Saturday, November 30, 2019

Out and About for Autumn

Tomorrow is December 1, but technically, it's still autumn. But the colors are all gone, and it no longer looks like fall. Those fall colors we look forward to so much are quickly gone, so I do a lot of driving about to photograph them all. First place I go to for autumn splendor is my hometown area of St. Joseph Michigan.

I always be sure to visit Fernwood Botanical Gardens while I'm in town. This lovely public garden was a favorite of my grandmother, so of course it became a favorite of mine. The weather wasn't very good that day, but it was still lovely. Like I said, weather doesn't slow me down much.

While I was there, I had the good fortune to experience a gale on Lake Michigan. In case you find that statement puzzling, I am highly invigorated by stormy beaches. I've always wanted to see the beach during one of these wind storms, so I was thrilled to be there exactly then. I quite literally stayed there the whole day, just taking pictures and loving it! I was sandblasted and cold, but I loved it, start to finish. Trust me, these are only a few of the pix I took that day!

It only lasted for one day, so I had other calmer days to be at my beloved beaches. My favorites are Silver Beach, Rocky Gap, Jean Klock, and Tiscornia. It was cold, but I'm a pretty tough cookie when it comes to weather. As long as I'm there were I like to be, it doesn't much matter if I'm cold. Now my next dream is to visit there in winter. I haven't seen the lake all frozen since my youth.

By the time I got back home to Ohio, the fall color show had started here. And it starts with the Circleville Pumpkin Show. I'm always fascinated by just how many different foods can be made with pumpkin. The answer is a LOT. Next year, I'll try to actually count and record them all. We tasted pumpkin chili, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cider, and pumpkin butter. All were delicious! If you look closely, you can see that the winning pumpkin was over 1400 lbs. Now that's quite a pumpkin! Dr. Ligget has won this honor many times. Some years ago, the master gardeners visited his pumpkin patch, and I like to remember where these winners come from.

I always make a quick drive through Blacklick Metro Park specifically to snap pix of the lovely Sweetgum trees I know are there. For this trip, I make sure to wait for a blue sky day, because I know I'll be pointing my camera skyward.

For the last few years, I haven't been able to hit Chestnut Ridge on a blue sky day. By the time that the colors there are peaking, I'm always afraid to delay much longer. It's okay, the colors are brighter on a cloudy day.

As the weather continued to deteriorate, I hit Franklin Park Conservatory for more formal autumn beauty. They do such a fabulous job, but even for me, the weather was awful. I didn't last long in the cold rain. My weather toughness has its limits.

Inniswood Metro Gardens is one of my favorite spots to see garden textures. Their landscaping team is extraordinary. I  visit at various times through the year, but I personally think autumn is the best.

My final stop is always Dawes Aboretum. My favorite part of Dawes is that it has a driving trail, so that you can see it all without wearing yourself out hiking for miles. It doesn't have many formal gardens, but lots of beautiful trees. I especially like the long views of the Ohio countryside you can see on the drive. It was really cold that day, but clear, so I mostly took pictures from inside my warm car.

It's pretty obvious that autumn is my absolute favorite. I try to love each season as it comes, but there's just something special about the fall foliage. During that one week of peak color, I literally plan out each day so that I don't miss any of these favorite spots. We had an early snow this year, and my own garden was already sleeping this November. You know there isn't much to see when these are the only pictures I took at home the whole month. Luckily, I have all those autumn hot spots in my memory bank.