Saturday, October 24, 2015

Indian Summer 2015

I’ve always insisted that, by definition, Indian Summer must follow the first frost. In previous years I’ve argued with other gardeners, “This can’t be it; we haven’t had a frost!” But this year, Mother Nature reminded me that temperature, like rain, does not respect human boundaries.

In the Montclair/Glen Ridge area, we’ve not had a frost yet this autumn. The temperature may have dipped to the low 30s, but it never made it to 320. My tomato plants still have some green leaves—and green tomatoes that will never ripen too.

We were able to fit a day in Sussex into this week’s schedule.
Can't see the foliage colors, but what a sunrise!
What a glorious day Wednesday was! Temperature in the 70s, warm sunshine, and the hills a rolling patchwork of reds, oranges and ambers; a perfect Indian Summer day. And in Sussex, it was Indian Summer. The stalks that were once tomato plants, as well as black leaves and burnt crisps of dahlias that had recently been bright pink, testified that in this part of New Jersey, there had, indeed been a frost.

So where had the frost ended?  Did it include Morris County? Had it crawled over hills to Parsippany? How about Verona and Caldwell? Did it only stop at First Mountain? I’ve noticed over years of observation that predicted rain sometimes goes around that mountain and spares Montclair. (Or during a drought, singles the town out for more parching.) Perhaps the frost also spared Eastern Essex thus far.

Thank goodness that Indian Summer is no respecter of that boundary! For here too, we have the lovely, temporary respite from cold—a teaser before Nature plunges us into a serious turn away from sunlight. It’s time to enjoy the fall fruits and pumpkin confections; to admire the colors and enjoy the crisp air; And it’s Mother Nature’s wake-up-call to dig the warm clothing out of storage before it’s too late.