This little garden is where the day begins and ends at my house. A little place apart: quiet, secret. Huge hedges of pink jasmine and star jasmine are just on the other side of the fence. They bloom in succession, twice a year - winter and spring. Their perfume washes through the house on a fragrant tide.
Although tiny by any standards, in my patio garden I grow elephant ears, a huge and magnificent hoya carnosa, and pink impatiens. I have begonias, orchids, a boston fern, and colorful coleus.
I have a Norfolk pine next to a red hibiscus and plumeria in full bloom. Sometimes I even find tangerines that have dropped over the fence from the neighbor's tree.
I have a morning glory vine that I am training to grow up the fence, using a fishing net as a trellis. Succulents are everywhere, even tucked in pots at the feet of other plants.
But even in this tiny world, I can sense that the seasons are changing. The earlier rampant, eager growth of vines and branches has slowed. The flowers are heavy, vibrant and full. Their blooms are richer, darker than in the thin light of spring.
A change is in the air.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are five seasons, including "Late Summer".
We have mornings now that are gray and foggy. By mid-day, the sky slowly clears; the sun is warm and the air is humid. It's late summer in Santa Barbara.
All of nature is preparing for energy's downward journey - a time to withdraw, a time to rest.