Sunday, November 3, 2013

Musings on Fall Drama


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!

This butterfly weed is still waiting for some monarchs. Meanwhile, the aphids are moving in.

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.


  1. First, let me say how much I love your header photo--gorgeous! You may not have been happy with your Black-eyes Susan vine, but I think it looks great. I planted one in a hanging pot this year, but it looked nothing like this! Of course, my forgetfulness in watering it may have had something to do with it:) Love that twist-leaf yucca and the butterfly weed, too.

    The Ladybird Johnson Center is a place I'd love to visit. My daughter lives in Dallas now, so I thought perhaps on one of my visits I could make a little side trip there. Then I looked at the map more carefully--gosh, Texas is big! Going to Austin wouldn't be a little afternoon jaunt, after all:)

    1. Ha, Rose, Austin is definitely more of a drive from Dallas than you would think. It's a 7-hour drive for me from north Louisiana. Everything's big in Texas!

  2. I LOVE your fall garden! And thanks for the ID on the wild arugula! Also, I leave the coneflower and other seed heads, too, since I've since the finches and sparrows go after them. Your garden is really so beautiful; I hope I can visit it someday.

    1. Linda, you're welcome to visit my garden anytime! If you ever find yourself traveling through Louisiana on I-20, I'm a short, easy drive from it. No excuses!

  3. Wow, just gorgeous! The Rose, the Muhly Grass, the Milkweed, the back porch view--what a wonderful November garden!

  4. It's nice to get a tour of your garden again, Jean. It looks lovely in the fall. Yes, we dream all year of those crisp autumn days, don't we?


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