Autumn is evident throughout my yard. Mums are bushes of blooms and trees are donning fall colors. My four-o-clocks are beginning to fade and as their summer beauty wanes, they cover the ground in seeds.  Jennifer and I sweep up masses of dark seeds and toss them into an almost bare flowerbed.

It is with a bit of remorse that I empty pots of spent flowers, repot others, and rearrange plants.  Ivies and other house plants move back into the house and perennials to the south facing front porch.    For several weeks fall decorations share the porch with my summer flowers, but as the summer begins to fade summer blooms give way to autumn mums.

Some people like to collect furniture and are continually moving and rearranging pieces to create different looks and inviting spaces.  I collect and move plants and flowers in much the same way.  Some of my plants are heirlooms – cuttings, bulbs and seeds that have been handed down from past generations.  Many others are gifts from friends and relatives.  Almost all of my plants – flowers, bushes, vines, and trees have a special connection to someone, so I treasure them and move them with care, not wanting to lose a single plant.

As I gathered the four-o-clock seeds and scattered them into the empty bed (annuals whose original seeds I gathered from blooms that flourished among the weeds in the remains of the old farmhouse that belonged to my husband’s grandparents), I thought about how much flowers were like friends.  I am so blessed to be surrounded by such a variety of friends and many of my friends remind me of the plants they have shared with me.

I have those heirloom friends who have been dear to me for decades and the longevity of their friendship is something to treasure.  Over the years I have made many summer friends whose presence lights up my life for a season bringing beauty and cheer like the sunny face of a summer annual.  Then scattered throughout there are dozens of friends who fill my life with color and beauty.  Some arrive only for a season but like spring bulbs you know they will return whenever spring rains fall.  Others are like autumn mums they bloom when the days grow shorter and the weather begins to turn.  I am blessed beyond measure for within every season of my life God has planted beauty in the form of friends.