Autumn Reflections

Jodi at bloomingwriter has written a post for the first day of autumn that has caused me a great deal of reflection today. I like when someone else's writing does that for me. Thinking and reflection are good. Jodi wrote about the passing of summer with all its mixed emotions--sadness and regret being among them for her. Her perspective caused me to think about what my own perspective is about the passing of summer into autumn. I realized that Jodi's laments and mixed emotions about the passing of summer are the reasons why I need to live in this climate I live in.

As a child, I lived in the Rocky Mountains at a high elevation where we used to say we had three seasons--winter, July and August. It was very hard. There were years where we would get out of school for the summer, and then have snowfall the second week of June. Easter was often a white holiday. The growing season was very short. And the brief couple of months that were "summer" were so fleeting that it was very hard.

When I was 10, we moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area of California where I was born. We moved during the depths of February's coldness in Colorado to the sunny climate of a drought year in the Bay Area. I felt like I'd entered Eden. It was heavenly to see ice plant in bright bloom in people's front yards as I walked home from my first day of school on Valentine's Day. Flowers on Valentine's Day! Incredible!

Since that very memorable move when I was 10, I've lived in other places and other climates. But I never felt at home anywhere but here in the Bay Area. So I determined that I needed to stay here throughout my adulthood because I needed this climate. And that determination has been a good one and a real blessing.

The downside to our climate is that all the wonderful things that Jodi and many others out there in the northern hemisphere love about summer aren't part of my reality. I have to prepare myself every year that sometime around May all the major gardening work needs to end until autumn comes. With the fair freckled skin of a redhead, I cannot spend time in the direct summer sun for very long even with sunscreen. And our heatwaves are so extreme with Fahrenheit temps often-times hovering in the triple digits, that my garden maintenance chores need to be done well after 6 pm in the evening and sometimes even after sundown when the cooler breezes finally blow in off the waters of the San Francisco Bay. So my tomatoes and vegetables, my citrus trees, the spectacular curtains of bougainvillea blossoms, and my sub-tropical "Hawaii garden", have to be enjoyed in fits and spurts while I remain holed up in an air-conditioned house usually sitting in front of a computer trying to be creative for three months straight.

The other downside to our climate is that we rarely, if ever, get rainfall during summer. Our rainfall for the year occurs during the late fall, winter, and early spring. That's when the hills of the Bay Area turn a gorgeous shade of green. The green hills of January are a favorite sight for me. But during the summer, the hills are a golden yellow as the seasonal grasses and plants die because the rainfall has ended. This means that growing things in the garden during the summer and using water responsibly (always a concern even in a non-drought year) are always problematic. The majority of the beautiful blooms end in May and don't come back until the cooler days of autumn. So while everyone else in the northern hemisphere is enjoying an abundance of blooms in their July and August gardens, I am waiting (sometimes not-so-patiently) for September to come so I can enjoy color again instead of dried up leaves and pathetic looking roses.

So for all my blogging friends in other parts of the northern hemisphere, please excuse me over the next 9 months as a revel in gardening again after having been cooped up for 3 months. My summer is like your winter, and I've got a serious case of cabin-fever. I apologize in advance for my enthusiasm as I re-enter the world of swinging my sledgehammer at things and continuing where I left off in May. I promise that my exultant state is not intended to "rub it in" that we finally will have exciting new birds in the gardens--your birds. And if my posting ever becomes sporadic, you'll know why. It's because I'm finally able to go out and "play in the dirt" again because autumn has finally arrived!

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  1. Cindy, summer keeps me out of my garden as well. My fall and winter vegetable garden is always the best. Our spring is so short and summer so hot, it is hard to keep it going. Glad you have some cooler weather to enjoy

  2. I love this post! I can so relate! But this little mountain girl is so glad to be back in the mountains and have white winters! I'm so glad we can enjoy diversity.
    Love you,'

  3. Oh don't you dare apologize, Cindy! While we may be envious of you during the winter, this is what is great about blogging. We get to visit and experience through others. Even though we live in different climates, I can fully understand all that you express here.

    Goodness, that bougainvillea is gorgeous! Mine that is that color didn't bloom this summer, nor did 'Imperial Garden.' Oh well, they have bloomed beautifully in the past and they will again. I potted up one of them already for taking inside for winter. They'll drop most of their leaves, which is fine, will bounce right back next spring when they get to go outside in the ground again.

  4. By the way...Jodi inspired my post today, too! :-)

  5. I loved your phoptgraphs. I enjoy taking photos and really enjoy other peoples works. Keep up the good work!!!

  6. Hi again,

    Just wanted you to know I can spell the word photographs. Just a typo...Enjoy your work

  7. Hi Cindy,

    my friend in Italy has similar weather. When we visited two years ago, everywhere was a golden yellow because it was so hot. The only place that had any green was the veg patch where they watered every day, early in the morning and in the evening.

    Most of our flowers here were ruined by the heavy rain we have had throughout the year, so I look forward to seeing what appears in your garden and what kind of feathered visitors you get. I'm quite excited now!!

    Hugs from Meg and cats xxx

  8. Hi Cindy,
    I have to admit that I'm a cold weather person even though I love to garden. Give me the Rocky Mountains any day. I might change my mind after a few hard winters though.

    I almost forgot to thank you for the lovely words in your note to me. They really touched my heart and your blogging friendship is one I treasure.

  9. I can completely relate... Being from Ohio and now living in Arizona has been a culture shock. None of the flowers that I grew up loving, a different kind of green here (when I go back the green is almost overwhelming), and seasons that make me forget about what time of year it really is. Even the coming of rain smells different than it did in is smells like mesquite and in Ohio like corn...

  10. Rub away Cindy hun. We had a shorter growing year when we lived in the mountains in Wales. As soon as you could get out you did. It wasn't as severe as your Rockies though.

    I'm looking forward to seeing all your garden progress. My son has similar colouring to you.

  11. I really enjoyed your post today and as our mornings are becoming a bit nippy, I love the temperatures of the fall day. I am Not a winter person and love the longer sunny days. So I wish winter away and can't wait until the new birth of spring. Enjoy all our bird friends! I sanitized our hummingbird feeder until next Summer, we have these special friends for such a short time and miss them when they leave.
    Our new daughter in law, in a few months also grew up in the bay area.
    Actually Napa Valley and now finds herself in Butte Montana. The weather there is like you described growing up:[ I think it might be a bit of a shock to her system this winter.
    Thank You for being the avid gardner you are so we can enjoy the fruits of your labors!

  12. Ahh, interesting.

    That would be difficult to be a kid in growing up in the Rockies. I think that would be too cold for me. Maybe you learned how to ski.

    Welcome back to gardening!

  13. Wayne's brother's who used to live in St. George said they had to hide inside from the heat of summer just like we hide inside from the cold of winter. I thought that was an interesting view.

  14. I'll look forward to seeing your garden this winter when mine is taking it's nap. :)


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