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Phyllis Donovan: Colors Of Fall Will Peak Soon

Just when the calendar officially turns to autumn and days become noticeably shorter, God’s growing things start showing off in spectacular style.

Even before most of the trees have started to change color, the flowers planted around my house have reached their most beautiful and colorful stage. I don’t think it’s my imagination that they always become their prettiest just before they are hit by a killing frost. But right now it looks as if that hard frost will hold off for a while.

Most of the flowers we have planted around my house are on the pink spectrum…except for the red tulips and yellow daffodils of spring and the gawky orange cosmos of late summer which seed themselves and clutter the garden in late summer. But basically, my flowerbeds are shades of pink with New Guinea impatiens and roses providing most of the color.

One of my most cherished roses grew from a small potted one brought to me by my late dear friend Pat Kennedy when I was in a rest home after first breaking my leg. When it stopped blossoming we planted it in a front border bed not expecting it to survive.

But survive it did, growing bigger each year and putting out large deep pink blossoms every spring and fall. Whenever I see it blooming out there, I think about the sweet lady who gave it to me when my spirits needed a lift, and it makes me feel happy.

Another source of my happiness has always been my beautiful sugar maple out front which every year is the prettiest around. When we first moved here 60-plus years ago, neighbor Doug Burnham dug it out of his backyard and gave it to us because it was blocking his view of West Peak.

Unfortunately, now it is old, and last year its top limbs were practically barren of leaves and starting to look scraggly. We could see that it was dying and weren’t sure it would come back to life this year. But, sure enough, come spring, it put out buds and managed to leaf out fairly well for this summer.

But now, it has prematurely started changing color for autumn before all the other trees on my property. I have been praying that the poor thing would survive yet another year and am hoping its display of brilliant red and orange foliage this year isn’t its Last Hurrah.

In the meantime, I will just cross my fingers, enjoy the expected colorful display and hope it lives to show off its spectacular foliage yet another year.

 And so the new season starts to unfold for us as we cherish all the beauty autumn brings while shorter, darker, colder days lurk in the near future.

I only wish we could enjoy all the beauty of autumn without the knowledge of the grey dreary season that will soon be upon us.



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