Embrace the Season

I love Autumn! Walking through the woods while crunching and swishing the dry leaves under my feet is such a wonderful sensation. I climb the short hill and get panoramic views of the colorful foliage on both neighboring ranges. Raking leaves, digging up bulbs and putting my garden to rest are satisfying routines that indicate we are fast approaching the dormant season.
In the meantime,  I am still harvesting swiss chard, Brussels sprouts,  kale, collard greens and parsley for dinners. My favorite fall flower, the hardy chrysanthemums,  are done blooming;  but that doesn’t mean I can’t find a bouquet for my table. There are plenty of dried seed pods, grasses, evergreens, berries and succulents to enjoy this time of year. It is still possible to enjoy the season and embrace the colors and textures that we don’t get any other time of year.
Happy Autumn!

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A Fun Finale to Fall

   The last of the golden brown oak leaves are fluttering down in the warm breeze. That means it is time for another favorite fall tradition: raking leaves. But not just the raking part… the place we rake them is in front of the swing set. We gather the leaves from a long radius around the swing set and shape them into a giant fluffy pile. Once we have collected as many as we can, the kids take turns swinging high on the swing set and then jump off, spinning through the air and landing in the cushioned pile. They then fluff the pile up and do it again. What could be more fun?

  

I have to admit, I have taken a few turns too. But I really prefer to walk through the crunchy leaves, swishing them under my feet or admiring the layers of color.

  

I look for signs of sumac and golden rod, still putting out a brilliant display until the end. The dogs love running through the leaves too, sniffing for deer tracks, moles or bones hiding underneath.

But I hear the wind picking up, whistling through the nearly empty branches. I feel the temperature rapidly drop as the cold front moves in.

Our last days of Indian summer have passed. As I watch the clouds build up, I finish pruning my dried flower stalks and pack my bulbs in a bin full of fluffy leaves. I pull my sweatshirt around me tightly as I watch the kids take a few more leaps into the pile. Tomorrow I will need to wear a warmer coat.

Time for a Change of Season

I look out my window and see a cascade of yellow leaves twirling to the ground. The trees are almost bare. Soon it will be time to rake the leaves into piles and put them in my compost or use them for bedding on my sleeping gardens.        

The raspberries hang on through October, still producing a few succulent berries;

but the brussels sprouts are energized by the colder weather, producing their little bulbs which will be harvested in a few weeks.

My flowers are winding down for the season. I am able to cut a few dahlias, brave enough to bloom but I have to supplement them with more hardy chrysanthemums and sedum.

A lone Morning Glory still tries to greet the day, which gets later and chillier with each passing dawn.           

The Holly is producing brilliant red berries in anticipation of a new season ahead.       

But for the most part, all that is left of my flowers are dried hydrangea heads and puffy seed pods. I leave them standing as a display of textures.

     

I feel compelled to buy a few potted mums for a splash of color on my doorstep, but it is time to prepare for winter.    

I turn over the soil around my pruned stalks and scratch bone meal into the surface where my spring bulbs are planted. I gather fallen leaves and lay them over the flower beds. It is time for them to rest and prepare for their Spring activity. It is time to prepare myself for winter, too.

I swap out the baseball caps for hats and mittens, knowing it won’t be long until it snows.     

I cook a big pot of chili and curl up in front of the fireplace, which has been lit for the first time in months. Like my gardens, we all need to time to rest… at least for this evening.