Painted leaves

October is the month for painted leaves . . . ~Thoreau

While the garden is quietly collapsing back into the earth, the trees are a riot of color. Cold crisp nights dipping towards the freezing point have triggered the shift from soft green leaves to a paintbox of crisp autumn colors. Most of my time outside has been spent looking upwards, that’s where the drama is. (click on any photo to see a full size image)

 

October proved a riot a riot to the senses and climaxed those giddy last weeks before Halloween. ~Keith Donohue

A few tender plants linger – a coral Million Bells tucked under the spiral staircase, Gloriosa daisies in a planter on the deck, a mound of coral red ‘Sedona’ coleus in a protected corner of the house.

 

The herb circle in the front of the house remains lush, with tall grasses and creamy seedhead clouds of our native white snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum)octoberherbcircle

along with a mound of tall blue ageratums self-sown from last year. ageratum

A few days ago, a flock of robins gathered for their flight south and indicated to me that they wanted their favorite watering bowl at the foot of the oaks cleaned and refilled. I obliged and they drank long and deep before taking to the skies. oakmaple

The leaves of the kousa dogwoods have turned a deep russet red kousaleaveswhile the wild grapevine leaves remain green even as their stems turn scarlet. wildgrapevineleaf

As I step outside each morning, a rich sweet smell arises from the earth, the scent of fallen fruit, decomposing leaves and rain soaked earth, the smell of true autumn. hardyplumbagoleaves

At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth . . .  ~Rainer Maria Rilke

 

 

Browsing the autumn garden

The slant of the autumn light is making for dramatic mornings in the garden. Sunlight sifts through the dark leaves of the oak and maple trees, reminding me that the autumn equinox is only a week away.

treelight

The herb garden glows in the low morning light, highlighting the flower racemes of Pennisetum ‘Little Bunny’ in the thick mix of natives Eupatorium rugosum and Rudbeckia triloba in the herb circle. (Click on any photo in the mosaic to see a larger image)

Sedums and autumn crocus bloom along with a few vibrantly colored annuals.

But parts of the autumn garden have been pruned for me unintentionally. A few weeks ago, the tall phlox began to disappear, the hostas were cut to the ground, rose branches were stripped of flowers and leaves, the Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ was greatly reduced in size. Even the branches on the weeping cherry were stripped bare. cherrytreedeer

What could be doing this in the protected garden safely enclosed in fencing? Was it the work of the 17 year cicadas that appeared this summer or perhaps a very large rabbit? As I was eating a late dinner at dusk on the deck, I heard a creature in the garden but saw nothing. I went down the steps to investigate and watched the head of a beautiful male white-tail deer emerge from the woods and happily finish off the remaining hostas.

MPdeer1
(Photo courtesy of Mary Pegher ©2019)

Creeping quietly around him, I discovered that someone had opened the back gate of the garden and left it ajar. This beautiful creature had been making nightly forays for at least a week into Lynn’s Gourmet Deer Cafe as I was busy teaching evening classes instead of working in the garden. The last time a deer entered the garden, it threw itself against the fence in panic when Angel gave chase. To avoid that catastrophe and to stay safe in the face of a healthy 6 point buck, I chose to open the gate wider and coax him quietly out. I spoke gently and made the encouraging noises I would use to coax a dog to my side. Intrigued, he stepped hesitantly towards me until he almost reached the gate, then paused. I quietly entered another gate behind him and told him firmly that it was time to leave. He looked at me over his shoulder, then trotted out out of the garden while I hurried to shut both gates. Only after he disappeared into the woods did I realize that I hadn’t thought to photograph him.

Every creature was designed to serve a purpose. Learn from animals for they are there to teach you the way of life. ~Suzy Kassem

My friend Mary Pegher takes amazing photos of the denizens of North Park, a 3000+ acre county park near our house; she graciously let me use her pictures of a healthy 10 point buck she had photographed this past week. Our deer fence serves to keep these wild creatures out of my garden but I cannot help admire their beauty. And like the deer in Mary’s photos, the one that ate my garden looked very healthy indeed. I’m sure that the nutritious food I provided will make him a favorite of the ladies this fall. I find myself amused rather than upset – the garden is entering its last phase of the season and will take no permanent harm. There is plenty to share and I truly feel graced by a gentle encounter with a magnificent animal.

Wildlife in the world can only be protected by the love of compassionate hearts in the world! ~Mehmet Murat Ildan

I admit that I worry about the wildlife in our changing world. Housing developments continue to spring up everywhere, displacing the creatures who once lived there, and climate change  also disrupts sources of food and migratory habits. In spite of maintaining an organic garden and providing protected space for many different creatures, I see a dramatic drop in bees and other pollinators. Every chance to live in harmony with the natural world seems a small win for us all.

MPdeer2Photo courtesy of Mary Pegher; you can see more of her work on Facebook at MLP-Photography.

If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.  ~Steve Irwin

You’re a good boy, Charlie Brown

A week ago, we were delighted to have our poodle “nephew”, Charlie Brown, visit us for a few days. Charlie and Angel celebrated his 14th birthday with party hats and extra treats on the “cookie rug” poodlebirthdayparty

followed by a good nap. CharlieNap

As he aged, Charlie lost most of his eyesight and hearing, so it took him a day to get his bearings. He took to following his beloved Angel around the garden.CharlieFollowsAngelThey’ve been best friends since they were pups and play non-stop on their visits with each other. dogplaywp

Last year, they celebrated a snowstorm with their antics – what fun! (click on any photo in the mosaic to see a larger image)

A few days after his delightful visit last week, Charlie Brown passed away in his sleep, in his own home with his human Mom and sister Madison nearby. A sweet funny boy who was smart, gentle, and unfailingly loving, he will be deeply missed. We count ourselves lucky that we had a few last precious days with him. You are such a good boy, sweet Charlie Brown. Safe journey.charliebrownwp

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring — it was peace. ~Milan Kundera

All text and photos ©2019 Lynn Emberg Purse except where noted.

 

Lavish Summer

No price is set on the lavish summer;
June may be had by the poorest comer. ~James Russell Lowell

After near constant rain for weeks, the sun has returned and the garden is lavish and lush.

peonyallium

Peonies blossomed between the rain storms, although the pounding rains shortened their bloom lifespan. (click on any photo to see a full size image)

We have returned to a more normal weather pattern and the roses and cottage garden flowers of early June have emerged.

Rosa ‘Complicata’ covered the arbor with her large simple blooms, draping boughs into the yellow leafed Spirea below while fallen petals drift across the path.

It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside. ~Maud Hart Lovelace

English rose ‘Abraham Darby’ went from tight bud to open bloom over three days, releasing its lush fragrance at last.

More roses bloomed among the perennials

while a few clematis twine through the arms of roses and shrubs.

The steps in the garden are a froth of gold with the blooms of sedum and Corydalis lutea. GoldenSteps

A few days ago, the berries of the mulberry tree on the edge of the garden ripened. mulberrytree

The tree is full of birds and squirrels feasting on the bounty and the lazy afternoons have been spent watching their antics.

Each day, new flowers open and the garden is in constant flux, yet always beautiful. What a delight, this lavish summer.rosearch

And since all this loveliness can not be Heaven, I know in my heart it is June. ~Abba Woolson

All text and photos ©2019 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved, except where noted.

Purple Prose

Purple prose: writing that is extravagantly flowery

I admit it, the garden is guilty of purple prose. It is extravagantly flowery this week, especially in shades of purple. Siberian Iris 'Reprise'

Now is the time of alliums Allium 'Purple Sensation'and columbines (Aquilegia). doublebluecolumbineThe three petaled flowers of our native spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) opened this morning. spiderwort

What potent blood hath modest May ~ Ralph W. Emerson

Not only is the garden extravagant with bloom, it is clothing itself in rich layers of texture and color. The upper garden greets me each morning with flowers and foliage under a cathedral of green oaks. frontgarden

The south facing garden in the back is even more extravagant, more “purple”. Let’s enter by the gate.MayGate

The hillside garden is in its late spring glory but the color comes as much from the foliage as from the flowers. lowergardenMay

The deep purple and white ‘William Guiness’ columbine stops me in my tracks as I pause on the steps – a dependable self-seeding plant, I love that it pops up everywhere in the garden. (Click on any photo in the mosaic to enlarge the image)

Nearby, Iris germanica ‘Tiger Honey’ blooms near Heuchera ‘Caramel’ and Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’, a lovely color counterpoint to the purples.

As I descend further into the lower garden, the purples get softer surrounded by blues and greens.columbineallium

The garden bench is closely embraced by the exuberant growth of the rain-rich May garden. gardenbench

As I circle back around through the garden, I am captured by the sight of complex layers of woodland and garden intertwining their voices in a vesper song.lowergarden

As dusk falls, I retrace my steps and view the garden from above. It grows quiet as the last light retreats and the birds settle to their nests. Thank you for walking along with me in the garden and listening to its purple prose.eveninggarden

If it’s drama that you sigh for, plant a garden and you’ll get it. . . If you long for entertainment and for pageantry most glowing, plant a garden and this summer spend your time with green things growing. ~Edward A. Guest, Plant a Garden

All photographs and text ©2019 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved, except where noted.