An October Garden

Zinnia flowers in the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

Zinnia flowers in the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

Water soaked through my jeans as I knelt to get a closer look at the marigolds. The scent of the flowers and the damp earth held the memory of summer. The butterflies had left the Butterfly Garden. It was the first Sunday in October.

A white-breasted nuthatch hurried up and down a tree at the corner of the garden. A family of northern cardinals ate berries in the bushes. One young cardinal watched me with a question in his eyes. Freshly bloomed and faded flowers, seed pods, and optimistic new buds filled the garden beds.

Walking back to my car, I passed a downy woodpecker intent on her explorations of the tree bark. A tiny ruby-crowned kinglet caught my eye as she darted from branch to branch.

I woke up in the early hours this morning to the sound of the wind rattling the windows. Light snow is falling now. The feels like temperature is 2 degrees. My mind is far away walking in the garden and watching my sister build a sand castle on a summer day. The flowers open their petals to the sunlight. The sand sparkles. It is warm beneath my feet.

A White-breasted Nuthatch in a tree at the entrance to the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

A White-breasted Nuthatch in a tree at the corner of the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

A young Northern Cardinal in the bushes bordering the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

A young Northern Cardinal in the bushes bordering the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

A young Northern Cardinal in the bushes bordering the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

A young Northern Cardinal in the bushes bordering the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

Zinnia flowers in the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

Zinnia flowers in the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

Marigold flowers in the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

Marigold flowers in the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

Zinnia flowers in the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

Zinnia flowers in the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

Flower beds in the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

Flower beds in the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

Flowers in the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

Flowers in the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

A Downy Woodpecker in a tree near the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

A Downy Woodpecker in a tree near the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

An Apple tree in the parking area of the Visitor's Center at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

An Apple tree near the Visitor’s Center at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

A Ruby-crowned Kinglet hiding in a tree in the parking area at the Visitor's Center at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

A Ruby-crowned Kinglet hiding in a tree near the Visitor’s Center at Saylorville Lake, Iowa, October 4, 2015.

My sister building a sand castle on a beach in Maine, 1966.

My sister building a sand castle on a beach in Maine, 1966.

My sister building a sand castle and me waiting to help on a beach in Maine, 1966.

My sister building a sand castle and me waiting to help on a beach in Maine, 1966.

The last two photos were taken by my Dad on a beach in Maine in 1966.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Sarah

ps. There will be two posts of butterfly photos in the next few months from visits to the Arboretum and the Butterfly Garden last September.

About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and story teller
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7 Responses to An October Garden

  1. Shady_Grady says:

    I like the zinnia flowers. The cardinal looks like it is posing for the camera.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Shady 🙂
      Thanks for visiting! I am happy you liked the zinnias. 🙂 They are very vibrant flowers. The cardinal does look like he was posing and about to say something. 🙂 I hope he made it through his first winter.

  2. zirah1 says:

    I especially liked the zinnias, the downy woodpecker, the nuthatch and you and your sister at the beach. Sweet!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Zirah 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kind thoughts! Zinnias are cheerful flowers and the butterflies love them. 🙂 I would plant them in a garden if I had one. The downy woodpeckers are intense little birds! The nuthatch was very busy. They are fun birds to watch. I have seen them hop along a tree branch to get where they are going quickly. I was thinking today how nice it would be to put my feet on warm sand. The photo of my sister and me at the beach is one of my favorites. 🙂

  3. What a lovely mix of memories and flowers. You got some good pics of the birds too. We have a very grey blue nuthatch here.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kind thoughts! It had rained overnight and everything was wet. It was cool and damp in the morning and the air smelled really good. I was happy to see so many flowers still blooming. I love watching the birds. 🙂 The nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, and cardinals all spend the winter here. The tiny ruby-crowned kinglet was migrating through. It took me a while looking in the bird book to give her (or him) a name. She didn’t want to be still in the open. I think I saw one of her family two years ago in the spring at the arboretum. It is a fun challenge to try and photograph the birds. Sometimes, I get lucky and I am in the right spot at the right time and they are close enough for the camera. 🙂 I think it is interesting to see how the birds are both similar and different around the planet.

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