Welcome to Fall

Pink flowered sedums brighten the fall garden. (Photo (c) Hilda M. Morrill)
Pink flowered sedums brighten the fall garden. (Photo (c) Hilda M. Morrill)

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “The September equinox happens every year on either the 22nd, 23rd, or even 24th, depending on the calendar. This is the astronomical start of fall in the Northern Hemisphere, and spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

“The word equinox means ‘equal night’…. At this point, the amount of nighttime and daytime are roughly equal to each other. Another definition of fall is nights of below-freezing temperatures combined with days of temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. From here on out, the temperatures begin to drop and the days start to get shorter than the nights (i.e., hours of daylight decline).”

Many consider the fall to be New England’s loveliest season.

Our gardens are showing the results of the summer’s drought with “scorched” leaves evident on the hostas, asters, and even on some shrubs – such as the azaleas.

The Pee Gee hydrangeas (paniculata ‘Grandiflora’) did not bloom so well because of the frost that killed their buds in early spring; and the Endless Summer hydrangeas are just beginning to flower for the first time this season!

Our so-called little bit of lawn is brown except for the crabgrass, which is amazingly robust and green and full of seeds loved by the birds.

Speaking of birds, our hummingbirds have left for their migration to Mexico. It was so much fun watching them enjoy the homemade nectar we provided for them. Next year we hope to have a couple of more feeders for them and maybe we’ll get even more daily visitors.

Soon, we’ll begin to fill the birdseed feeder outside our kitchen window to enjoy other types of feathered friends throughout the colder months.

Our large Kousa dogwood tree is full of both green and red berries that are being enjoyed by the squirrels; and the Seven-Son Tree (heptacodium miconioides) is full of colorful calyxes that resemble flowers. We made sure to water the trees throughout the summer.

The sedums are full of pink flowers and the ‘Alma Potschke’ pink asters are beginning to bloom, though the flowers are at the top of stems full of dried, brown scorched leaves.

The black-eyed Susans have gone by and we miss their perky yellow blossoms. However, even though their seeds tend to germinate no matter where they land, we don’t remove all of the dry seed heads as the finches love them and spend much time hopping from one to the other.

Grape hyacinths are beginning to leaf out even though their pretty flowers won’t bloom until next spring.

In general, the vegetable garden did “so-so” this year. The green beans were outstanding and fed not just us, but many of our neighbors. Some rascal ate all the lettuce and squirrels chewed on the green tomatoes before they even had a chance to ripen. Radishes, cucumbers and zucchini were good.

So now we look forward to the many Oktoberfest and Harvest festivals and the popular “pick your own” pumpkins and apples events.

Then, there’s apple cider, pumpkin ice cream, and even pumpkin beer to look forward to.

Enjoy the fall!