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Skeleton Flowers

November is the month when flower gardeners who have not yet cut down all of their herbaceous plants may still find a few specimens in the garden for dried bouquets.

The skeletons of Queen Anne's Lace, the brown centers of cone flowers, the plumes of grasses and few berries may still be harvested. These can be added to the flowers already hung to dry: blue salvia, hydrangeas, celosia and globe amaranth.

As we arrange the skeletons of summer's bounty, we look back, but we also look forward to next year's growing season. In autumn we are poised between the flowers just past and the ones yet to come.

Clive Sansom captured the transitional mood when he wrote:

Now the world changes; woods burn red to brown;

Winds fan their agitated colors now;

And soon the torn tree-papers flaring down

Will leave the burnt-out trunk and blackened bough.

There is an autumn of the spirit too,

A death of self, a change of coloring,

Leaving a barrenness where once thoughts grew,

A sapless branch that dumbly waits for spring.

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