Sunday, September 8, 2013

Autumn creeps in

I was outside early the other morning, scooping a dead vole out of the fish pond, when I heard a honking flock of geese fly over the house headed in a southerly direction. Initially, I had to look up to actually know it was geese I had heard; I was surprised then excited, it has been a long, hot summer. We've had a few cooler nights, down into the low 60's (around 17C) where happily, I turned off the air conditioning using the attic fan to draw the cooler outside air into the house. Midwest weather is such a powerful entity, always demanding and requiring some sort of human compensation to its random effects. Soon the peaceful glories of autumn will be upon us, when the weather is a gentler beast.

Acorns, falling from a neighbor's huge pair of oak trees, onto the metal roof of his porch make almost a gunshot report from their impact, signaling the season of harvest is here. My apple tree is suddenly dropping fruit even when I pick daily. Leaves are beginning to litter the yard as well, although I think it is more from heat and our current drought-like conditions... Yet, these little signs excite me. Autumn is my favorite season as much for the chill as the resurgence of appreciation for comforting warmth. Light knitwear will soon be required and steaming mugs of hot tea will be necessary for my porch retreats. A season where a riot of color has little to do with the gardener but becomes more about the environment around us.

I usually end up with garden fatigue about this time every year and look forward to allowing my perennials to peter out and sink back into the soil. The sturdy autumn plants like my pink flowering stonecrop (sedum spectabile) need little attention, yet do a marvelous job attracting honeybees. The hardy zinnias and marigolds, as well as the late blooming asters will add plenty of color, while the perennial giants of my gardens fade. The lavender bushes have re-bloomed, along with the Knockout roses so there is no visual dulling of color yet.

The tomato plants are still actively fruiting and I harvest a dozen warm & tasty fruits every other day. They reinforce my current garden determination of myself that I am not an agriculturalist as much as I am a hunter/gatherer. I lack the interest and tenacity to be a true farmer. I rather enjoy the wonder of finding a delightful snack, but I do not excel at maintenance. Yep, I am all about reward and every year I garden I learn more valuable nuggets about myself. Like, I am more ready in the Fall to give up the garden effort, than I was excited in the Spring to start it. This year I also learned I need to group gardens, hummingbird feeders and the goldfinch thistle seed socks together in one area, always in view from the porch, so they will be tended regularly. Gardens out of my line of sight need to be hardy, cuz I ain't there to baby them through. I guess that makes me somewhat of an amnesic or even lazy gardener but life is distracting and he who yells loudest... You know what I mean.

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