fall beauty: almost too easy

fall beauty: almost too easy

This time of year, it’s easy to find holy moments. Random, dashed-off shot can produce fabulous color-splashed scenes. I spend a lot of time swooning in the fall, and in the winter, and, let’s face it, in spring and summer too. You know.

A few happy shots for your perusal.

Cercis canadensis -- beautiful year round.

Cercis canadensis aka North American Redbud — beautiful year round.

Closer, Let me whisper in your ear…

Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis close up.

It’s amazing what you see when on foot, versus whizzing past in the car. I walked home from the auto repair shop the other day, some three miles, and on this occasion did not have Pumpkin along. But it did provide opportunity to take a few snaps without Punky yanking on the leash. Still, it felt strange. She’s been my long-distance walking companion for 12+ years. But lately I’ve cut back her walks to a mile or less–and that was before the latest development. More on that later.

Concordia University is a couple blocks from us, and though a commercial space, the gardens are pretty terrific.

Interesting texture mix up at Concordia University.

Interesting texture mix up at Concordia University.

And then a little closer to home, the back garden. I didn’t even realize this Arbutus unedo ‘Elfin King’ had fruited. I really have to clear out that space. It’s that darn Crocosmia. I keep saying I’m going to yank them, but then the hummingbirds beg me to let them stay, and who can resist that. Surely I can yank at least a few–or they’re going to eat the entire east-fence bed.

Arbutus unedo 'Elfin King' aka Strawberry Tree.

Arbutus unedo ‘Elfin King’ aka Strawberry Tree.

Amsonia hubritchii will forever be linked to my pesky broken shoulder and head smacking. I’d gone to visit a spectacular stand on my daily walk, and not only had the owner cut it to the ground just before its peak–after I’d mentioned to her that it would be glorious, no less. I got mixed up with the camouflaged bear-trap sidewalk just beyond. But that’s better now. Well, apparently–if I do my shoulder exercises forever. When I expressed indignation about the forever part, my physical therapist, Tasha, said, “Well, if you didn’t want it to be so hard, you should have broken a less complicated joint.” Touché, Tasha.

Things in the back fence garden are still looking good, but the tawny color of Amsonia hubritchii foretells the seasons end.

The back fence garden is still looking good, but the tawny hues of Amsonia hubritchii foretell seasons end.

And some plants can’t resist a final bloom: Chinese Fringe Flower.

Lorapetalum chinense 'Sizzle Pink' throwing out a few second blooms.

Lorapetalum chinense ‘Sizzling Pink’ throwing out a few second blooms.

And my sweet Pumpkin. She’s always been a healthy dog, and even at 12 years, still has her good looks and gorgeous hair color. I should be so lucky. But jst a little over a month ago, she went suddenly blind. It’s a condition called SARDS, Sudden Acquired Retinal Degenerative Syndrome. We’re all adjusting, and she seems okay most of the time. Once in a while she gets tangled up on direction, but we’re learning new language to help her navigate. She’s learned “step up” and “step down” at curbs–because she still wants to go for her walk. And always the guard dog–she still sleeps by the front door so she can bark her head off when someone approaches.

Mister staying close to Pumpkin.

Mister staying close to Pumpkin.

Mister seems to know something is up, and he does his best to hang close to Pumpkin. She’s not always crazy about the idea–even when I tell her, “Pumpkin, Mister loves you so much.”

We’re all carrying on and learning as we go. Daily life with the animals is not that much different. I’ve had to give up leaving the vacuum lying around so I can chase animal fur at a moment’s notice–but I’m accustomed to hardship and I can do it. From here on out, no tripping hazards allowed.



  • Alison

    I wish I could find big gallon-size pots of that gorgeous Amsonia for sale. I never see anything but eentsy little 4-inchers with one little sprig, which makes no statement at all. Yours is beautiful.

    • It’s a terrific plant. Hope you find it soon.

  • This time of year – everything is too beautiful. That drift of bloodgrass at Concoria has me thinking. Who couldn’t use a few of those?

    • I’ve read warnings about it becoming invasive, but I’ve never had that happened.

  • Tim Vojt

    So many great things this time of year! That Concordia garden is pretty darn nice, but I like the shot of your garden with the Amsonia so much more. What’s the pinkish, feathery thing behind and to the left in the photo. I’m pretty sure it’s some South African thing that I just can’t grow, but I do love to torture myself.
    I’m hoping for my Croscosmias to become worthy adversaries. Living on the cusp of their hardiness, mine seem very, very slow to bulk up.

  • Denise Maher

    So weird how dogs’ aging and ailments are condensed, like their lives unfortunately. We built a ramp for Ein the corgi a few months back when it was obvious four stairs up the back porch were too many. Now he loves thundering up the ramp. So Ein totally understands Pumpkin’s new adjustments. Your back fence looks fabulous, and I love what Concordia has done too. So sorry about your shoulder — I took a fall the other day so hard on my knees I thought this is it, when I finally break something and life is divided into Before and After the Fall — but my luck held out. Good luck with that shoulder…and Pumpkin too.