Change is in the air and my thoughts are turning to autumn. Can you feel it? The first signs seem to wait until after Labor Day to allow us our last hurrah with family and friends. Then we feel the seasonal transition. On Wednesday and Thursday, a coastal storm brought a deluge of rain and high winds to Tidewater Virginia and with the storm came brisk temperatures.
Wearing a sweater, I had my coffee on the porch where temperatures hovered around 60 degrees Thursday morning. The sky was dark and overcast and water dripped from the trees and raced through the downspouts. I could count only 8 young hummingbirds this morning dancing from feeder to feeder as the bottles swung to and fro with the wind. That tells me that thirty plus hummingbirds have begun their journey south. Their internal clocks are set. Now we will begin to see more varieties birds migrating through on their way to warmer temperatures and we will soon welcome the arrival of those birds that spend the winter with us. Our days are becoming darker earlier and trees are beginning to show the first signs of color and leaves are already falling from the trees.
Early autumn in the garden is a wonderful time. Before any thoughts of pumpkins, Thanksgiving or frost, gardeners can take pleasure in end-of-season chores out of doors. We welcome a reprieve from the heat, biting insects, weeds and heavy watering. The humidity improves, the air feels fresh and gardeners spend time taking stock of their gardens, cleaning up, dividing, planting and transplanting old plants and welcoming new friends to the garden. Mister gardener will be busy cleaning up his summer vegetable garden and will restart the vegetable garden with fall crops.
For some, the first day of autumn is considered to be September 22, the Autumnal Equinox, but for me, my need for a sweater, especially during the evening, tells me when a seasonal change is in the air. Even though we may have an Indian Summer or Second Summer, the first signs of fall have surely arrived.
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester