Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sunset Among the Trees

Nature often preempts my plans for posts. At sunset she did it again. 

We live on a hill among tall oaks, hickories and loblolly pines that for most of the year block the sky. The sunlight arrives later in the morning and departs earlier from the woods.

Tonight the clouds reflected the pink light and the trees were magic silhouettes for a few brief minutes.

No day is the same in a garden. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Spiritual Lessons

Wind, rain and cold arrived, and the leaves decided it was time to let go. Here are two photos of the garden near the bench, taken one week apart. The geranium still blooms merrily, oblivious of the coming frost. 

"Let us draw a lesson from nature, which always works by short ways. When the fruit is ripe, it falls. When the fruit is despatched, the leaf falls. The circuit of the waters is mere falling. The walking of man and all animals is a falling forward.” 
                                                                                        -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Autumn Glow

Autumn is long in North Carolina. I especially appreciate that this year. I was glued to my laptop for more than two weeks finishing my thesis while the fall colors infused the leaves on warm blue days.

And now I'm done, and I find fall still here and glorious. The golden-yellow of the hickories dominates our wooded neighborhood. 

You probably won't find a hickory tree for sale in a nursery because they quickly develop long taproots and don't do well in containers. All the more reason to appreciate them if they happen to grace your property.

Dogwoods are as stunning in fall as in spring. Some turn a coral, peachy-pink color, while others become purplish-red. They hold their leaves for a long time.

Camellias are in bloom. I have mixed feelings about camellias. It somehow seems inappropriate for them to bloom when all other plants are preparing for winter. They seem alien - and they are, originating in China. Yet they are lovely in bloom. And deer don't eat them! And they don't mind clay soil! In fact, they grow so well here that sometimes they appear to be fake, with their tough, shiny leaves and scentless flowers.  Here one grows under a hickory in the front yard. It's so pretty that I want to apologize to the camellia for my disparagement.

Since finishing the thesis, I have spent time sitting in the cathedral of the woods.

Dogwoods and a serviceberry light up the garden.

Serviceberry is a lovely small tree that is native to the Southeast. The variety below is called "Autumn Brilliance."

It's too early to start raking the yard. I prefer to wait until most of the leaves have fallen.

Back in the woods, I sat for awhile under a white oak surrounded by hickories. The remaining photos were taken with the smart phone. I keep telling myself I'm going on walks to appreciate nature, not mess around with the camera. But when the light is so beautiful, and autumn is drawing to an end, I can't resist trying to preserve the moment.

The lovely horizontal branches of a dogwood glow red in the afternoon sun.

It's good to have time to spend outdoors again!