Autumnal Equinox | Fall Into Place

Fall, the portal to change, starts today.

Autumn is a bittersweet season for me. I love cooler nights, but the earlier and earlier sunsets are depressing.

The falling of leaves is a sign of death. All over my garden, plants are transitioning into their end of life, slowing their growth and dying. This is the time I rake and rake and rake.

I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I read that at the exact moment of the Autumnal Equinox, the sun shines directly on the equator, and an enormous “snake of sunlight” is said to slither down the stairs of the Mayan pyramid at Chichen Itza in Mexico. How cool would it be to actually visit there and experience this amazing event!

Also tonight “the moon is void of course.” I don’t know what that actually MEANS, but it sounds so snarky, contemptuous, and dismissive — even taunting — like OF COURSE the moon is void, how stupid can you be!

Or…it could be me simply being ultra sensitive to any slight or attack on my intelligence. Here’s what it really means…The void of course moon occurs when the moon makes its final major aspect with another planet before changing signs, which means the moon will now be in Libra.

To Autumn by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,

   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

      For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?

   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find

Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,

   Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:

And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep

   Steady thy laden head across a brook;

   Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,

      Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?

   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—

While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,

   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;

Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn

   Among the river sallows, borne aloft

      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;

And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;

   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft

   The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;

      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

In a Bit of a Pickle

After the winds and rain subsided, I checked on my garden and discovered two previously hidden cucumbers.

I remember planting a few seeds of the pickling variety but everyone was all mixed up and I couldn’t tell which was which until I saw these gigantic specimens.

I haven’t completely decided if I’ll eat them fresh and possibly not pickle them, because I didn’t discover any others that were ready.

And this one, too, not quite as deformed.

I’ve had success with pickling vegetables, here’s a post about that:
https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/07/06/easy-peasy-refrigerator-pickles-meatlessmonday/

There was an unexpected sprinkle this morning; not forecasted, but welcome nonetheless.

Happy Monday!

Scrumptious Strawberries

I think I finally found the right place to plant strawberries that have so far remained untouched by rodents.

Yum. They taste as good as they look.

Happy summer Sunday!

Aging Gracefully | Hydrangea

Look at those mauve-y petals speckled with the colors of a luscious cabernet sauvignon.
This hydrangea flowerhead not quite past its prime was too exquisite to toss in the trash.

There is beauty in old things if we pay attention.

And a day older…

And a couple days later, almost completely dry while still retaining elegance and charm…

I recall this sonnet by Shakespeare which makes me realize that I actually DID pay attention in class, at least that one day…

That time of year thou mayst in me behold (Sonnet 73)

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Glad-iolus to See YOU!

This hot spell is a catalyst for all of my blooming bulbs. Here are the first two gladioli who decided to flower together in shades of pink.

All pink, ALWAYS.

Stargazer Lilies

A few months ago, I rescued a wilted and sad little Stargazer Lily from the back of a clearance shelf at the nursery. If I remember correctly, I paid a dollar or two for a one gallon plant.

I thought to to myself, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” and brought it home with the hope of bringing it back to life with love and care.

My efforts were rewarded this week with a dozen or more heavenly perfumed pink blooms, perfectly timed for tonight’s full moon.

Stargazer’ lily (Lilium orientalis ‘Stargazer’) was developed in the late 1970s as a cross between Lilium auratum and L. speciosum to intentionally create a flower with upward-facing rather than drooping flowers. The tips of the flowers are “reflexed”—meaning that they curve back toward the stem—and they sport long, showy stamens.

They are among the most fragrant flowers. With a diameter of six inches or more, they have exceedingly showy blossoms—there is nothing subtle about ‘Stargazer’.

FYI…Like all lilies, ‘Stargazer’ is toxic to cats.

Bunny Breakfast

Around 6:30 this morning as I pulled back the curtains and looked out my bedroom window, I was greeted by a darling bun chewing on a few kale leaves I had picked but forgot to bring inside.

I thought I read somewhere that rabbits don’t like kale, but this little one enjoyed every bite.

What a happy way to wake up and face a new week!

Happy World Wide Naked Gardening Day!

That’s today, May 7, and that’s also a definite hard NO from me, whether it’s “world wide” or “worldwide”!

I’m out in the garden, fully dressed, thank you very much. However, if YOU choose to celebrate sans clothing, please wear sunscreen and please DO NOT send pics!

Where The Pomegranate Grows

Here’s the next stage of my happy pomegranate tree. I’m so excited! This is only its second year in the ground, and I’m hopeful we’ll have lots of yummy poms in the future.

Feast your eyes on this unique and lovely flower, a future pomegranate, all ruffly like a petticoat. I am obsessed with the intricacy.

My Beautifully Perfect Yellow Daisy

I didn’t intentionally plant this California native Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) — she’s a happy volunteer in the front garden, but I welcome her smiling face and bright yellow petals.

The Daisy follows soft the Sun

The Daisy follows soft the Sun—
And when his golden walk is done—
Sits shyly at his feet—
He—waking—finds the flower there—
Wherefore—Marauder—art thou here?
Because, Sir, love is sweet!

We are the Flower—Thou the Sun!
Forgive us, if as days decline—
We nearer steal to Thee!
Enamored of the parting West—
The peace—the flight—the Amethyst—
Night’s possibility!

Emily Dickinson