Well mingled with these more delicate plants should be those hardy perennials that lift their gallant little heads and smile in the very teeth of winter. The hardy Chrysanthemum, the Marigold, and Calendula are a delight in the late autumn, with their cheery tints. The Salvia, less hardy, is the glory of a September garden, and many another flower, with a little shelter at night, will make a walk gay and cheerful that would otherwise be gloomy with decay and desolation. The Japanese Anemone is a treasure at this season, and those bushes bearing ornamental fruit, which hangs on even amid the snows of winter, should never be omitted from a border.
Like a happy temper in adversity is a gleam of color in the garden in the late autumn. One draws a lesson of good cheer from a Calendula, so undaunted and gay even when the snows are falling on its golden head. A cluster of red berries on a dry stem gives a distinct joy in early winter, and life is made brighter by the aspect of hardy blossoms and hardier fruit when all the trees around are stripped of foliage.
In summer the charm of a garden is in its coolness and shade, in the dark shelter of thick trees and the quiet of a shaded arbor. In the autumn we seek the sunshine and desire color and warmth, wishing to forget the coming cold and the swift fading of leaf and flower.
It is like the natural clinging of man to life which increases as years steal upon him. Youth does not dread death as age shrinks from it. The habit of living becomes stronger as we descend the hill, and the suggestion of interruption seems impertinent. The late scentless flowers are more precious than the summer Roses, for their time will soon be gone. Nature cheats us with her autumn splendor, which beguiles the mind into forgetting that it is the precursor of decay. While we admire the glory of a Maple grove, we do not realize that the storms of winter are gathering behind the forest. When the mountains are purple in the low sunlight, we forget the snows that shall soon whiten their summits, and there is wisdom in this natural instinct that forbids foreboding when joy is at hand, which can enjoy the present without seeking to lift the curtain of the future.
Let us rejoice, then, in the autumn flow-ers; in the soft atmosphere that clothes the world with beauty; in the great moon's yellow light; in the round, soft clouds, and the wild scurry of the dun rack that scuds across the heavens when the breeze rises. Full soon will that searching wind scatter the jewel-like leaves, and tear the last petal from the shrinking flowers, while the grass grows brown and sear, and the soft earth stiffens, like a body from which life has departed. Too soon will the valiant head of the last Daisy be buried in a mantle of snow, and the leaden sky bend low above a frozen earth. Let us be glad then while we may, for the days shorten, and with them our summer joys, and the lives of the autumn flowers.