Growing October by Pat Kennelly

“Young Girl Carrying a Pumpkin” by Fausto Zonaro, via Wikimedia Commons

Pat Kennelly and I met in the garden. The virtual garden, that is. Years ago she noticed my first blog, Greenwoman Zine, where I was writing about my community garden experiences and and my new publishing venture. She wrote me, and I was excited to learn we lived in the same town. We met and a friendship bloomed. We feel that gardens are places of magic, places to play, to create, and cultivate plants that nourish the mind and soul. We’ve shared plants: dahlias, tomatoes, succulents, and more, and when we were checking in the other day we started talking about Halloween. “Do you have a poem about the garden in fall?” I asked. She sent me the one below, and I said, “Tell me more!”

–Sandra Knauf

Growing October

I.
By the garage—
in that poor soil
where nothing grows
except hens and chickens
and velvety lamb’s ears
I plant October.

II.
When I find them, in the late afternoon light,
I want to lie with them, waxy and smooth yet stippled
with scar tissue. When they were green, ghostly,
we carved our names into their soft skin.
Now their leaves gently brush my cheek,
they wrap their tendrils around my wrist
pulling me in.

* * *

Pat shares this about her poem and her gardening:

I wrote this poem in 2012 after I literally fell into the spot where I was growing larger pumpkins next to the garage. I was riding my bike and was overloaded with books from the library . . . I lay there, hoping no one saw me. It was so peaceful among the vines, the poem came to me. I never did write my name in a pumpkin, but I read you could do that (pumpkin scarring). In the last three years, I haven’t grown pumpkins. They take up so much room and I fell hard for the flowers in the garden. But I did love growing them.

I’ve been gardening since I moved to Colorado. I’ve always been drawn to the beauty and informality of cottage gardens. I love growing herbs and vegetables alongside climbing roses, grape vines, and an abundance of old fashioned flowers including dahlias, zinnias, sweet peas, day lilies, bachelor buttons, sweet William, poppies, and native Colorado wildflowers and grasses. And like most gardens mine has evolved over the years, I still have space for herbs, onions and garlic but the last few years the bed for vegetables has been sacrificed, I willingly let the flowers take over. For many years I grew pumpkins, mostly the smaller ones or odd ones I couldn’t find easily in Colorado like ‘Lumina,’ or ‘Baby Boo’ or ‘Jack Be Little’. The larger pumpkins, I grew outside of the garden fence where they had room to spread their vines and leaves with abandon.

pumpkins and dahlias.JPG

Pumpkins from Pat’s garden. Photo by Pat Kennelly.

Pat Kennelly headshot BW-1 - squared (2)

Pat Kennelly is a poet and writer who lives and gardens in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She often incorporates the natural world and the beauty of place into her poetry. Most recently her work has appeared in Poet’s Market, Messages From the Hidden Lake, and Haibun Today.

4 Comments

Filed under Garden Writers We Love, Green Poetry

4 responses to “Growing October by Pat Kennelly

  1. I loved the poetry and reading about Pat’s pumpkins and beloved gardens. It’s fall here in NY, most autumn leaves have fallen leaving their gold and red designs on the grass. Except for winter, gardening is a yearlong event in the Northeast. Best wishes, Frances

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