We finally had a killing frost Monday night, so I spent a few hours in the garden yesterday doing tasks that could not be put off any longer. At the end of the afternoon I was carrying a big bag of garden debris in one hand and a large gathering basket in the other.
It was still so beautiful outdoors that I took the long way through the garden on my way to deal with my two big items. My path took me through the Secret Garden where the stepping stone walkway winds under the trailing branches of a Weeping Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonica).
Our long warm fall meant that a number of the leaves on our Katsura tree turned a traditional warm, honeyed gold. Most years this doesn't happen because it's too rainy and cool.
As I ducked under the tree the sun was shining on it making it glow. Carrying my awkward load, I knocked into the weeping branches which unexpectedly released the subtle cotton-candy fragrance for which the tree is famed in Japan.
I bent down to pick up this decorative leaf, but with both hands full I stuck the stem between my teeth. It's a trick worth remembering as I was able to inhale the leaf's sweet fragrance for the remainder of my journey.