The winter garden–my winter garden in far western New Jersey–usually lasts into January or February, but when the garden interest diminishes sufficiently I look forward to the annual burning and cutting–firmly ending the year and preparing a clean palette for spring. Its lifespan, like ours, is unpredictable. Three days after I took these photos we had freezing rain and snow; that left most of the grasses looking like white humps in the landscape. Then it snowed again, and again, and again.
What you see here no longer exists …
All artifacts become like tombs, markers for something not present, the group of logs suggesting some kind of memorial, a place for gathering and remembering. Even the red mobile, a talisman with some undefined purpose.
Does the view up to the house make you feel small, isolated, powerless, childlike?
A garden’s death takes many forms. Sunlight gives this dead Miscanthus a transient glamor …
… a glamor balanced by the black sentinels of Inula gathered at its side. About to do what? Standing, waiting?
Now I look forward to wiping the field clean, a purifying ritual of fire and destruction. I’ll walk the garden, once dry, with a torch, burning, then cutting.