Autumn Light

I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks

As our world spins on its tilted axis through October, every morning becomes a wonderment of autumn light. Golden rays slant through the trees at sharp angles, throwing shadows and highlights that transform the familiar into the magical. reflectingpool

After a hot dry September and a warm early October, the trees are still green and just beginning to turn colors. Lately, days of sunshine and blue skies have brought the feeling of a second summer to the garden even as copper oak leaves begin to drift down into the beds. The warm colors linger on in the coleus and coral bells, still thriving before first frost. (Click on any photo in the mosaic to see a larger image)

A few fall flowers carry on, greatly appreciated by the bees for a final feast before winter, while newly planted pansies should continue through the spring.

No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face. ~John Donne

Some of the rose bushes are bearing hips, softened by the weather, while others continue to blossom in their final flush of color. Every day that a rose blooms in October seems like a precious gift.

The late October sun rarely shines above the trees in the lower garden and so the garden changes in mood throughout the day as the light sifts through the woods. autumngarden

Sometimes it throws a spotlight on favorite spots or favorite plants.

Sometimes it merely softens all of the colors into muted beauty.


Step outside for a moment and enjoy the glories of a sunlit autumn day, the grand finale before winter arrives.soredereschtlight

Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale. ~Lauren DeStefano, Wither

All photos and text ©2017 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved, except where noted

31 thoughts on “Autumn Light

  1. The subtle colors and darker overall light are quite beautiful. Late roses are so poignant, aren’t they? I love that you put this together – that last picture of the garden with the Hydrangea in front is gorgeous, and your observations about the light are appreciated. That orange shrub rose! Mmmm, I would love to come weed in your garden. Id’ be quite happy to work for hours there.

    • I can’t find the tag for the orange rose, just put it in this spring, and it has bloomed almost continuously – beautiful and hardworking 🙂 Ooh, I would love to have a fellow weeder so if you come east, you can visit me 🙂

      Yes, the light is glorious now – edgy, shadowy, mysterious, even on dark gloomy days. Very mid fairy tale, promising more mystery and adventure to come. Thank you for stopping by, Lynn, I always love reading your comments.

      • Yes, it would be wonderful to weed together! 😉 Are you sure you can’t move the garden over here for a few days? Mid fairy tale – what a great description, I like that. Have a good week! Now on to the next – I see you just posted again…

  2. We’ve had very similar weather, but just this week we took a sudden turn toward colder temps. I think of October as a comfortably cool month, softly lit, with wet leaves underfoot. I enjoy the way you use poetry in your posts.

    • I think your sudden turn in weather arrived here today, Jason. We had lots of rain (hooray!) yesterday and today was cool and brisk. On cue, the leaves began turning color, so it finally feels like late October here.

  3. Magnificent as ever, Lynn. As I was looking out my windows last week which featured scenes of light streaming through woods, I thought of the same word you used: magical! It took my breath away and helped me to withdraw myself from the chaos of our nation and our world to a momentary place of great beauty and peace. Viewing the pictures of your garden just now did the same for me. I don’t know how you absorb the intoxication that is your garden. It is glorious!

    • Eleanor, so wonderful to hear your voice. I have been reading your latest book – wonderful! Yes, the garden and nature’s beauty has been a sanctuary for me as well. I’ve been trying to spend more time in the garden and less time watching the news – more beauty, less anger 🙂 May you continue to enjoy the magic of fall – it seems to last much longer in the south, so revel in the magic, my friend.

  4. It’s definitely that time of year. It had been (much) warmer than normal in northeast Illinois and central Indiana…until now. After some early leaf drop (due, no doubt, to an extremely dry August), things have been running behind schedule (we’re normally at peal color in NE Illinois right now), but with much cooler temperatures, plus rain, forecast this week the ensuing change should come on quickly.

    It’s interesting to see how long some of your flowering plants have been hanging on. How much later is the final petal drop this year compared to a typical cycle?

    • Kerry, we had the same dry leaf drop in mid-September which seem more drought and heat related. The flowering is about the same for the past few years, perhaps a week later, but autumn seems to come later every year in our climate challenged times. Not having enough cold nights seems to be the missing factor for leaf color change this year but we may have more of that later this week. I really don’t remember this much green foliage in late October!

  5. Interesting that your leaves are only just turning. Is this linked with your mild weather?. Our UK autumns lack the colours of your falls and when the leaves do turn here the show is so quickly over because of wind and wet. Yes, we must make the most of the brief glory. Will your cello concerto have something of the seasons in it?

    • Richard, it is definitely the mild weather. A good frost will kill off the green and let the other colors show through – we’ve had mostly hot to warm weather this fall, so the leaves are slow to turn – very unusual!
      The cello concerto is based on the cycle of water going through the earth, so it is less seasonal but still cyclical. The process from headwaters to confluence is rich and complex, lots of musical inspiration 🙂

  6. Autumn’s light is lovely, highlighting the burnished golds and reds. Still plenty of blooms in your garden and you’re lucky to live where it’s mild enough to have pansies all winter. No such luck here!

    • Eliza, your autumn images showcase those same wonderful colors. We’ve been having very summery weather lately, time to get those last perennials planted! I’m hoping the pansies will overwinter with some protection – they are in pots with good drainage so as long as temps don’t dip below zero, they should be OK.

  7. Beautiful, Lynn. I’ve always thought autumn’s light had a touch of magic in it, and that seems to be verified in your lovely garden and photos. 🙂

    • Thank you, Robin – yes, the light sweeps me away sometimes. I look forward to catching up on your posts, now that I’m back to blogging again – you have always had a gift for capturing the light in your images.

  8. So lovely, Lynn; I love the poetry of your writing and in your photos. Our autumn has also been warm and, until today, without rain for quite a while. My roses are all blooming, too, and some sweet, late mums are adding their color, to the mix. Frost may come this week, so I’ll need to get out and do some cutting back, but no complaints about the length and warmth of our extended season. Thank you for this lovely post and joy to your new week!

    • So good to have you stop by, Kitty; I do miss seeing your garden grow and change and think of you often. We had beautiful mild weather this weekend but I’m missing the tree color! Glad to hear that you’e had a lovely autumn too – enjoy the week ahead 🙂

  9. Another enjoyable journey around your lovely garden Lynn. Lovely spots of sunlight and I cannot get over how so many gardeners are showing photos of roses in October! Alas mine have all been blown away now (but I only have a couple of ramblers that flower for any length of time).

    • Jude, thanks for taking the tour. We have had unseasonably warm weather here for the past several weeks, so there is more bloom than usual. The trees haven’t changed nearly as much so it is an odd autumn but great for spending time out of doors.

      • Not much in the way of autumn colour here either, trees are green or bare (wind) but it has been quite wet the past couple of weeks so I haven’t had a chance to plant spring bulbs yet. Warmer weather forecast too!!

  10. lol ty for this I was feeling badly or undecided about cutting back the flowers as much has greenery and a few blooms coming, in another year there might be snow now, it’s fine to get them ready to sleep, it is ME that still wishes to see greenery in the beds and not barren sticks of death

      • I keep praying wistfully at my plants i know you are still growing foliage after I already cut yu back to the ground however it is time for winter culling lol

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