Every year at this time I think of one of my favorite poems:
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
The old oak tree's leaves gradually turn brown, but its grand stature makes up for any lack of color.
Warm autumn days are meant to be enjoyed, and so we found ourselves one sunny afternoon visiting the local forest preserve with youngest grandson and Sophie in tow.
A rare moment of stillness for Sophie, who preferred to pull me along while she tracked squirrel and other strange scents. Taking photos with my phone while she tugged at the leash wasn't easy.
Meanwhile, Grandpa and Grandson looked for fish.
Except for this lone canoeist, we seemed to have the park to ourselves.
Driving through town the last few weeks, I often wished I had brought my camera. Our small town really is a blaze of oranges, golds and reds this time of year.
The not-so-pretty side, though, is also revealed in fall.
Trees aren't the only plants providing splashes of color this fall. Here, Japanese Blood Grass provides a vivid shade of red at the Nursing Home Garden where I volunteer.
Next to the Blood Grass, a variety of Muhly Grass hardy in our zone 5B adds some airy color.
Back at home, I am greeted by the brightest red of all as I drive into our lane, provided by three large burning bushes.
Viburnum 'Cardinal Candy' still hasn't provided any "candy" for the birds, but its leaves are beginning to make an impact.
The small Serviceberry shows promises of beautiful autumns to come.
'Little Henry' Itea has started its fall transformation.
There are still some colorful blooms as well--the 'Radsunny' Knockout rose appreciates the cooler temperatures.
A not-so-welcome plant even gets in on the color act (poison ivy!).
My favorite tree each fall has to be the maple in the center of our yard. Like Cinderella donning her ballgown, it begins its transformation at the top, slowing adding color downward each day. This was taken on October 14.
By October 23, leaves at the top had turned a blazing orange.
Full view, Oct. 23.
A week later, the change is complete. Today, most of the leaves are still clinging to the branches, but strong winds yesterday blew off a few, and conveniently for me, blew away almost all the leaves on the ground!
"So dawn goes down to day..." Thursday's dawn brought the first killing frost of the season.
Though the frost brought an end to all but a few hardy annuals, I will not "sink to grief"--this was one of the latest frosts in my memory.
And despite the poem's theme, there is still some gold in my garden--Amsonia Hubrichtii is one of the prettiest perennials for fall.
Farewell, October--you were beautiful!