Fall: A Quiet Welcome

Shhh! The weather has ears! Pass it on! Don’t let your neighbors, after a day of vigorous gardening  exult about the glorious moderate temperatures we are having here in the South. Stop your spouse before he can say out loud how invigorated he feels after washing the cars in the perky  sunshine. Write in your journal; don’t talk  about the delicate breezes you felt this morning on the patio, or  that you could sit on the patio at all.  Because we all know that speaking in superlative terms about the glorious fall weather causes the crisp, clean air to devolve into a sticky miasma, the carefree butterflies to be replaced with menacing mosquitoes, and the rays of the sun to turn from a soft blanket into a relentless roasting ember.

After a lifetime in the South, I know to take advantage of the brief  weather respites, quickly and quietly. Excruciating  heat is always right around the corner, and it is not too  late for us to have more of it. This past Saturday morning, finding myself with no other pressing duties, I slipped out of the house with my camera, walking very softly, in shoes that covered my toes instead of flip flops.

The mission was to enjoy oops, observe how my plants were faring thus far in October. Would I find that my plants had  survived the summer making the best of things  with their heads facing down for protection from the sun? Had some been able to revive themselves after a recent rain? Had others, largely untended by me, given up the struggle? Which of my so enthusiastically placed plants would live to brave another summer? Here are the results!

First I contemplated the gourd vines. After some weeks of thinking I was watering them for no purpose, baby gourds  have  appeared! I don’t think they will grow to cover the pergola this year as originally planned.

But that’s alright with me. I think the pergola is lovely all by itself.

These asters are making a late appearance. The Four O’Clocks are going strong. These came up from seed.There is still lots  of trusty Century Vine.

I’ll be expecting more peppers and okra. I’ve had some lovely eggplants too but I didn’t see any new blossoms on them. These cosmos of course are not ready to give up the ghost. I planted these from seed and they grew six feet tall even after I trimmed them back several times.The sweet potato vine is vigorous, and adding nice color and texture to the pool deck.There is no shortage of lantana blooms. I think the plant  is trying extra hard to be pleasing, as it barely escaped being uprooted  and sent , like an unruly child, to North Carolina this summer.But fig season is certainly over. The changing leaves will not be far behind.

As long as everyone knows I am whispering to avoid an adverse change in weather  I will confess that I never feel so alive as I do in the fall. The very air with its nippy breezes suggests change and excitement. The swirling gold and orange leaves glow with brilliance. The mornings may be cool,  but when the sun comes up we will be bathed in warmth that is just the right temperature. For the moment my garden is enjoying all of this right along with me. I hope you enjoy it as well!