While I was gardening

The art of gardening and the science of life.

An Autumn Walk

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An afternoon walk on a cool, bright day is a pleasure I always look forward to.  Sun is shining.  Colors are sharp.  Air is clean and crisp.  People I meet are few and happy.

The speckled lambency of afternoon light shows through the canopy of a birch grove.  Some gardener planned that small space well.  So much yellow and gold it hurts the eyes.  Even late autumn lawns look thankful for the sun.  Their soggy blades stand a bit taller and look a bit greener.

Birds are busy.  Squirrels are frantic.  I wonder if they eventually feel ‘caught up’ with their work.  I can’t recall ever seeing a laid-back squirrel.

An occasional flower attempts a bloom, usually a rose.  I appreciate its efforts and recall seeing frost on vibrantly colored petals; reminds me of sugar sprinkled on holiday cookies.

I meet a friend and her dog out for a walk.  My friend is bundled – coat, hat, gloves, and scarf – but she is pink-cheeked from the cold.  She’s a warm weather person – Palm Springs and south.  Her dog prances along beside and ahead of her.  Dogs love cool weather.  It enhances smells, and what dog doesn’t live for the next intriguing scent?

On the way home I almost miss the small, delicate bells of Salal.  Most days – most seasons – I walk past this stalwart plant without a glance.  But when it is in bloom, as today, I stop and admire the subtle artistry of its flowers.  Many Ericaceous plants are easy to overlook when not in bloom, but they are so important that our world would be much less green and rich without them.  Every continent except Antarctica is home to at least a few plants in this large family, and I am grateful for their variety and strength.

I return home as the sun begins its slow fade, and I’m greeted by a palette of color – much of it on the ground now.  I’ll rake these leaves later.  For now, I enjoy their crunch under my feet and the tapestry they bring to my garden


Author: dphare2014

Horticulturist, Lead Steward Carkeek Park Demonstration Gardens, Author

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