Fall is definitely here. We're having cool, clear days and chilly nights. I love it. It's what we southerners dream of in August.
The garden is changing in some dramatic ways and some subtle ways. One of the more dramatic things I've done this year is leave the coneflower blooms to go to seed for the birds. Many people do this but I've typically cut them off since I have so rarely seen any birds here go for them. Maybe it's the availability of bird seed I provide at the feeders. Regardless, one day a month or so ago I saw a chickadee on the coneflowers. That was it - the seed heads would stay. At least it's in an area where I don't see the messy stalks.
|View from back porch|
|A different view from the back porch|
These two photos from my back porch reveal some subtle shifts in the garden to me, though maybe not to you. Many plants are starting to go to rest, I can tell. And the big dramatic Mexican salvia that was taking up the whole square bed to the right has been given to a friend for her garden and the park she works at.
|Black-eyed Susan vine, Thunbergia alata|
The black-eyed Susan vine is on its last blooms, though I must say it is not very dramatic. Too much greenery, not enough blooms. Next year this spot will go back to the dramatically named "exotic love vine," Mina lobata.
|Wild arugula and honeybee|
The wild or Italian arugula is blooming like crazy. That means millions of baby plants next spring! :-/
|Fall aster, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium|
Last month I went to Austin for a visit and went to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center's semi-annual plant sale. Man, that's a great sale! I picked up way more plants than I intended, including three fall asters. My garden was in desperate need of some fall asters.
|Guapilla, Hechtia glomerata|
How about this pineapple relative I also picked up there, commonly called guapilla? I thought it was a little agave until I did some research. I think it's cute.
|Yucca rupicola 'Blue'|
I love twist-leaf yucca, especially this blue form. I'd like to put it into a prettier pot with some tan gravel. Some day.
|'Silky Deep Red' butterfly weed (Asclepias curassavica) covered with some pretty aphids!|
|Purple beautyberry, Callicarpa dichotoma 'Issai'|
The birds have eaten most of the beautyberries already. Now they're waiting for the Savannah holly berries to finish ripening.
|Muhlenbergia lindheimeri, Lindheimer's muhly grass|
Of course, not so subtle this time of year is the Lindheimer's muhly grass. It is a little too close to the 'Belinda's Dream' rose bush, so early in the spring when I cut the grass back, I'm going to move it. I gotta say, I am not looking forward to that. It will be a big job.
|Variegated frittilary butterfly on Mexican mint marigold, Tagetes lucida|
Fall is when I see the most butterflies, probably because I'm outdoors more then.
|Majesty shrub rose|
The roses are having their last fling with blooming. I love how velvety the blooms on the Majesty shrub rose are.
|Mystical Flame hydrangea|
The drama of fall - the creamy white blooms of Mystical Flame hydrangea are turning dark pink. Though I ripped out my 'Lady in Red' Hydrangea macrophylla because I tired of seeing wilted leaves (no reason to keep something that dramatic), this Hydrangea paniculata will be a keeper.
This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2013. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.