In a peculiar way, this is one of my favorite seasons in the garden, because things slow down and stop growing for a few weeks (or at least it seems so). Every year I feel a little guilty about liking this season of cleaning, but then I realize it's all just part of the cycle.
The top photo is one section of the perennial bed in early October, at is overwhelming autumn peak. The Helianthus angustifolia is tied to the wall, threatening to crush anyone who happens to walk by when it starts to topple. The asters, phlox, and zinnias are all crying out, "I'm not done blooming yet! Don't cut me back!"
The second photo is virtually the same spot five weeks later. We've reached a point of imminent (temporary) death for the blooms, and they've gone to bed for the winter. This is when I find I'm able to enjoy just how beautiful the garden at the Big House is. I suddenly develop a new appreciation for the beautiful hardscaping, which is just starting to develop some of that "softness" that comes as a garden ages. It seems that our days are filled with removal of spent blooms and foliage, hauling it off to the green waste site for composting. We are finally getting rid of the packaging involved with the winter annuals, and getting the opportunity to take brushes and hoses to things.
On one hand it's a little sad, but on the other, very refreshing! Go outside today and enjoy what's left of autumn!