If the cooler weather and turning leaves haven’t alerted you, the calendar can’t lie. Tomorrow is the first day of autumn. Can our first frost be far behind? It’s tempting to let the change of seasons put a stop to gardening for the year, but there’s still much to do. (See my previous post on “Putting Your Garden to Bed” for ideas.) Of course we know that many spring-blooming bulbs go in the ground now. But how about perennials, shrubs, and even trees? Can we plant (or transplant) them now? Even for those of us who live in places with cold winters, fall is a terrific time to plant.
Most landscapes look terrific in May and June. The leaves are fresh and new. From pink crabapples to purple lilacs, it seems as if everything is in bloom. The contrast with the lifeless browns and grays of winter is enough to send you cavorting across the glowing, emerald green lawn.
It’s tempting—irresistible, really—to rush to the local garden center and buy everything with flowers on it. I’ve been subjected to Facebook photos of flowers since March (I have a lot of friends in California), and finally it’s our turn!
It was a brisk fall day. A friend and I were hidden among the cattails, binoculars in hand, field guide open between us. We were both new at birding. The wide assortment of ducks bobbing out on the reservoir, nondescript in their eclipse plumage, was giving us fits. That’s why we had come–to learn how to identify fall ducks.
Scanning the opposite shoreline, I was ticking off mallards, shovelers, gadwalls… and gasp! What was that man doing with a gun!!? He had it pointed straight at us!
We hastily decided that this was neither the time nor place to be learning our waterfowl. Backing out of the vegetation, we turned and hurried for the car. It wasn’t until later, when we were in the car heading home, that we realized what we should have known all along. It was hunting season. Reflecting back, it’s unlikely the hunters even realized we were there, outfitted as we were in khaki and olive drab, skulking in the thick riparian foliage.