Many thanks to Rose Riley, Master Gardner, Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, Wethersfield, CT
Rose wrote this in early December, sorry about the delay in posting…although with the warm weather, hopefully much is the same!
Autumn always makes me mindful of spring. I walk the dog early in the morning, and on days like this, when the air is wet and rain is threatening, I can smell spring in the leaf mold and the not yet frozen earth.There is so much color in this early December day. Some shrubs retain their leaves late into the fall. Spirea ‘Ogon’ waves its yellow orange ribbons below the coral-red haws (berries) of the hawthorn tree.
Most deciduous trees have lost their leaves but here and there the Bradford and Chanticleer pears shine a glossy gold.
Many conifers change their needle color in the fall. In my side garden the needles of an arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Fire Chief’) have turned pale sage green with mauve tips. A sheen of rain silvers them.
And a few flowers remain. In a neighbor’s garden, self-sown violas nestle against small rocks – the warm crevices prolonging their bloom.
Even the small woodland path on the way to the Webb Deane Stevens museum flashes with late yellow maple leaves highlighting the somber hemlocks.
The museum garden itself is quiet. It was designed in 1921 as a high summer garden to complement a tea room. The plants in the garden bloom between mid spring and early fall. By December, the garden has been cut back and little remains above ground except the roses and Philadelphus hedges and a few hearty perennials which keep their crowns above ground during the winter.
But even in this quiet garden, this December day smells of spring, and if you look carefully, you might find a Johnny-jump-up cheerfully in bloom.