The November garden is like the last glowing embers of a beautiful fire before the cold sets in. I appreciate the painted leaves and brave final flowers all the more because of their impermanence. Here are some of the “blooms” in my life and in my garden over the past month.
* Confederate Rose Mallow (Hibiscus mutabilis) – A canvas for the sun!
Situated on the side of my house, I could miss this bush’s show if I didn’t traipse through the mud to gaze at it. It waits until November to bloom, just weeks before a killing frost. I love it anyway. Each of its brief late-autumn blooms billows white upon first opening. The sun paints the petals pale pink, deepening to dark rose in a couple of days, before the bloom shrivels.
* A fun discovery!
My husband of 13 years is a master storyteller, entertaining us on the road trip to Mt.Magazine for hours! Those we think we know best remain a mystery!
* Captivating sunset, swirls of pink hovering above gray-blue mountains
* Mountain hikes through cool air, crunchy leaves, and views of treetops dotting the slopes like colored moguls
* This note from my gardening uncle on one of the warm days we were gifted with this November:
Just had an impromptu tea party in the back yard yesterday with an elderly neighbor who showed up on her walker. I cut her a fresh ‘Don Juan’ rose to enjoy with her cookies and iced tea.
* Turk’s Cap, donning myriads of pink hats this month!
* Little One never wanting to take off his cozy footy pajamas
* Spanish Bluebell bulbs, shipped here all the way from Holland: small brown spheres promising a beautiful spring.
* Sons laughing together
* Savoring the rose blooms the day before a hard freeze is predicted, with a slight twinge of the bitter-sweet feeling I had when I put my then-fiancé on a plane to study abroad: ’Til spring, sweet roses!
* And then a miracle . . . They didn’t board the plane to winter dormancy! Though the elephant’s ear, thunbergia grandiflora, sweet potato vine, morning glory, and vinca were snuffed out by the cold, the roses continue to flame with beauty!
* November weather is acting as a florist’s refrigerator, preserving each bloom for days on end.
* The neighborhood, ablaze with the beauty of autumn leaves
The eye-catching trees have transformed the roads, leading my gaze upward, making my heart grateful.
* ‘Heavenly Blue’ morning glory
The bunnies ate my first-attempt seedlings, so I was late getting this vine started. It didn’t bloom until a week before the frost nipped it. Oh, but look at it! It was worth it!
* Little One breathing sweetly, asleep, though the wind rattles the windowpanes and the rain falls
* My husband, back in my arms after a flurry of business travel
* Laughing hysterically with a dear friend, dusting off memories from the bottom of the stack of years we’ve known each other
* Smiling at the sweet images and feelings invoked at folk concert enjoyed with my father, my sister, and my pink-blanket-bundled niece
* Purple heart, straightening its posture to display diminutive lavender blossoms
* Standing at the edge of the garage with my sons, listening to the pitter patter of ice, and dreaming of snow
* My mother and I, side by side in her warm kitchen on a cold afternoon, in pursuit of my grandmother’s dressing recipe
* Baking at bedtime the night before Thanksgiving, feeling a sense of community with the Thanksgiving-feast makers across America
I feel as though I’m understanding my grandmother better tonight, the love she stirred in, the stress in her shoulders as she vowed she wouldn’t make this troublesome dressing next year! (Still, she always did.)
* The gluten-free, dairy-free dressing I made, gone, happily gobbled up by loved ones!
* Sisters and nieces dancing wild in the kitchen after the feast
* Guitars playing, family singing
* Beloved PawPaw remembering my name, on this, his last Thanksgiving
Thank you, God, for all the blessings you so generously bestow.