In the last week here in Minneapolis, we've strung together the first small group of fall days. The wind directions have shifted, the wind speeds have increased, the humidity has dropped, and the piercing days of harsh blue sky punctuated by thunderstorms have given way to days of puffy white clouds skidding across the sky from dawn to dusk.
There will be days where summer returns, but this week is a harbinger of things to come. A welcome harbinger, as there is no time of year more glorious in the upper midwest than autumn.
The gardens are feeling the effects of August heat at the moment, with hostas and other foliage plants scorched around the edges and looking pretty puny. but soon, as I begin to clear out the dead daylily foliage, the colors of brown-eyed Susans will become more intense, asters will begin to bloom, mums will emerge, and the overall color intensity of the garden will become exceedingly bright and vibrant. All of this will happen well in advance of the fall foliage change in the maples and sumac, which will push the garden into otherworldly status. The quality of the light in Minnesota also changes in Autumn. As the sun shifts back toward the equator, the light become more oblique and dramatic. Biting insects begin to go dormant, and there is nothing more pleasant in the world than sitting for a few hours in the cool sunlight of a Minnesota autumn.