After living in South Central Texas for five years, I had forgotten the joys of living within the rhythms of four seasons. It’s been seven months since we moved to Idaho, and our garden is finally settling into its fall rest after months of color and fragrance. I bought some leaf bags today, and we had our sprinkler system winterized and shut off this afternoon. The squirrels are still gathering the last of the black walnuts that have fallen from the neighbor’s tree, which now bears deep golden leaves. We are reminded to slow down and savor the cooler weather and the changing angles of the sunlight.
Some of the hardier flowers are still in bloom. One of my favorite discoveries in the garden –planted by the previous owner of our home — is a bed of gaillardia. The first blooms appeared in June and persist into late October.
There are many varieties of this long-blooming flower, with blossoms that range from reddish orange to wine red or peach. They’re hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9, and produce a low, spreading bed of profuse blooms if you keep pinching off the spent flowers. In fact, the low-growing groundcovers are taking center stage as the taller perennials finish blooming.
Before we know it, we’ll be pulling weeds and deadheading rose bushes again. Meanwhile, we’ll let the changing seasons set our pace.