Autumn

In early October the first frost is likely some weeks away from the Tawes Garden, in its sheltered location near the Chesapeake Bay.   The days are frequently mild and lingering flowers may still put on a show in the Plant Mural, although other plants are holding up only dried seedheads by now.  The Garden's large bird population will take full advantage of them over the next couple of months, until northwest winds finally strip them to bare skeletons. Arguably though, while flowers are mostly absent the trees and shrubs make Autumn one of the brightest seasons for Garden visitors to enjoy.   A view across the Garden from a bench on the ridge is full of color late into November, and the flames of a burning bush by a walkway engulf the lichen-decorated tree limbs threading through it.  More soberly dressed, a young oak appears determined not to surrender a single leaf of its crown to the advancing season. There is a sense of urgency, though, embodied in the statue of ducks in flight highlighted against the glowing background of a Japanese maple.  And inevitably, possibly sooner than expected, the Garden will wake to a morning dusted with winter's first snow.