WPC: Transmogrify



“Transmogrify: to change in appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely; transform.”


Ferns in the Connie Hansen Garden, Lincoln City, OR

Ferns in the Connie Hansen Garden, Lincoln City, OR


Isn’t this a great word for October?  Especially as we prepare for that most transformative of holidays, Halloween or Samhain; when we focus on our fear of change.

This isn’t the sweet and uplifting change of bare branches breaking into springtime blossoms and emerging daffodils.  We now find ourselves at the other side of the wheel of the year:  Autumn, where our garden begins to disintegrate as we head towards winter.


Rudbeckia fading in our garden as the Salvia keeps getting better

Rudbeckia fading in our garden as the Salvia keeps getting better.


Flowers transform into dry seedheads;  leaves lose their green and blow down from our trees onto the lawn.  Frost kills our tender annuals, and much of our garden withers.

What was so lovely a few weeks ago has grown grotesque.  Green stems turn brown, then grey.  Plump and healthy plants twist and shrivel.  We’re left with frost blasted perennials and the  naked skeletons of trees.  And we find ourselves left with this mess to tidy up sometime between now and the coming spring.


Once mighty tree turned into driftwood on an Oregon beach near Pacific City.

A once mighty tree turned into driftwood, on an Oregon beach near Pacific City.


But since both spring and fall are simply two sides of the same annual cycle, we also find closure and balance in autumn’s path.

There are ripe seeds to gather and sow, perennials to divide, and fruits to harvest.   There is beauty in the garden, still.


Basil and Salvia in our garden

Basil and Salvia in our garden this week, where ripe seeds stand alonside new flowers, much to the goldfinches’ delight!


Autumn’s lesson reflects the wisdom of the Hindu god, Shiva:  Destruction of the old precedes  creation of the new.  It is the lesson of compost; the truth of a seed splitting itself open so that a tender new shoot may emerge;  the dark wisdom of all fertility.

Gardening is about transformation.  Our only constant remains constant change.

And transmogrification, our garden in autumn, prepares the way for a new springtime beginning.




For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Transmogrify


Re-blooming Iris open alongside Allium seeds and fading perennials.

Re-blooming Iris ‘Rosalie Figee’ opens alongside Allium seeds and Rudbeckia in our garden.


Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016





About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

5 responses to “WPC: Transmogrify

  1. Pingback: Transmogrify: Autumn | What's (in) the picture?

  2. Nice photos: a garden is a wonderful place to watch things change. But I’m also fascinated by uprooted trees: they are like beached whales, sad.

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