Autumn is the season where are closets are confused. Today we need just flip flops and tomorrow we may need snow boots. It’s the same every year although we always seem surprised.
Turn off the AC and turn on the furnace. Turn off the furnace and turn on the AC. Open the doors and windows during the day. Cover with a blanket in the evening on the couch.
What is different this year is the drought induced conditions; the other gardening uncertainty. Are the trees turning early or turning late because of the drought? Did our little freeze the other night push them into turning or is it simply the shorter daylight hours?
Experts disagree and since I’m not an expert, I won’t even begin to venture an opinion on “Why?” or what it means for the future of mankind.
I do know what it means for the future of some of my pine trees: I’m losing several of them. Take a drive through the area and others are facing the same loss. It will be interesting (albeit sad) to see the loss ratio next spring. A stressed tree doesn’t make a good candidate for winter survival. If it is a mild winter, they stand a better chance. A harsh, extreme cold and windy winter will surely take its toll.
After that depressing monolog, a walk through my yard proves there’s still a wide variety of beautiful fall foliage and flowers.
Hybrid and native asters are blooming their little white, purple and pink heads off. Ornamental and native grasses are setting seed heads and waving in every little breeze.
Burning Bush and dogwoods are turning brilliant reds. My Sumac is a glowing orange. Walnuts are turning gold and dropping their precious produce.
And then the color bonanza of the Midwest, the maple trees, are beginning to turn. We had all debated if they would turn this year or simply drop their leaves. Eager to prove themselves, the colors are as pretty as any I’ve seen. Can the oaks be far behind?
A word of caution from the “the glass half empty” folks: The colorful leaves may not stay very long on the trees and bushes. If you’re planning a trip down fall foliage lane, don’t procrastinate.
Best of all, take your camera with you on every drive and walk. It’s a photographer’s dream time. Try taking a close-up of leaves, flowers and insects. Focus on the different parts of fruit and vegetables.
The orange, purple, red, and gold of this time of the year will shine through every photo. Include pieces of fence, barns, and animals. Get those grandkids acting like – well – kids; rolling in the leaves, climbing, and generally laughing and playing.
Take the time to look closely at plant life. As I was watering my mums, this HUGE brown spider perched on a flower looking for the world like I had invaded HIS domain. Garden spiders are busy making webs and stuffing themselves.
Enjoy your October 2012, this will be the year we all talk about – the winter that wasn’t, the summer with no rain, and now the fall of “you fill in the blank.” To our farmer neighbors: Have a safe and rich harvest.