It's been a wonderful one.
Above: Bur Oak towering over front garden & patio area.
Before you chastise me, I DO realize the calendar still says "fall" but our temperatures are dropping into single digits with snow this week. That is winter territory!!!!
It will effectively finish off all the spectacular foliage and late season blooms we've enjoyed to date.
Above: Dogwood foliage & birdhouse
With all the color gone, fall is over in my book.
Even tho it's been a longer, warmer one than "normal" (whatever normal is anymore), it's ALWAYS TOUGH to say goodbye.
I spent the weekend dragging pots and plants into my garage plus an assortment of other winter prep chores. I should know better than to save everything for the last minute, my body is protesting today. It was just all so beautiful, I couldn't bear to part with any of it prematurely.
Of course I couldn't miss the opportunity to take the camera around the garden one last time.
There are hardy plants still in bloom.
Like the monkshood above and Astrantia major 'Ruby Wedding' below:
It's not typical for Astrantia to be blooming now, especially as magnificently as it does in early summer.
I have the rabbits to thank for that. It's another perennial (like the toad lilies) they chewed to the ground which stimulated new growth (and the blooms you see pictured here)
Every year a few annuals surprise me with their hardiness. The white bacopa above was one of those this year. It's blooming this morning even as the snow sets in.
Above: 'Cherry Star' Calibrachoa
I learned a few years ago how tough Calibrachoas are ~ it takes a really hard frost to knock them out. Scaevola & Lantana are also in that category even tho I didn't photograph them.
When you live in a harsh climate, cold hardiness is a definite consideration when spring plant selection begins. At least it is for me. I like the garden season to be extended for as long as possible!
Above: Northern Flicker on birdbath
With the garden chores completed, we're moving on to one of our few enjoyable winter activities ~ bird watching.
It's an activity that interests every member of the family but most especially Ivory!
She spent the morning (with me) watching Blue Jays.
They are bold, brazen even, but very entertaining ~ not at all bothered by our presence whether we're inside or out.
I know they aren't the nicest birds in the garden but I have to love them for bringing color to what will very shortly be a drab winter landscape.
Wrapping up, I concede it was a pretty good year in the garden despite all the personal challenges my family faced. For me, the therapeutic benefits of nature always trump the labor. The garden imparts such peace, strength & joy, I can't imagine living life without it. That saying "closer to God in the garden" has never had more meaning. It was certainly difficult to accomplish projects this year or even at times "maintain" but we survived. Some years that is feat enough. I am grateful for all the times I was on the verge of feeling defeated and it lifted me up. Having said that, I am fervently hoping the next gardening season is FAR less stressful.
I have a few more garden posts planned but then I guess it's full speed ahead to the holidays! If you are lucky enough to still have fall in your area, enjoy it now for us too. :)