With the first low temperatures for us, basically in the upper forties, the leaves change colors, just not so intense.
Mostly gold or spotted gold and subtle dull reds. The crepe myrtle leaves, if it is cold enough, turn deeper red as they fall onto the ground below.
The trees look tired this time of the year, as do the gardens with just a few brave stalks still upright and faded. The harvest has been reaped and nature is shutting down, though not so completely as it does in northern climes. For that, I am grateful, as we in Florida can plant winter vegetables and flowers. A yard full of pansies makes me happy.
Japanese maples turn a deep burgundy. Perhaps FSU fans take them as symbols of the football team. One sees a lot of garnet and gold on game days. I’m seeing a lot of gold mixed with green on leaves of trees when cool weather comes.
We don’t have a lot of leaves to rake up in most yards, but we do have the gift of pecans in a lot of yards and what a good stretch it is to pick them up one by one. The harvest of those favored nuts is a little better this year because of Hurricane Hermine in the spring time. Not much rain since, but maybe enough to make it worthwhile to gather them.
Who doesn’t love pecan pie? It is nanaj’s favorite!
My staunch little bell pepper plant is holding on and I can see small evidence of it wanting to produce a second crop. Even this late in the season, I still have basil plants in full green. Time to make another batch of pesto! I froze some this past spring and it works!
My sage plant is thriving as is my large rosemary bush. So much can be made from growing the herbs one likes. My thyme didn’t do well, but I was able to cut enough to use in soups.
Before we go to frost, rather late here, I will pick the sage leaves and fry them in olive oil to preserve their flavor.
Harvesting even small batches of herbs and perhaps a pepper or tomato plant connects us with the earth and brings a small sense of pride for our endeavors. Who wouldn’t want a glass jar of rosemary infused olive oil to enhance the flavor of roasting pork or poultry? It is a hardy plant. Mine is about twelve years old and still growing well in my rain garden, even though it flourishes in dryer ground. Green all year round. Who could ask for anything more?
So Autumn in North Florida’s Panhandle isn’t a blaze of glory, but we’re not shoveling snow off our walkways or having to replant every flower or herb come spring.
Not bad, not bad at all…J