Slowly but surely, the flavour of the season is starting to change from that of summer to that of autumn. The blooming of the sunflowers, in their bold autumnal colours, always seems to mark the shift in the season for me. The days are still hot, but the nights are getting longer, the grass is turning brown, and the odd yellow leaf lies lifeless on the ground.
I can no more name a favourite flower than I can a favourite book, but I am often drawn to the sunflowers more than any others. Perhaps it is simply their size and bold colours that attract me, but there is something to be said for a flower that grows to the height of a small tree in one too short growing season, a flower as tall or taller than I am, that I can stand toe to toe with and look straight in the eye (if you'll pardon the anthropomorphism!). They are surely one of the easiest flowers to grow and always come up on their own all over our yard, but I always have to start a few special varieties from seeds as well. This magnificent specimen is growing in the middle of the garden, towering over the potatoes, and I photographed late in the afternoon, when the sun was shining from behind it and making it glow as if with an inner light. I don't know what variety this one is (if it even is any named variety), but I love the blush of red on the inside of the petals.
Soon, this sunflower will be starting to hang its head and its seeds will be ripening. Sometimes I'll grab a sunflower seed or two to eat as I pass by, but most of the seeds are simply left for the birds. By the end of the season, all of the sunflower heads will be picked bare. After I took this photo, I strolled through the rest of the garden, picking a handful of fresh raspberries and one lone blueberry to eat. We only planted our blueberry bushes last year and we will be lucky to get even a small handful of berries this year. This morning when I was out I picked a handful of saskatoons (service berries) that were growing wild in our lower yard. Yes, I think, there is no mistaking it, the harvest has begun. Farmers have cut and baled their first crop of hay, a bit late this year because it was so cool and wet earlier.
The sunflowers are blooming, the sun is going south, and autumn will soon be here.
What flowers and plants are you drawn to? What are you harvesting this year? What are the signs of the season in your neck of the woods?