Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Fall is definitely, gloriously here. The nights are cold now, the daytime sun is lower in the sky. It's only a matter of time before the furnace switches on, warming us in our beds some early, frosty morning in the near future. Afghans are back on the beds, I'm wearing slippers at home (there's a lot of chilly tile in our house). I wore a cardigan to go shopping yesterday morning and bought myself a cup of coffee, partly for the hand-warming.
Our yard is changing quickly. I haven't had a really nice rose in weeks; they're small and tightly furled, as if guarding themselves from the nip in the air. Russian sage is still doing well, at its most beautiful in fall, I think. The color deepens and the flower petals seem more prominent. But the yarrow is dry and crispy-brown now, the yucca flowers are spent. There's still plenty of color out there, though; Jupiter's beard is having a second wind after a dormant period in high summer, my mums are blooming prolifically and berries are ripening all over the yard.
I love making seasonal posies but they're more challenging in fall and winter. I enjoy the creative endeavor of it: bringing together the blooms and growth of the season and making it pretty and interesting. Half the fun for me is in the artful arranging; choose a vessel, create a shape, find the right angle for display (everything I know on this subject, I learned from Ina Garten). But I also love that I can make a posy for free, from things growing right out there in my yard. There's a time for store-bought flowers (I'm a total sucker for cheap bunches of hot pink or lipstick-red tulips in late winter), but when I can, I like to gather what's in season right outside my kitchen door.
My autumn posy brings together the last flowers in the yard - our late-bloomers and our three-season workhorses - with the berries that slowly ripen and brighten from summer into early wintertime. The colors faded quickly after I made the posy; they were at their brightest and freshest right after they were clipped, when I took these photos. Within a day, they darkened. I took the photos on a stormy afternoon, when the wind was whistling across the roof and fat raindrops were splashing east-facing windows. I was wearing a light sweater (and my slippers). I arranged my flowers and berries in a cheerful ceramic jug, savoring one of my last posies before the brown desert winter.
My posy includes (clockwise from top left in collage photo): 1. Russian sage; 2. Pyracantha berries and leaves; 3. Yellow chrysanthemums; 4. Burgundy chrysanthemums; 5. Nandina berries and leaves; 6. White chrysanthemums; 7. Jupiter's beard (red valerian).