This is always a somewhat wistful time of year; we say goodbye to summer (at least in this part of the country) and try to welcome the fall season as best we can. For me, autumn gets a big smack on the lips. Missed you! Where have you been so long? As much as I love spring and summer, there is something comforting about the arrival of the cooler temps, and the first imperceptible, then more obvious, slowing of the growing season. I, for one, like the smug feeling of finally being able to tackle those out-of-control weeds in the far corners of the garden in one fell swoop. Kicked your ass, weeds! That felt good.
I will surely miss my vegetable garden though, with summer's bounty waning in the long shadows of autumn's last light. As in all years, there were successes and failures, new crops to try, and old standbys to cling to. The cucumber variety "Diva" once again proves her worth (I've planted it every year for the last four, and I can't bring myself to give up more raised bed real estate to another variety).
The Heirloom "Yellow Brandywine" however, proved a disappointment. A few measly flowers late in the season has in turn only yielded TWO (yes, on the whole plant!) tomatoes, which are still green as I write this. This is the first (and probably last) year I plant this one. Bye Bye!
One of the new additions this year was "Odessa Market," a sweet pepper. It got swallowed up early by the over-reaching squash vines. When I finally uncovered it in August, I was lucky to find the beginnings of little peppers. They quickly grew into big peppers (this one's about six inches); now a lime green color, they should turn orange (and if time allows, red) before the first frost. This is one tough little pepper plant.
Then there are the nasturtiums. They really shine this time of year, with their water lily-like foliage and bright orange blooms. They provide a welcome sight amidst the geriatric tomato plants and shriveled cucumber vines, let me tell you.
And finally, not in the veggie garden, but a sure harbinger of the fall season ahead is the goldenrod, which grows profusely throughout my semi-shaded side garden. Some years more than others I struggle with it overtaking the english ivy ground cover; this year it has behaved itself and has appeared in more manageable sound-bites of color. It has won me over.
So here we go again; another change of seasons. There's no fighting it; stop thinking ahead to winter. Enjoy what we have now. Autumn, I think of all the seasons, beckons us to live in the moment with it's timeless, Maxfield Parrish skies and crisp autumn air. Try not to rush it; it will be gone before you know it. But it too, will be back again.