Today I noticed a small patch of snow lingering in a northern corner near an outbuilding. It reminded me that we are well into autumn and should probably be gathering nuts. After a wet spring and a rather odd summer (not unusual for Pennsylvania) we saw nothing but rain in September. Just as the leaves were starting into peak color, we were thrust abruptly (but briefly) into winter with a record-breaking nor’easter. Within a few days, we were back to autumn, followed by a few days that might have passed for Indian summer.
Autumn: noun. season between summer and winter.
Synonyms: autumnal equinox, fall, harvest
The harvest from my garden was slim this year. Despite watering staking and watching for pests, we had about a dozen or so memorable tomatoes, the rest were not. Several chard plants made an effort, but didn’t really amount to enough for even one meal.
All of the tulips I’ve collected, divided and replanted over the years succumbed to tulip blight – Botrytis tulipae – also known as tulip fire. I was quite disappointed to learn that I can’t plant new bulbs in the same area for about three years because the fungus lingers. I’ve picked out a spot near the barn for my new tulips, and they should probably go into the ground now that it’s dry enough.
My flower garden started out well, then caved to summer heat. I watered perennials and left the rest to survive on their own. Or not.
Just before the late October nor’easter hit, I took pictures of what was left of my flower garden. Sad, yes, but there were some real heroic ‘tryers’ that made an effort toward the end of the September rain.
I’m really glad I took those pictures. Within 24 hours, snow had started to fall, roads were nearly impassible due to slush and ice, and my poor garden really took it in the socks.
Autumn is nearly half over. By the third week in December, we’ll have our annual winter solstice picnic to celebrate the shortest day of the year. Then the days will be longer, and even though the sun will dip low in the sky for the next several months, I’ll savor what’s left of autumn and remember how fortunate I am to live in a state that truly has four seasons.