There will be time for that later, I rejoice, as I do nothing and leaves accumulate beneath maples and tulip poplars, and the dozens of various trees I’ve planted in this mostly shaded garden. Why hurry, I question? There is no purpose in haste with months of the garden’s dormancy ahead, and so I stay warm and dry, venturing out at my convenience to enjoy the smattering of blooms or berries that ornament the late autumn and winter garden.

Certainly, something must be done, eventually, and occasionally leaves are shredded and spread late in December. More typically, this is accomplished early in February, just prior to flowering of hellebores (below) so they are not buried. This week, piles were cleared from the driveway and front walk to prepare for holiday guests, and this brief labor over a fraction of the garden warns of the considerable effort ahead.

This idleness is a great luxury. Though I try not to rush about frantically, no matter the season, chores can be ignored for only so long. There is always something, usually many somethings that must be done in the garden, and often a penalty to be paid for delaying. But, not today, and if the garden’s appearance is less than tidy, it will not be a bother for many weeks.

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