The leaves of North Carolina are glorious as they give up their lifeblood of green and prepare to fall.

I think about this fact more this fall than ever before. The leaves are giving the trees back their chlorophyll as they die.

The result is a crescendo of colors. Folks who do not glance at trees the rest of the year drive here to enjoy fall.

The leaves demand attention as they die. They have been there all along, mostly ignored.

The change makes us notice.

I have driven down this road hundreds of times and have never seen this house until heavy equipment removed the vines that kept it hidden for decades.

We had to take a closer look before more heavy equipment removed it. It is an intriguing liability on land newly purchased.

I knew the boys who grew up here as old men. They are now gone. I hope someone has saved the pictures and the stories.

We got one last look at a jewel that we never noticed before it falls.

I am not a fan of fast change. I am unsettled by the huge waves of development that are washing away the history here.

Every outing brings new lamentations. More houses, more people, more traffic…less trees, less nature…

This old house was built on cleared land many years ago, nature took that land back for a bit.

The vegetation engulfed the buildings, strangling the structures, erasing its human history.

This land will be changed again. We will be changed with it.


Fatsia’s Freedom

It is time to set Fatsia free in the garden. After a year of pampering it and potting it up, I finally believe it will be better off out in the ground instead of a pot. It has quadrupled in size.

It is an act of faith to put a plant in the ground. Is it ready? Is this the best location? Will it be beaten by weather or eaten by wildlife?

I must release my friend Fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’ and hope it thrives among the Selaginella, Autumn Fern and Orange Epimedium.

A beautiful plant in a lovely spot.


The Muhly Fountain

The rain has transformed the Pink Muhly Grass into a fountain. Its draping stalks glisten with drops.

I petted it and the drops converged and ran to the ground.

It feels like delicate, wet feathers.

The drops sparkle. It is a new kind of beautiful.


‘It’ll Do’ Herbs

I do not have time to be a picky perfectionist. I do tasks between other tasks.

This is not multi-tasking. This is fragmented tasking. I call it “It’ll do mode.”

I have to get it done now, before some other need shows up and high-jacks my plans.

I know how to dry herbs properly. I have an air-dryer. What I do not have is the time.

I cut off the tops of my favorite Pesto Basil.

I keep this by the walk so a waft of aroma greets folks as they head toward the door.

I washed the tops. Snipped them into pieces.

Dried them on a pizza pan in a 200 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Removed stems and crumbled leaves.

I also took cuttings to try to root them because I never seem to find my favorites two years in a row.

Grab your scissors and do it now. A distraction is headed your way.

I dried sage this morning. I cut it several days ago and left town again. The twigs had gone limp. I washed them off, patted them dry and put them on the pizza pan.

This time the oven was at 170 degrees for one hour. The house smells like heaven. (but is still a mess…Hi Ho!) The branches must be stiff and dry when done.

Crumble off leaves.

Compost twigs.

Sort the crumbs on parchment then smash them some more. Then pour the sage into last year’s empty bottle and change the year.

During the drying time I walked to the mail box, folded laundry, texted my son, called my sister and ordered gifts on Amazon. I usually use a warm oven after baking, but I don’t have time to do that either.

Maybe tomorrow, but today “It’ll do.”


Gran’s Green Vase

There were a few things from my Gran’s house that I really wanted. One of the must-haves was this green vase. It sat on the window sill of her dining room. Sometimes it held a Magnolia bloom from the tree by the drive.

When a magnolia was out of season, it held a plastic waterlily bloom with leaves. (It is being washed as I type. It was covered in dust.)

I was happy to have a Snow Country Dahlia bloom to fit the vase today. Rose and I brought in many flowers, herbs, tomatoes and peppers. I cannot predict when I will have time to harvest before the freeze, so we did most of that today. Drying herbs blog will follow.

I hope my family sees this blog and remembers the lovely home of our precious grandparents.

The object is treasured for the memories it holds.


My Favorite Fall Color is PINK

The changing leaves are spectacular in North Carolina right now. I love the yellows, the oranges and especially the reds; but the color I look forward to the most is pink.

While all the trees are showing off their leaves, my Jean May is showing off her blooms.

I enjoy views from below and above.

I planted it on the eastern side of our deck. This camellia has thrived in this spot for almost thirty years.

I walk to the railing and stick my head inside its branches. I must be careful. The bees love it, too.

I know from the many buds that ‘Jean May’ Camellia sasanqua will be blooming for weeks to come.

She is like an old friend who visits each fall. I look forward to the arrival of all that pink among the bright colors of fall.

‘Jean May’ Camellia sasanqua

This plant owns a part of my heart.


Messengers with Wings

My daddy said if there were jobs in heaven, he wanted to help the birds.

Sometimes I get messages from birds and wonder if my daddy sent them.

Once, I was out in the gardens desperately pondering where I belong. I found a feather on my front stoop on the way back into the house. It was under the overhang where a feather was not likely to land. I think my daddy was telling me that I was where I belonged.

Feather message

I looked through my “Paper Memories” notebooks for a photo of the feather on the porch until I remembered that I had kept the actual feather. The notebook under the feather is how I keep track of my thousands of photos. (I will share this in a later post.)

I kept the feather to use when I get around to burning a sage smudge in a place I feel has negative spirit energy. I have never done this kind of thing, but the bad vibes are too strong to ignore. Rose feels them, also. I don’t know what else to do. I will take suggestions from any credible source. ( No weirdness welcome from that chick in Hendersonville please!)

Yesterday, I was rushing around in a panic trying to get everything finished before leaving home. I looked up to see my heron friend. It was reminding my of the importance of pausing and balancing. I paused and took a breath.

Thanks Daddy

Bees on Dunce Cap Blooms

I must admit I would never have noticed these tiny blooms if it weren’t for the bees. Bees are busily visiting the last bloomers now before the cold sets in. They kept zooming past me as I worked to put plants into the ground before the first freeze.

All bees lead to this Chinese Dunce Cap, Orostachys Iwarenge. I usually watch as the caps arise and then ignore the plants afterward. Good thing the bees did not ignore these tiny, late flowers. I would have missed them in my haste to winterize my other green babies.

Chinese Dunce Cap/ Orostachys Iwarenge

I need to use my jeweler’s loop to see the structure of the flowers.

There seems to be a white blooming and a pink blooming form nestled here in the rock wall.

This is the best spot for them; dry, warm and sunny.

I have been watching the busy bees buzz the last blooms all afternoon.

I am glad to supply their last snacks before frost.


Sugar Kettle to Fire Bowl

Our grateful family finally got together and tried out the sugar kettle as a fire bowl. Mr. Flower showed off by lighting the fire with my weed burner.

It worked wonderfully. It was a beautiful fall night. There was a nip in the air and a slight breeze.

I was so very thankful to have all of our family there, minus one niece and my mom.

We were celebrating my daughter Rose’s thirtieth birthday. She is a miracle. Still here thanks to good medicine and friends stepping in to help her. Our second book is in the works.

My heart is full of gratitude that we are all happy, healthy and safe.

Happy Fall from the FLOWER