Second Bloom

Orange Perennial Mums at Stonecrest Manor Zone 6

Fall is known for its mums. Bright and beautiful, mounds of cheerful autumn joy signal sweater weather is on the way. As much as I enjoy the daily ritual of sneaking up on the mums to see if they have "popped" and shown their color yet, there is more that compels me in the fall garden.  The mums are welcome, but expected. The second blooms though - THEY are the surprises.

Morning Glory at Stonecrest Manor

Morning glories that took a beating during the heat of summer seem to get a second wind,
then twist and turn up to the very tops of their insufficient trellising.

Morning Glories in Fall in Zone 6 at Stonecrest Manor

Colors I don't remember planting pop up and mock the idea that fall is for orange, gold and red.
Seedpods replace flowers, fruit ripens with haste and flowers are rushing to show off before frost.

Morning Glory and Hyacinth Bean at Stonecrest Manor
Hyacinth Bean Seedpods

The fig trees won't produce anything edible this year, but OH how they are trying!
In only their second year, my two fig trees shot up in spring and by late summer had multiple figs on every branch.

Fig Tree in Zone 6 at Stonecrest Manor

In other surprises, we have corn. One ear. One stalk. Blown in from some wayward farm, and goodness knows how it was pollinated, 
but surprise! One happy ear of corn will be ready to harvest soon!

Sweet Corn in Zone 6 at Stonecrest Manor

While the second bloom surprises of fall might not rival the intense awakening of spring, it is beautiful nonetheless. 
This week, I also received my review copy of Second Bloom and while the parallel might be cheesy, a parallel there was. 

Second Bloom by Cathy Graham Art of the Table

You see, typically when review books come in the mail, they are shrink wrapped and sent with a short info sheet. Sometimes the sheet is crumpled up around the bottom of the book during shipping and sometimes the book itself has been twisted and squished. Sometimes the print is slightly off center - things happen. These books are not for sale - they are for review. So imagine my surprise when THIS review book comes in a box.

Not just any box....a gift box with hand-drawn illustrations and attached feathers, pearls and other baubles.

Inside there was more...

Second Bloom by Cathy Graham Art of the Table

More hand-drawn illustrations on a journal...

Second Bloom by Cathy Graham Art of the Table

...and the book itself was even wrapped in matching hand-illustrated tissue paper.

I thought perhaps Vendome had just upped its marketing budget by leaps and bounds, but it turns out that THIS is who Cathy Graham is. 
This extravagance of art, the creativity lavished upon strangers - THIS is Cathy Graham.

Second Bloom by Cathy Graham Art of the Table

The book itself gives a glimpse inside of Cathy's world and it is a beautiful world indeed. Cathy hosts parties, REAL parties with hand-illustrated invitations, complete with little baubles attached to entice and delight (sound familiar?). She manages each detail of the party with care and creativity, highlighting the best of the garden in individual little bottles she has collected. Each table has a sense of whimsy, as not to take itself too seriously. Case in point, the miniature toy 'rat poison' box Cathy likes to include amid other surprises on her tables.

Second Bloom by Cathy Graham Art of the Table
See the toy truck?

Without doubt, both my second blooming fall garden and Cathy's new book were a delight and surprise this autumn. Both brought great joy and inspiration, and I am totally on the lookout for eccentric miniatures to liven up my fall gatherings of hyacinth bean, mums and baby figs.

Second Bloom by Cathy Graham Art of the Table

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