Garden Diary - September 2019

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The First Day of Autumn, the Autumnal Equinox
Monday, 23 September 2019

It's complicated. There's the astronomical definition wherein the autumnal equinox marks the first day of the fall season - at least in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere it marks the first day of spring. But wait, it is even more confusing than that. The meteorological definition, based on the Gregorian calendar, has the fall season beginning more than three weeks ago, on September 1st.

Let's go with the equinox. The sun rises later in the morning and nightfall comes earlier. This progression continues, lengthening the night and shortening the day until the winter solstice about December 21st when - here in New Jersey - there will be just nine hours, 15 minutes of daylight. Each day then ingrementally lengthens until the summer solstice around June 21 when the day will last for a glorious 15 hours, 6 minutes.

Do not expect that with the autumnal equinox temperatures will suddenly drop, flannel shirts are retreived from the closet, and I will once again be building fires in the wood burning stove. Today's high temperature was 90 degrees Fahrenheit. We had the air conditioning on.

But there are signs and portents.

The autumn crocus, so called, are again in bloom. Proper name is Colchicum autumnale

Italian blue plums are again available in the market.
A brief but very welcome indicator of autumn season.

And pumpkins and gourds in diverse array are also for sale in the stores.

The seasons turn. The northern hemisphere of the earth tilts away from the sun.
Temperatures will drop. The fall of the year, its descent into winter.

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