It Was a Dark and Stormy Garden…

gardening after dark

After Dark

I’ve gardened in the rain and cold until my fingers were numb. I’ve gardened at dusk till feasting mosquitoes drove me indoors. I’ve even gardened in the mid-day heat, keeping the tormenting sun at bay with hats and sunscreens and moveable umbrellas. But I’ve never gardened after dark.

“Dark” is subjective of course. It’s that time of day when I reluctantly turn my garden over to the other side. If I’m outside too late, Dark reveals opossums, meandering along the fence.  Frankly, they give me the creeps. I once encountered one on my pathway late at night, walking straight for me. I froze in place, but it ignored me and meandered on.

Raccoons also visit the yard.  They like to play in the fountain and on one occasion, tapped on the cat door. The rats don’t always wait for Dark. They rustle around in the orange tree reminding me to pack up my tools and head on in. Dark is just around the corner.

Spiders, a gardeners friend, have cousins that prefer to wait for Dark. They live under the BBQ and below the eaves. They don’t make a sound, adding to the creepiness factor, but I know they’re there.

I’ve found myself racing the setting sun, trying to pull one more weed before night fall, trying to prune one last vine.  I become a little obsessed with the work at hand and I’m reluctant to stop. In the summer months it’s usually too hot to garden by day.  My fair skin prefers the damp mists of Avalon to the sunny climate of San Jose.  Since I live in the suburbs and not a mystical novel I’m forced to make do. So I race that setting sun while acknowledging the inevitable. My garden is harmless by day, but, like the closet of my youth, with the flip of the light switch, all bets are off.

20 thoughts on “It Was a Dark and Stormy Garden…

  1. My dog Jack cornered a ‘possum about a month ago and both my dogs have spent the bulk of the winter digging to China in an attempt to find thhe moles that are tunneling through the back yard!
    Spashionista (Alicia)


  2. Yikes, I’m up alone and looking over my shoulder now, HA. Sounds like that crazy movie, ‘I Am Legend’ with Will Smith who appeared to be the last human on earth…….until dark that is. I missed most of it because I was covering my eyes….that sounds like what I may have to do if we cut thru the garden after dark. It’s like the wild kingdom in your back yard, HA It sure looks pretty with the garden light near your bench. What a fun post my dear!


    • Well my goodness, me. I finally got around to checking my unread folder again, and found six comments from you, this one dating all the way back to April 6th!

      I have to giggle now, too, since you were quite clear you didn’t want to see any tree rats, only to have two of them appear in the orange tree right at the moment we walked over there. LOL…you didn’t even skip a beat. I imagine all that time at the lake introduced you to your share of nature!


  3. Hi Alys. At least your days are getting longer and there will be more time and it won’t be so cold. Our days are definitely getting shorter and although the summer crops are wrapping up there is still loads to do and not enough time to do it in. I’m considering getting very large spotlights.
    Cheers Sarah : o )


    • Very large spotlights! I love that idea.

      The start of both spring and fall seem to accelerate everything. It feels like I wait and wait and wait for the start of the season, then suddenly can barely keep up. Good luck with all you have to do.


  4. I love night time pottering in the garden but I don’t get to do it too often. We have lots of essential renovations to do but towards the bottom of the list is a secret Moonlight Garden.
    I love your descriptive writing and I will always imagine you in Avalon from now on!


    • Alys of Avalon..Hee!

      I love the idea of a Moonlight Garden. You are so creative. What’s next on the list of house projects? Everything seems to be breaking around here lately. Since January, we’ve had to replace the water heater, repair the washing machine, the dishwasher, both cars and now our floors are up for refinishing. Ah, the joys of homeownership.


  5. That was so wonderfully written, I didn’t want the story to end. I’ve also been there till dark crept in. It could be 8:30 and my husband would be wondering if I was ever coming in to make dinner. I had no appetite in the garden. I would have stayed, but the bugs ran me in. I almost missed this one but now I’m catching up.


    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this piece. We sound so much alike (except my lovely husband cooks). He would need to drag me in to eat as well.

      Last night we stayed out late working on a new planting box, and I paid the price: mosquitoes everywhere and they *love* my fair skin.

      Gardening can be all-consuming, but in a good way.


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