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Glorious Midsouth Fall Puts Spring into Holiday Preparations

A sunny, mild autumn in the Memphis area has made the outdoors a colorful place to relax before the holiday rush begins.

Amanda Tong is in Overton Park with Bailey, her dog. He's playing in a pile of leaves.

"It is a beautiful day," she says. "We love coming out here to get fresh air. You can see Bailey jumping around, she is excited to go to the dog park."

She says it's an amazing time to take a walk in the park and appreciate the fall weather. Her friend, Brooke Happ, agrees.

"We wanted to do something outside, so the weather is perfect, the leaves are beautiful, the trees are beautiful," she says. "It's just a great time to be outside."

This autumn comes after more than a year under the cloud of the pandemic. Tong says fall brought a welcome change.

"Yeah, especially after the hot, humid summers in Memphis," she says. "This is when we come out. We love it."

In the meantime, the pandemic seems far away in wide open outdoor spaces like the Memphis Botanic Garden, where assistant executive director Mary Helen Butler recently showed me some of the seasonal highlights.

"Fall is a great time to be out at the Botanic Garden," she says. "I saw a quote the other day that said 'fall is nature's second spring, where every leaf's a flower.' If you think about it that way, just walking around, you can see so many colors. I mean it's a rainbow of colors with all of the beautiful trees changing."

Butler says fall appears in different forms and colors throughout the garden.

"The Asian garden, which features our collection of Japanese Maple, so if you can imagine all of the beautiful shades of red, it's really a pretty place to be," she says. "Our arboretum is our largest concentration of trees, so that's a great place to walk through and see everything from the tulip poplar, the walnut, all of these beautiful trees that have fall color."

But now is the time, Butler says, to take in the foliage. A few weeks of fall still remain before all that's left of the season are bare branches and pumpkin spice lattes.

Alana Canady interns for WKNO and the University of Memphis' Institute for Public Service Reporting.