'am. I teach him in mym poetry classes, and to my great surprise, the students respond well to him (no punctuation and all).

Indoor Fountains said...

It is looking like it is getting quite cold on the prairie..