An abrupt change in the weather this afternoon. This morning was bright and beautiful — warm too — but now the skies are grey. The wind has come up and it is almost chilly. Is it the first sign of fall, or was that yesterday, when there was a mist on my open bedroom window?
I know it is inevitable, summer can’t go on forever, but it seems a little early to be thinking about leaves changing colour, sweaters needed by late afternoon and my summer tan fading to a sickly yellow.
I had something nice to look forward this week. My friend Judy took me to see her hydrangea (it is a picture…a huge shrub of many hues, from pale blue to vibrant purple) and I was able to bring home three fat blooms to dry for a winter bouquet. Judy said I could have as many as I wanted, but three was great!
I have stripped off all the leaves and set the stems in a tall pitcher of water. Soon I’ll reduce the water level to about an inch, and put their container in the dark utility room and leave it there until the water has dried up, at which time (if I remember it correctly from days of yore) the blooms should also be dry.
When this has happened I’ll store them (standing upright), in a vase, in a dark clothes closet until fall when, hopefully, they may be arranged in a nice container and displayed with delight in the living room. Thank you, Judy! It will remind me of summer when it starts to rain in earnest!
My beautiful dark red amaryllis blooms (three of them on one stem) out on the balcony are quite spectacular, but I’m kind of sorry that the plant has chosen to flower in mid-summer instead of waiting until about Christmas time, when it has bloomed other years.
There won’t be time now for it to rest and regain its strength in just a few months, so I guess I’ll have to save up and buy another bulb this fall for another wonderful Yule-time display.
What am I doing thinking about Christmas, when it is still summer? Maybe my body is trying to cool off by thinking about December.
Actually I don’t want to think about Christmas, as much as I love it, it is a season full of turmoil and too many things to do.
The summer, at least, is a season to relax in the sunshine.
Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.