Friday, September 23, 2011


I love how Titian tresses are transformed
into autumn leaves in this painting.

The autumn equinox occurred in the central time zone at about 4:00 this  morning. It was a day observed by my ancestors, the ancient Celts. These days it is often called Mabon by neopagans and Wiccans. However, the name Mabon is a modern invention. The Druids called the occasion Alban Elfed.

Be that as it may, it was a harvest festival for the ancients and remains so for us moderns. For this post, I'll go with the name Mabon, especially since I found most of these lovely artistic interpretations of the autumn equinox by Googling "Mabon".  Unfortunately, hardly any of them were credited.

This harvest goddess is also a
dryad, for her gown becomes
the roots of a tree.

The wheel of the year has certainly turned here. It has frozen twice already, once on the 14th and again on the 21st. Each time, I scrounged as many sheets, blankets, comforters, tablecloths and towels as I could find and covered my annuals, both those in pots and those planted in the ground. Ultimately there will come an evening when frost is forecast and I will have to let them go, but not for now.  Because we are experiencing a
delightful Indian Summer that promises to last into early October,  I feel compelled to water, sustain and protect my annuals from Jack Frost.
This is the time for me to purchase pots of yellow and purple mums and also to get more pansies. I buy pansies in the spring, but they always peter out by July, so I jumped at the chance to purchase some of these cool-weather-loving plants at Lowe's for just $3.33 a pot. In yellow and purple tones, they really compliment the mums, as well as the purple scaevola and orange marigolds that are still going strong.

Celts and moderns alike, we all pray
for such abundant harvests as this.

My tulip and daffodil order has arrived, but I am waiting just a bit longer to plant them. About 2 months ago I covered strips of lawn by my front-yard fence with landscape fabric. The grass under the fabric is now yellow, and in a couple of weeks it will be so easy to rototill and amend this ground. In six months or so, it will be awash with spring-flowering bulbs, as well as tiger lilies, a few Martagon lilies (new to me and still on order), and a few more daylilies I couldn't resist (one can never have too many daylilies.)

This year, for the first time, I am planting perennials in the fall. I'm trusting our local nurserymen who say it is okay to do so. I've already planted Black-Eyed Susans (rudbeckia), Carpathian bellflowers, liatris and phlox. Still waiting to be planted are peach-leaved bellflowers (platycodon) and sedum Autumn Joy.

I mentioned that there will be a time when it really isn't feasible to cover my annuals anymore. When they freeze, I will mourn them. But then a sea change will take place in me. Instead of dreading autumn, I will embrace it, buying and setting out pumpkins, picking sprays of maple leaves and seeking out the hidden haunts of bittersweet.

I have always resisted autumn, way back to the days of my childhood when fall meant going back to school. As much as I loved school, I loved summer vacations more. The first sight of wild asters and goldenrod always put me in a melancholy mood. That is why, to this day, I have never have planted either plant in my gardens.

"Mabon" by Elli Mader

Here we see a corn dolly made from
the stalks of wheat. Traditional
corn dollies are much smaller!

"Mabon Demeter" by Wendy Andrew, reminding us of
Persephone, who spends one-half the year underground.

Pumpkins and gourds are Mabon
harvest symbols worldwide.

At the equinox, day and night and
the seasons are in equal balance.

"Mabon" by Rosie Lauren Smith

This painting embraces all the rich browns,
yellows and oranges of autumn.

"Mabon Sleeping Goddess"
(She sleeps to awaken in the spring!)


Maggid said...

Wow! So much - This post is abundant with color and love.
thank you, thank you and Happy Fall!
love & love,

Leanne said...

wonderful art as always Julie! I love your autumn planting plans, its really good to see you planning and excited by your garden again! i too have many bulbs to plant, and plans afoot, i wish i could stretch time a little to fit everything in!

thankyou for the e-card for my birthday- lovely!

Leanne x

Robin Larkspur said...

Mabon blessings to you!!! Gorgeous post, love all the graphics! Your garden next spring and summer will be amazing. I am waiting for my spring bulb order to arrive any day now. We have not had a frost here yet (zone 5, central new york) but very soon I am sure. I am like you embracing autumn with pumpkins and mums, but I am afraid I have already started letting go of the annuals; they are tired. Enjoy the season!

Kath said...

Lovely post Julie and wonderful illustrations. My bday is very soon and autumn has always been my favourite season.
Here in Glastonbury the shop windows are decorated for the season and leaves are turning bronze.
Lovely to hear about your garden!

Anonymous said...

Great post! The artwork is BEAUTIFUL!! I'm looking forward to more posts!

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(¸.•´ (¸.•`*SANDI