Fall in the Neighborhood


Dear Liza,

Maybe it’s because our summer has been so hot and dry, but Fall is falling hard here in Portland. Leaves are falling in piles earlier than usual. The change from heatwave to rainfall seems more abrupt.

In our lovely, funky Sunnyside neighborhood, the lush flowers of summer are dying back, waiting to be trimmed into their winter rest.

Plum, apple, and fig trees are all over the neighborhood, planted decades ago by resourceful homeowners. Some folks gather them up and share them, which is really nice. One house on Taylor Street even provides little boxes to take them home!

Other folks seem overwhelmed by the abundance and the fruit just falls and rots, smelling like a brewery. Not terrible, but a terrible waste.

Piles of leaves are everywhere. They make for a seasonal carpet and art materials, as well as pulling nutrients back in the soil. But I know once it rains, we will have ‘leaf slime’ in every gutter.

So it is when summer ends. There is a melancholy, especially when it feels like Covid has cheated us of another summer’s concerts, plays, and festivals. But I am ready for Fall. The inside time and contemplation, and the creativity that come with it, are okay by me.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Nothing but Flowers

Dear Liza,

The neighborhood has gotten so pretty! It has been hot, and if people water enough, their flowers are just going nuts.

There are about a zillion varieties of dahlias, and they are all beautiful. Some of them grow taller than my head, and others are little guys about six inches tall. They all grow from potato-like rhizomes and I think I’ll put some in my garden next year.

Cone flowers are another plant that can be stunningly tall and showy. They have really prickly centers and petals that flop like skirts.


AND when you have coneflowers, dahlias, and sculpture all together in front of a delightful old house, it’s even better!

Love,

Grandma Judy

P.S. Peonies….