Fall Garden Cleanup Song

Fall Garden Cleanup Song

Labor Day has come and gone, in all its gray, rainy glory here in the Pacific Northwest. (I live in the ‘convergence zone’ so if it’s going to rain, it’s always right over my house.) It looks like the last summer days are behind us, and now it’s time to start thinking about what we need to do in the garden in fall. The good news – fall is a great time for planting, so that means browsing the plant sales and nurseries for choice new plants. The bad news – the spent perennials and tired annuals are now looking bedraggled and it’s time for clean up, along with the inevitable loads of leaves that will be coming down. With thirteen Japanese maples, five Katsura trees, three Himalyan birch, one Kousa dogwood and two massive native big-leaf maples in my garden, let’s just say I go a little insane about this time of year. Every year.

Music can always make the fall gardening chores a bit easier

In 2002 we needed to paint our home exterior. I’ll confess that, owing to my plant addiction, I have a “densely planted” garden. I didn’t want the painters to trample my choice conifers and deciduous shrubs as they worked on the house, so I asked to be scheduled for the paint job in mid-September, about the last good painting days of the season (or so I hoped).

In mid-August, I began tackling the business of cutting back perennials. It just seemed too early, but I wanted the painters to be able to put their ladders in the open spaces left from the cleared perennials, and not break off branches of nearby shrubs.

One beautiful day, as I was snipping away at massive amounts of biomass that was my fading garden, a song popped into my head. Not just any song, but Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now or Never.” And not the correct lyrics, but some that just seemed so apropos of the moment. I have never forgotten that song (it was even published in some horticulture newsletters) and I thought this was the right time to share it with you.

And so with apologies to all you Elvis fans out there who might consider this sacrilege, here’s a “Fall Cleanup Song” for you to sing while you’re dodging raindrops and getting your gardens tidied before winter.  Come on, I know you know the tune!

It’s now or never,
Come cut me down
My leaves are fading,
They’re turning brown
Tomorrow will be too late,
It’s now or never
Don’t hesitate.

It’s now or never,
Get those bulbs in
If you don’t do it,
It’ll be a sin.
Tomorrow the rains will come,
It’s now or never
So get it done.

It’s now or never,
Lay that mulch down
Your plants will love you,
Unless they drown
Tomorrow the frost sets in,
It’s now or never
So just begin.

Let me know if you make up some of your own verses, and I promise to post them. And now that I’ve shared my song, let me ask – what’s your gardening theme song? – Janet

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