Rosemary Krill shares her observations of the Winterthur Garden in late-August:
By mid to late-August, I look for the first signs of autumn weather, signaling the end of summer heat and humidity, But this year, high summer stayed with us. The moist heat seemed endless, the cicadas ‘roared,’ and the still ‘greenness’ of the Winterthur Garden was its dominant characteristic. At least that’s what I saw last Sunday.
It always seems a few degrees cooler in the shade of the tulips and oaks. The fact that the color is all green helps. I really enjoy seeing the forests of ferns. There are two spots that I particularly enjoy.
One fern forest is where the walk uphill from the Visitor Center goes under the road overpass. Immediately on the right is a square of earth, bounded by two stone walls and two paths. It’s knee deep in ferns. In the spring, it’s barren. Then little ‘noses’ of fern curl out of the dried leaves. Now in August, it is still summer-lush, although there are a few browned fronds. I have to rely on these to know that autumn is coming, because the temperature certainly isn’t telling me!
This fern forest continues on the right side, joined by a late blooming hosta with large white flowers. On the left, near the Mushroom Seat, the hostas take over, and their sweet scent, which reminds me a bit of lily of the valley, can be captured even on a quick walk-by.
The second fern vista that I enjoy is what I think of as “Fern Valley,” a name from an animated film of chubby, lovable dinosaurs, decades old now. “Fern Valley” is formed by the small stream between the March Walk and the hill opposite, leading to the magnolias. Both sides of the stream are lined with fern, so that the stream itself disappears. The humidity sits in the valley, the cicadas sound menacing, and if I squint my eyes, I can almost see those little dinosaurs running to avoid the swooping pterodactyl. But I know they’ll be safe and enchanted, like most things in the Garden!