SMITH COLUMN: Awaiting October

Published 11:00 am Friday, September 17, 2021

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Last weekend was such a pleasant weekend. First, the weather was so delightful — early fall weather, which, unfortunately, could be an anomaly.  A burdensome hot spell has often been linked to past Septembers. Maybe we will get a break this year.

In a fortnight, it will be October, the most emotionally rewarding month of the year. April, with its floral splendor, is a favorite month, but the fourth month of the year brings about a flood of pollen which is my sworn enemy.  I can’t enjoy the dogwoods and the azaleas without pain and suffering, although last year I got by with a pill that seems to make a difference.

Even when pollen does not compromise and complicate my life, April is subordinated to October when it comes to favorite months. Fall color is something we look forward to with the greatest of anticipation. You can find splendorous foliage out west. You can find it in New England, which most rank as the best in America, but you can also find it in North Georgia:  Blairsville, Hiawassee, Brasstown Bald and in many cases, your own back yard. Or, your neighbor’s.

With the abundant rain we have had this year, I have been wondering what the prospects are for inviting leaf color that might take place in late October when fall color usually peaks in Georgia. I reached out to Walter Reeves, Georgia’s Gardener, for an expert opinion. He said it better than a professor of landscaping: “Warm days and clear, cool nights and dry weather are best. Warm, sunny days in early fall keep photosynthesis going and make ample chlorophyll in the leaves to begin with. When the nights get cool, chlorophyll breaks down revealing red, orange and yellow colors.” This means that the rain showers we have had this summer should go away. We have about six weeks left before our peak color usually comes about.

Naturally, I am hoping for best results. Irregardless (that is now considered an acceptable word), there are options to renew such as fly fishing for a rainbow on the Chattahoochee and visiting the various North Georgia communities which organize a festival of some type on an annual basis.  Gold Rush Days in Dahlonega, Apple Festival in Ellijay, Moonshine Festival in Dawsonville, Sorghum Festival in Blairsville, Georgia Mountain Festival in Hiawassee and Octoberfest in Helen.

With Georgia enjoying a robust start in football, one can combine an attachment to the Dawgs and the best of the fall in North Georgia, a doubling of your pleasure.

Soon there will be a need for firewood. C’mon October. I’m ready for you.