Saturday, November 2, 2019

Autumn, then Winter

A view across autumnal cornfields. Just about time to harvest....

Greetings! I don't know where the weeks went, but we're deep into autumn already. We've been enjoying some warm sunny days though, so it's mostly been pleasant so far.

Up until the past few days, we'd had a few light frosts and even a couple of harder ones, although many flowers still had their blooms, so it's been lovely to sit outside on sunny days to enjoy the garden. Here are a few photos of my Paradise Garden, where I like to sit, from the past two weeks:

The garden was still looking pretty nice a couple weeks ago. Whenever the sun came out, I sat on the bench at far right against the house. That south-facing position takes full advantage of the sun, and the brick pavers it sits on absorb the heat and feel great on bare feet in autumn and early spring. (I just added that bench this spring.)

Still lovely and flower-filled....

...and beautifully scented from the the flowering tobacco and the especially from the tuberoses, shown here with the olive tree in a pot.

But the best part has been sharing my garden with our two new cats, that we got as kittens this past summer. When we got them in July and August, they were still too little to go outside safely, but now that they're larger, they love it, especially on warm sunny days. (Our house is 200 yards from a sparsely traveled gravel road and surrounded by corn fields, and they never wander very far away from our house, often staying inside the little picket fence.)

Meet Oreo, who looks very photogenic among the flowers.

And Noodle, who is the sweetest, friendliest kitten ever, and purrs more than any other cat I've ever met.

Fun times!

Roses still blooming a couple of weeks ago.
Beautiful, sunny and flower-filled: a lovely view from my bench in the sunshine.

Winter comes early

But this past week, the weather got worse: the temps dropped down to 20°F or even lower -- and it even snowed twice midweek:

I looked outside Tuesday morning, and this is what I saw.

But the sun started coming out...

...and pretty soon the snow started to melt.

And we get hit again...

Unfortunately, we got another, even bigger snow only two days later. It's very unusual for us to have snow in October here in Iowa -- usually it's December before we get a whole inch of snow, let alone that much twice.

Happy Halloween! After the first snow was gone, we got this much heavier amount of snow only two days later.

But I'm OK with winter coming -- we've really enjoyed a pretty nice autumn thus far, and I can't plant my spring bulbs until the flowers are done. (We're into November now -- time to plant those bulbs that have been sitting in my study since early September).

Plus, I've been busy with other projects besides my gardens: I've spent a great deal of time since August (when I last posted -- good grief!) working on getting my book about the history of ornamental gardening in Iowa ready to print. I sent off to a digital printing company for a proof copy in September, and unfortunately, the the print quality of digital printing presses isn't quite up to what I'm looking for, especially for color images. So now I'm planning to have it printed by an offset printer in China (despite the tariffs). It will have a full-color interior, and I've been working to make the pages as colorful and beautiful as possible these past six weeks. I'm looking at a publishing date in May now.

The colder days ahead will give me plenty of time to put the finishing touches on my book and get it printed after January 1st. It's hard to think of the year being almost over already - but there it is.

I hope you have been enjoying lovely warm autumn days in your own gardens, and that you have plenty of indoor projects and hobbies to occupy you during the non-gardening season this winter.

Thanks for reading! -Beth


  1. Your Paradise Garden is beautiful! The kittens are adorable too. Hope all is well with you and your family. Beth

    1. Thank, Beth! Hope you and your family are well too! -Beth

  2. That first view of the cornfield is beautiful. What changeable weather you've had lately! However, it looks as if you've enjoyed your lovely Paradise Garden with so many pretty flowers that have bloomed in abundance. Sweet kittens are a nice addition to home life. All the best with the future plans for printing and publishing the book.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your kind words! Hope all is well with you as we head into late autumn. Best, -Beth

  3. So beautiful! Love all the flowers and the kitties too! The winter snow is pretty too. We've had our first hard freeze here and some tiny flurries about a week ago. Going to miss my flowers but it does gives us gardeners time to rest and focus on our interiors through winter. Your place looks like a winter wonderland!

    1. Hi Sonia, Thanks for your nice words! I'm glad you're enjoying your autumn in your own gardens. Thanks for visiting, -Beth

  4. The paradise garden was looking quite lush this year! Good job, Beth!

    We also got some snow, but not nearly as much as you. I'm ok with Fall setting in, but tomorrow's low of 13 just seems unreasonably early to me!!

    1. Hi Br. Placidus, I agree -- we're predicted to get down to 10° tomorrow night, and that's just not a nice fall temperature: that's Winter! I guess we're probably in for an extra cold, long winter this year.... Thanks for stopping by. Best, -Beth

  5. Your flowers were lovely, and even with snow, your garden it pretty. Speaking for myself, October & November is way too early for snow in any amount, let alone the 14 inches (over several snows) we've gotten. And I'm not that far north of you - near highway 30. Then again, it doesn't take much distance for snow amount to vary hugely. And down to below zero overnight!? This time of year?!? Nope. Waaaayyy to early.

    A book in May? I'll be watching for more details.