I have always loved autumn. There is one moment I always look forward to every autumn, and if I miss it, I miss it for an entire year. That moment is when the wind seems to be the same temperature as everything else around me, not hotter, and not cooler. Its kiss is so lightly brushed upon my face, that I wouldn't even notice its presence if I didn't realize that the leaves that were swirling up to dance with me. It's a magical moment, and one that only comes around for a brief period of time before the weather begins to turn cool, and the wind starts to chill my skin.
Autumn is also supposed to be the best time to plant roses, shrubs, and trees in Texas. In some areas, the winter is too harsh to plant some things now. But here, the cooler weather allows the plants to establish themselves before the heat of summer rolls around again, and the fall rains help them get off to a good start.
Unfortunately, our autumn rains have not materialized this year. This year, instead of the 9 inches of rain that we average during October and November, we have had less than 1. That's less than one inch for October and November combined, so far.
So, I've been using the sprinkler system, just as I would in summer. The difference is, it's not summer. The system has to be restarted and then drained with every use, in anticipation of early morning freezes. Plants located outside of the sprinkler system have to be watered by hand.
This trend is worrisome because the terrible drought we experienced the summer of 2011 actually began the fall before. I hope this is not a trend signaling another long drought. But, only time will tell.
For now, I wander around the garden, taking in the delights that are present. Many plants are showing the effects of frosts and freezes, but there is still so many joys to be found.
If you live in Texas, plant now. Plant shrubs. Plant trees. Plant roses! Plant the garden of your dreams. But watch for the rains, and if they don't come, be prepared to water new plants yourself.
And while you're out there, maybe, just maybe, you'll experience that magical moment when the wind brushes your face with an autumn kiss, while the leaves swirl up for one last dance.