“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it.” George Elliot
Fall is filled with legends, myths, fairs, and festivals all celebrating the bounty from various cultures around the world. Pomona was the Roman goddess of apples. Bacchus, the Roman god of grapes, and his Greek counterpart, Dionysus taught humans how to make wine. Many Native American tribes traditionally held special autumn dances to celebrate the corn harvest and the Hopi considered this the most auspicious time of the year for weddings. The Chinese and Vietnamese commemorate farmers and family reunions with Moon Festivals, lotus seed paste-filled moon-cakes, and re-telling of folk tales. The ancient Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, marked the end of the harvest with the festival of Samhain, the origin of our Halloween.
In my twenties, I was booked as a model by a talent agency named Demeter. Having always been fascinated by Greek mythology, I revisited my history books for a refresher lesson.
Demeter, the sister of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades was the goddess of the harvest, agriculture, and grain. After her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades and brought to the underworld, Demeter wandered the earth heartbroken, refusing to allow crops to grow. Being king of the gods, Zeus knew he had to intervene or everyone would starve so he sent Hermes to Hades to bring Persephone home. Before she left to see her Mother, Hades tricked Persephone into eating a few pomegranate seeds guaranteeing that she would return to the darkness for one season a year. Demeter mourned that time which became known as winter but celebrated the previous season, autumn, by reaping the abundance of the crops.
Fall is considered a time to slow down, seek serenity, and soothe the sores of summer. It’s a time of color changes, chillier temperatures, and cooler temperaments. Most of all, we rejoice the fruits of our toils. October has also been a premier month for earthquakes, fires, and financial failures. Be prepared as this fact is not a myth.
Purple loosestrife brightens gardens although it could easily become an invasive species. Keep an eye on yours if you have it cultivated. Grape is being crushed into a new vintage, guavas are self-harvesting, apples are ready for bobbing, pistache and Japanese maple trees are blazing gold and crimson, begonias are in full bloom, and the final days of picking fresh produce from our vegetable gardens loom closer. As the French proverb states, “Autumn is the hush before winter.”
The days are shorter, the nights become longer as we commence the holiday fetes of the forthcoming two months. Autumn is indeed delicious both literally and metaphorically. Decorate for a Trick or Treat party, prepare for Thanksgiving, and get ready for the Christmas and Chanukah festivities of December with cuttings from your landscape.
Enjoy these final days of fluttering leaves and warm sunshine while indulging in the harvests and legends of fall.
Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Gardening Guide for October.
VISIT the library to find books relating to the myths, tales, and legends of autumn.
BUY spring blooming bulbs including anemone, elephant ears, ranunculus, caladium, dahlia, freesia, shamrock, and calla lilies.
DECORATE for All-Hallows Eve with corn stalks, gourds, pumpkins, apples, and grasses.
BRING the outside in with green, air purifying houseplants such as dieffenbachia, fan palms, sail plant, fern, and philodendron.
PLANT shrubs and ornamental trees for year around interest now to allow them to develop strong roots before winter dormancy. Consider hydrangea, lilac, forsythia, and viburnum.
ELEVATE your garden with climbers of wisteria, clematis, sweet pea, and climbing hydrangea.
COMPOST leaves, grass cuttings, and fall debris to reinvigorate your spring soil.
DIVIDE ornamental grasses that have a dead center with a ring of living green. They need to be re-invigorated.
HARVEST apples, tomatillos, tomatoes, eggplant, squash, and grapes.
COLLECT baskets of self-harvested guavas that have fallen to make autumn desserts.
CUT kale leaves as needed. Collect seed pods to plant.
PRUNE dead branches from trees, especially deciduous trees such as Japanese maple and evergreens such as redwoods to encourage new growth.
STOMP on the mounds of moles that may be invading your lawn or building tunnels along your sidewalks. Although moles don’t eat plants, they do destroy the beauty of the soil with their burrowing for grubs, beetles, worms, and insects. If you are wondering if you have moles or gophers, here’s a tip. Gopher mounds are crescent shaped with an opening in the middle whereas moles leave a rounded, volcano-like pile of fluffy dirt without an exit aperture. Both are territorial and destructive, however, gophers are worse because they eat your plants and the roots. Eradicate moles by collapsing their channels. Stomp away!
SEED your lawn with Pearls Premium that grows deep roots and is a water saver. Use code STAR20 at checkout for a 20% discount at www.PearlsPremium.com. Discount extended to October 31.
MAKE an emergency “go bag” as fires or other disasters can strike at any time.
CREATE an arrangement or floral bouquet in pink honoring Breast Cancer Month.
SCHEDULE a garden consult with me, your guide on the side before you put your yard to bed for the winter. Email Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.
Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are1® 501 c3.
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.
Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store.
Available for hire for projects and lectures.