Bloomin’ Update 10: Autumn Joy


My plan was to have a post featuring the blooms of the waning days of summer.  With camera in hand, I captured bees tending to their chores on a day that felt more like July than September.  If you could see their bee faces, I’m sure they were aglow with autumn joy.

 Then, in a matter of hours, a cold front roared through.  The clouds thickened and darkened, the wind grew stronger, and fat drops of rain splattered everything.  And all the while, the temperature plummeted — so much so, that by sunset, it felt like late October.  When I looked out of a window, I saw the last canna bloom (was that a shiver?) glowing.  I again grabbed the camera, this time to capture the canna’s last stand — and I was blown away by the vividness of color.

 
I wondered what other flowers and plants would look like surrounded by chilled darkness and then the glare of a flash.  I was limited in my selection because of the time of year, but I did (surprisingly) capture a noisy cricket in the ivy that climbs up the maple tree.  He’s resting on the large leaf at the bottom of the photo.
 
   
Now the Zinnias, a little battered and chewed up, but still holding on to their color.
 
 
 
This Blanket Flower is probably wishing that it had a blanket.
 

A few of the old standbys:  a faded Hydrangea (take that Madonna!), Liriope spikes, Coleus “Tartan,” and a Caladium close-up.

 

The Sunflower Sisters, one streaked with orange, the second like a faded version of the first, and the third looking more like celestial eclipse.

Finally, another glimpse of “Autumn Joy” Sedum.  The bees were probably in a state of suspended animation at this hour and temperature.

My late-night expedition into the garden was a wonderful way to close-out summer.  (Note to self: Next year, don’t wait until the end of summer for a nighttime photo shoot.)  Looking back on this growing season, it was exciting to enter the blogging world and to share my life and garden with you.  I appreciate greatly all of the comments and encouragement.  Now, it’s time for cleaning up, digging and storing tender bulbs, protecting terracotta pots, and the never-ending raking — in other words, the joys of autumn.

Book Review: Anthill Antics In Alabama


A few weeks ago, I saw an excellent review of a new book, Anthill, by E.O. Wilson.  Still, after reading the review, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get bogged down in a book about ants and an environmentalist.  That’s what I thought until the other day, when I visited my local library and saw the title on the new book shelf.  Clearly it was calling me, and I took a chance.  I’m glad that I did.

The novel traces the life of  Raff Cody, an inquisitive, eco-friendly young man living “on the Gulf Coastal Plain, on the fringe of the North American subtropics,” also known as Alabama.  Throughout his boyhood, Raff is completely enamored of an undeveloped piece of pristine Alabama land.  His commitment to his environment follows him through high school into college, then onto Harvard Law and into corporate America. 

What is truly stunning in Mr. Wilson’s first work of fiction is the care the Pulitzer Prize-winning author takes in describing and celebrating the rich biodioversity that often comes into conflict with developers.  While most of the book follows the efforts of Raff to preserve his piece of the planet while balancing his corporate responsibilities, one section can stand on its own as an impressive piece of writing.

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