60  bar rises 30.07  2mph N  dew-point 59  sunrise 7:06  set 7:00  Autumn

Waning Crescent of the Harvest Moon  rise 5:12  set 6:05

Today and tomorrow will be full gardening days.  There are bulbs to plant: daffodils, hyacinths, snow drops, many tulips and garlic.  Sprinkler heads need coaxing.  Mulch sits over at the Anoka County Landfill.  Some of it has to come here in the trailer.


While documenting the orchard installation, I also took some shots of the vegetable garden in late September.  This photograph has our heirloom Cherokee Purple tomatoes in their senescence.  The asiatic lilies with the tall tan stems of wilted leaves look much the same in terms of their life cycle, but in fact are different.

As annuals, the Cherokee Purples put all their effort into fruit, then the plant dies.  As a result, we have had a bumper crop of tomatoes, all raised from four seeds planted in April of this year under the lights of the hydroponic system.  We can, and I will, save seeds from these now dead plants.  Those seeds, because these are not hybrids, will produce Cherokee Purple tomatoes again next year, but those plants, like these, will give their life for the existence of those fruits.

The asiatic lilies have a different survival strategy.  If the blooms go to seed, the lilies will produce a small fruit filled with tiny seeds, true, but the lily has more options than the tomato plant.  Some of the lilies produce bulbils, small bulb like growths at the point where leaf meets stalk.  These begin to sprout when the stalk falls over in the fall, or, when the gardener clips off the stalk and transfers them to soil.  I did just that with a few this year.

The main strategy of the lily, however, lies below ground.  Yes, the stem and leaves die back and will fall over to rot like the tomato plants, but beneath the soil the leaves have, all season sent food down to an underground storage bunker, a bulb with many scales.  Left in place this bulb will throw up another lily stalk next spring, or, as is the case with many I planted in the perennial garden a couple of weeks ago, each scale go into the ground and will produce a new plant.

When I took this photograph, both survival strategies were on my mind as was the financial bail out proposal in Washington.  It occurred to me that growth, flourishing and decay are the rule in the plant and animal world.  My 62 year old body reminds me of this daily.  Any one with a sense of history knows the same is true of civilizations, peoples and the institutions within civilizations.   The Great Wheel reminds us that the very same cycle is built in to the temperate seasons.  To come into being, struggle, then produce tangible fruits is the nature of life itself, just as are aging, withering, death and decay.