Autumn brings spectacular change in the garden. I forget this every year as summer wanes in September, and I mourn the season end knowing it could be many months before warm weather returns. It seems that there is always one storm in September that reminds us summer can be a brief guest. Then things begin to get autumnal. Despite the return of rain, we nearly always get a string of sunny days partnered with warm light, crisp air and changing colors. Once you accept the loss of summer, you are reminded that autumn is a captivating season in Pacific Northwest gardens. Our gardens go out with a bang – nature’s firework finale. Finally we can embrace and celebrate the decay as we know the slumber is near and no need to primp and plump fading perennials. The Katsuras are the first to go in my garden turning from bright gold to apricot. Fallen leaves smell like sugar and I leave them as long as possible to enjoy the fragrance. They mark either side of my drive with a welcoming glow, even under cloudy skies. More fireworks to come in November with the maples, something else to look forward to in the garden as we move closer to winter.