We are living through the sweetest days of a Virginia autumn:
leaves changing, fruit ripening, flowers still blooming, and warm sunny days followed by cool clear nights.
Freshly picked Virginia apples sit on our kitchen counter. Our slider stands open all day letting fresh air blow through the house; all traces of summer’s humidity gone.
The air is fragrant and golden; sunwashed and noticeably cool early in the morning and after sunset.
Most of the plants brought in ahead of last weekend’s cold nights have found their way back outside to enjoy a few more days of bright light and warm breezes.
A huge Begonia, covered in hundreds of tiny pink blossoms, protested its spot inside by dropping those blossoms like confetti. I carried it out to the deck this morning to re-join its summer companions for a few more days .
The Staghorn fern, tripled in size over the summer, is returned to its shady spot in the Dogwood tree.
As sweet as these days may seem, we know they are numbered.
Yesterday morning I finally dug the first of the Caladiums and tucked them snugly into a pot where they will winter in the garage. Their summer pots now sport tiny rose colored Viola starts, and a spindly little ornamental Kale seedling.
Oh, and did I mention the garlic? I am planting little garlic cloves, tucked into the soil between the Violas. We learned last winter that garlic cloves offers pretty good protection from those hungry creatures who might otherwise dig them up, or gnosh on our tasty Violas.
Today I dug up a tender Lady fern to bring inside. Closer inspection found it already spreading, and there were four tiny starts to dig and tuck into other pots to overwinter indoors.
There are as many flowers blooming now as there were in May.
Now that the summer’s heat has broken, and it has rained deeply, our roses have covered themselves in buds once again.
Fall blooming perennials, full of huge, vivid flowers, light up the garden.
Pots and baskets have recovered from the late summer drought with tender new growth.
October offers many sweet pleasures for all who will venture out of doors to enjoy it.
The landscape is lit with bright berries and changing leaves.
Flocks of birds sing to one another as they gather and gorge on the berried feast, ahead of their long flight south.
Butterflies stop by to sample the nectar, and clear night skies shine brightly with stars.
It is all, maybe a little sweeter, since November lurks in the next turn of the calendar page.
And we are blessed with a bit more time to drink full measure of these last, lovely days of Indian summer.
Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014