Today is Thanksgiving day in Canada, and there is much to be thankful for. In the garden, colours are bright.
Even when the flowers have faded, I’m thankful for work that’s been done. At the Aqueduct the catmint ( Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’) has been cut back, making the bed look more like a monk’s shaved head than the overgrown mop of foliage it was only days ago.
Also looking bare after its annual cut is the Big Meadow. With the hay bales still in place, it looks less like a lawn and more like the farm field it used to be.
Thankfully uncut are the ornamental grasses by the Skating Pond. They are at their best in autumn, particularly on a breezy day.
Usually, fall colours hit their peak at Thanksgiving, but this year the colours are muted, less vibrant than normal. I think this is due to the hotter and dryer days we had throughout September — many days felt like summer. These warm days have continued into October, making fall still seem a distant prospect.
Going through the woods with my granddaughter, fall was more evident. We spotted some bright colours, but they often appeared in isolated patches, surrounded by green.
Poplar leaves glowed yellow or occasionally appeared a blanched out white.
Ferns were clear markers of the change of season. Many have turned from green to toasted gold…
but others, like Christmas ferns (Polystichum) and maidenhair ferns (Adiantum pedatum) still wear their summer clothes.
The woods at Glen Villa comprise different ecosystems. Some sections are full of tall straight trees with almost no undergrowth.
Others are deep and mysterious.
Some places in the woods hint at earlier times, when the land was cleared for farming.
In other places, the hints turn into shouts and the land tells its story loud and clear.
Garbage collection and municipal dumps are relatively new things in many rural areas, including this one. Before they existed, farmers used the woods. This old dump close to a trail contained many things you might expect: tin cans, glass bottles, rusted metal and an old inner tube.
It also contained some surprises.
Even if they are less vibrant than usual, colours still abound in the woods, on branches and on the ground.
Without doubt, though, the most colourful part of Thanksgiving — and definitely the most delicious — was the turkey.