Entries in fall flowers (11)


Little Jolts of Joy

Have you ever had an unexpected jolt of joy, a little surprise that lifted your spirits? Maybe something like an unusual cloud formation, or maybe a child's delighted grin over some small discovery. My husband recently described a ground squirrel whose fat cheeks were filled to overflowing with acorns. We are no lovers of ground squirrels, as they have created extensive tunnels throughout our property, but this little critter was so cute, Lou couldn't help but smile.

I was driving down the road a couple days ago when I received my own little jolt of joy. Trees hugged both sides of the road, and shadows muted their autumn foliage. Then I went around a curve. A section of the land on my right was cleared, and the golden light of late afternoon illuminated the trees on my left. The trees suddenly sparked and glittered like multi-colored jewels. It was breathtaking, and I slowed my car, wanting to prolong the experience.

Another day I was stuck in traffic, waiting for a slow train to pass. I glanced over to the side and thought, what a nice view of Old Town Helena! I had my camera in the car, so I took a shot through the window, and you would never know there was a long line of cars in front of me and a train just out of view down the hill.

That same day I saw this fall display, similar to many around the area this time of year:

Whenever I walk through my garden, no matter the season, there is almost always something that creates a little jolt of joy, if I am open to it. (There are certain negative moods that refuse to be lifted, but I try to avoid them.) Autumn is a favorite season, with its mild temperatures, fresh air, and warm colors. Here are some recent images in the garden that I appreciated, and you may wonder at how little it takes to make me happy!


Have you had any little jolts of joy today? All it takes is sensitivity to small things, as well as to the spectacular (which even, sadly, many people will miss).

Blessings to you all!   Deb




October's End: the Good and Bad

I will begin with the bad:

This is a recent news photo of Lake Purdy, from which Birmingham, Alabama gets its water. Residents of Birmingham and its suburbs are under strict, mandatory water restrictions because of the drought that has extended for over two months, with no end in sight. I live about twenty miles south of Birmingham, and we get our water from other sources, mainly from underground aquifers. We have not yet been hit with mandatory restrictions; but with some doomsayers predicting the drought to continue through the end of the year, I can feel the restrictions coming. Helena has not had a drop of rain in October, and we only had a few drops in September. The drought has been especially bad because of daytime temperatures continuing well into the 80's every day.

Meanwhile, we try to keep important shrubs watered, but with 3.5 acres, it is impossible and prohibitively expensive to water everything. Many leaves look like this:Fothergilla normally has beautiful fall foliage. Not this year!

But here is the good! Despite the drought, there is still beauty out there, especially if one looks through the golden light of late afternoon. So here is a tour. This is likely to be as good as it gets until rain returns.

I will begin with fall flowers:This area by the front walk is brightened by various salvias, lantana and gomphrena. I planted the red snapdragons on the right a year ago. They survived last winter and continued to bloom all this year.They are still going strong. Amazing!Autumn sage and blue salvia

'Black and Bloom' salviaClockwise from top left: Marigold; Asters; Mexican Sage; 'Endless Summer' hydrangea.

This creamy lantana is another low maintenance, front garden bloomer.Most of the Asclepias (butterfly weed) has finished blooming, but I came across these seed pods the other day:

Firebush is still blooming, but I am beginning to see seed pods on that plant, too:

One day I brightened my patio with some leftover cut zinnias from the grocery store; I stuck them in a vase with a spray of Mexican sage.:

Here are random views from around the garden:

Forsythia (Yellow bells) is a common shrub with lovely fall colors, even during drought. This plant never gets supplemental water.

This wren hangs around our patio.

An ancient muscadine vine grows in the woodland garden.
Clockwise from top: Japanese maple; Southern Magnolia; Alabama Croton.

Do you see the bug on the hickory nut shell?

I hope you enjoyed the tour! Blessings to you all, Deb