Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fall Moves In

One of the things I like about Georgia is the extended warm season. Summer flowers continue past the official date of fall and fall flowers take us to almost winter. Yet natural signs of fall show up even with the flowers, many of them triggered by clues other than daytime temperature: crunchy leaves on the sidewalk, ripening seeds falling to the ground or puffing away on the wind.

Rhus copallinum, winged sumac

This week I noticed some of the signs that fall is moving in and realized I’d better appreciate this transitional moment while it’s here.

Some of the things that are leaving - leaves are dropping fast from the tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera) while the milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) seeds are taking flight.
Liriodendron tulipifera

Asclepias tuberosa

Symphyotrichum racemosum

And some of the new things like pink muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) with a tiny white aster (Symphyotrichum racemosum) growing up through the base of it. Across the driveway, a seedling aster has sprouted.

Muhlenbergia capillaris

I can't believe I forgot to include this gorgeous blue fall flower in last week's post on fall flowers. Common names include blue mistflower and hardy ageratum, and I suspect that Conoclinium coelestinum has been a favorite pass-along plant since settlers first arrived. Adaptable and hardy and a bit enthusiastic, it makes a great spreader, especially in moist ditches.

Conoclinium coelestinum

Conoclinium coelestinum

Female bees are still collecting nectar and pollen this time of year and plants like the blue mistflower are important sources. Here is a picture of one coming in for a landing; notice the fat collections of pollen on her leg.

Clusters of berries await birds and other critters to discover them. I enjoyed watching a female cardinal eat some of the bright berries from the hearts a bustin' (Euonymus americanus) a few weeks ago.

Callicarpa americana

These white and purple beautyberries (Callicarpa americana) are ready for birds like mockingbirds and catbirds to find them.

And it wouldn't be October without something bright and orange, would it? These outrageously colored mushrooms caught my eye the other day on my walk. There was no way I could miss them. Enjoy fall at your place and be sure to notice the amazing natural world around you.


  1. I can always count on your blog to introduce me to new native plants.. Thabks for sharing your must have an amazing garden!

  2. I love floss flower. I have floss flower and swamp sunflower together in a corner of my yard and both together seem to GLOW in the afternoon light. A great part of autumn.

  3. The mistflower that I got at the GNPS spring sale is going strong. And, I forgot to include it in my bloom post too along with the white beautyberry.