Contemplating the conclusion to NYC’s gardening season

The weather stayed in the 80’s through most of September allowing me to pretend a little bit. But now it’s December–-cooler and darker–and the inevitability of the approaching Northeastern winter is starting to sink in.  “Summer lasting forever”, was a wish I had, especially this year. [portfolio_slideshow id=4194]

Even in my urban setting, our building’s container gardens and front shrubbery needed some seasonal adjustments, so I cut back our hydrangeas, discard the bedraggled ends of semi-successful vegetable vines in the back boxes, and got ready to bring some of the herbs indoors. Fall is a good time to plant a couple yews in the front of the building where an empty patch was left by a water-main break. All this is winding-down and readying-for-winter work. The leaves are falling, and soon we’ll see the bones of our landscape.  It’s actually a time I savor. Although, in my book, any season is a good time to seek out a garden for a meditative walk, and pretty much any garden can be a great place for contemplation, the inherent moodiness of the fall makes this time feel especially right.

Gardens as places for renewal

As the gardening season subsides, I’ve been reminiscing about a few gardens I visited in this past year, many intentionally created as places for renewal. In January I visited Half Moon Bay, where I came upon a stone labyrinth on a high dusty place overlooking the sea. At the beginning of summer I chanced upon a labyrinth on the grounds of a Massachusetts conference center. The last weekend of July I visited my hometown, Buffalo, NY to see the country’s largest garden walk, Garden Walk Buffalo. In the mix of 372 gardens I saw many personal serene gardens spaces. The Garden of a Thousand Buddhas, which I visited in September is in the process of being built near Arlee, Montana. Chosen by the Tibetan lama, Gochen Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, in part for its similarity to the Tibetan landscape. The intention of the Thousand Buddhas Garden is to promote world peace and an end to suffering. Recently, taking a day trip to the Noguchi garden, located in Long Island City I found one of the country’s great sculpture gardens to also be a perfect mediation garden.

Photos are by Susan and her daughter Kate Previte

Susan Szeliga
Susan lives in Brooklyn where she writes, paints and continues to try to play fiddle. After a long career at Newsweek Magazine, her current day job is working as reference librarian at Sports Illustrated.


One comment on “Contemplating the conclusion to NYC’s gardening season
  1. Carolyn R. says:

    So many gardens, so many feasts for the senses! I envy your travels, but can still be thankful for your lovely descriptions and beautiful photos.