Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October's Wildflowers


Even though we've had several hard freezes, there are still some blooms hanging on, and the fall colors are something to enjoy.  A few days ago, we had very high winds, and I was amazed at how the plants held their own for the most part.

This post is for Gail's Wildflower Wednesday, and as I frequently do, I'm putting my own spin on it, including some native foliage, and not just posting wildflowers.  I'm also posting a little early because I hope to visit some blogs this evening, and if they visit me back, I want a more current post.

I will start with the current star of the yard.  I am pleased that the New England asters, or "former asters", as Gail points out, have seeded themselves around a bit.  The ones by the sidewalk usually have problems with brown lower stems, but I cut them back in the spring, and that seems to help prevent or delay it.  When the sun is out, these plants are loaded with different kinds of bees and painted lady butterflies.  Can you see the honeybee on the right?  The bigger dried leaves are common milkweed.


The Mexican hats are still blooming.  I hope some come up from seed next year.



The asters on the right are not native ones.  I recently figured out what kind they are, but am not remembering right now.  I put this photo in to show the native switchgrass that I want to take some divisions of to other spots in the spring.  It is being crowded right now.


I am enjoying the little bluestem grasses that are in several spots.  They have gotten to be a nice size, and I love the fall color change.  The next photo will show a closer shot of the Riddell's Goldenrod, which was the last to bloom.


I'm thinking the bloom time was shorter than the other goldenrods.  I'm kind of liking all the puffiness.


There are several plants, including this liatris that have put a few new blooms out, even though the rest of the flowers have gone to seed.


I usually show the amsonia hubrichtii on the east side of the house, which is quite spectacular now, but I'm putting this one in to show the Indian Grass on the right of it.  There is also one on the other side of the bicycle, to the left of where the photo ends.  I just planted them a couple weeks ago, and am concerned about them, because I only remembered to water them for a few days.  We have had a couple rain showers, and I am now watering them, but they are pretty brown.  I hope they are still alive.


I frequently show the mountain mints.  I'm not sure what kind this one is, because I don't remember whether I planted it, or if it planted itself.


I mentioned in my last WW post that the short toothed mountain mint looks good all season.  See?  I'm glad the baptisia behind it did not get eaten by the caterpillars the one down the way did.


The Joe Pye Weed is almost finished blooming, and I see the foliage has turned a darker color, but it is still quite a large presence in the yard.


I hope you aren't tired of the wild quinine.  It's another one with a long season of interest.


The golden alexander foliage is redder than last month.  Larry cut off the seeds from the plant that they were on, so I hope the plants come back next year.  I have read that they are short lived, but will reseed.  Next year, I'll leave more flowers on to go to seed.


The rigid goldenrod has fall colors, and puffy seedheads.  I see there is new green growth at the base.


Here's a closer view of the seedheads.


I'm glad I planted gray headed coneflowers before hearing a woman at our local nature center say they shouldn't be planted in small yards.  They have had a good, long season, and most are still blooming nicely.  Others are finished, but still provide structure for the garden.


I'm pretty sure this is thick spiked blazing star, one of the several kinds of liatris in the yard.


Some birds have been enjoying the beautyberries.


The two wild sennas I planted last year had those pretty clusters of yellow blooms this year, and now have some cool looking seed pods.  I will admit that I took some off before they could ripen, hoping for fewer to have to pull out or find homes for next year.


I was pleased to see this painted lady butterfly on one of my clumps of a native plant called pussytoes the other day.  It didn't bloom this year.  I hope it does next year, but if it doesn't, I still like the foliage.



We are having some mild days to enjoy.  I have been watering the most recently planted things with water from the rain barrels, which need to be empty before winter.  Larry and I raked some leaves out of the street and a bit from a couple neighbor's yards and put them on the vegetable garden across the street.  It was Larry's idea to put them there instead of on a compost pile, like we usually do.  I hope they stay put and are easy to incorporate into the soil next spring.

I am excited for spring to get here, to see if the native flower seeds I planted sprout.  The penstemon looks like it's coming up already.  I hope it is OK.  I had read the seeds need the cold winter temps in order to sprout.  I am hoping for some new flowers to show for next year's Wildflower Wednesdays.

33 comments:

  1. Are the grey headed coneflowers Ratibida pinnata, and why shouldn't they be planted in small yards? If so, guess I'm in trouble, because I just planted six. I suspect half my plants shouldn't be in small yards, but I like them anyway.

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    1. Yes, Jason, that's what they are. I'm thinking she said that because of the size of the plants, and not because they self sow. I had gotten there late because I had come from our grandson's soccer game, and when I mentioned that I have some, she just looked at me, and I don't think she explained why. I have some other plants that are probably too large for the size of our yard, too. Well, that's OK, as long as we enjoy them.

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  2. Your garden must be a haven for wildlife! We just watched a program on public TV tonight about songbirds, and how some gardens--especially in cities and towns--can be lifesavers for migratory birds. It made me even more committed to being diligent in keeping the feeders full of seed.

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    1. PP, we recently got some seeds, but haven't gotten them into the feeders yet. Speaking of wildlife, I wouldn't mind the rabbits so much if they didn't eat plants to the ground. I am very unhappy right now, because one figured out a way to get into my vegetable garden, and is eating the fall crop of lettuce that's almost half grown.

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  4. That is a lot of native plants. They are so nice. I am glad to hear you like the wild quinine. It is very nice and a new addition to my garden. That mountain mint is nice too. Love the silver color.

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    1. Tina, I had never heard of wild quinine until a couple years ago. I am sure glad I discovered it. It grows pretty straight up, and does not demand a lot of space. Plus, it looks good all season.

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  5. I'm sure the birds are enjoying all the seedheads in your garden. This is the first year I've allowed everything to seed and I'm always surprised by the finches and chickadees that are enjoying them.

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    1. Sue, I've seen more birds eating this year than usual, but I still don't see them as often as I'd like to. I can tell from some of the seedheads that birds have been eating from them, though. I want to learn which ones they do actually eat.

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  6. So many of your plants look great dry. They have good structure. A butterfly! What a treat this time of year.

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    1. Thanks, GOSS, I do like looking out at the plants, even when I can't go out. I have been seeing bees and a few butterflies still. I probably won't be for long, though.

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  7. I'm so glad you included the foliage in this post, Sue. I don't have either little bluestem or golden Alexanders, and I didn't realize they had such pretty fall color--the bluestem is brilliant! I'm also sitting here envying your gray-headed coneflowers--I have tried and tried to start these from seed with no luck. Maybe next year I can find an actual seedling instead.

    I usually dump some of my leaves on the vegetable garden each year; as long as we have some decent rain, they usually don't blow away--easier than carting them to the compost pile.

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    1. Rose, I hope you find some gray headed coneflower plants. Now that I think about it, I've had some in the back yard for a number of years, and I don't think I've had any self sow. I wonder why.

      Thanks for the tip on the leaves. I glanced over there today, and it looked like they were all still there. It has been drizzling today, and is supposed to rain tonight, so that should take care of them.

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  8. Hi Sue, the goldenrod and asters look great. Isn't the little bluestem awesome in its color now? I was surprised to see your grey headed coneflowers still blooming - mine have been done for quite some time now. We are heading up to Seed Savers this wknd - looking forward to it.
    Beth

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    1. Thanks, Beth, I actually did not used to like grasses very well. I am glad that my interest in plants has expanded. For some reason, some of the gray headed coneflowers are still blooming, while the others are finished.

      Where is Seed Savers? What a fun trip!

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  9. It's amazing how much beauty you can find in your fading fall garden if you really look. Lovely!

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  10. Sue, your garden has so much fall interest. I love the beauty berry and so many of the other plants I have never seen before. I've been cutting down our garden the past few weeks, leaving some stuff standing, but since we had such a dry summer, most plants just look exhausted. My garden looks so bare now, I was happy to see yours, it lifts my spirits again!

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  11. Love the native wildflowers in your garden! I am also combining natives with my perennial garden.

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  12. You have some wonderful natives, Sue! I love the Mexican hat! New England asters are such a pretty color. Those should be the next asters that come to live in our garden.

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  13. Sue, I love your header photo. Do people stop as they walk and drive by to take a longer look? I would, your garden is brilliant this fall! Filled with lovely beauties. Happy WW and I am so glad you put your own spin on WW! xogail

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  14. Sue, your posts and photos are always so interesting. The moutain mint looks amazing and the looks of the thick spiced blazing star made me smile. Question for you. P3 brought me some milkweed seeds from plants growing in a field next to his house. Can I plant them? If yes, when? Now or in spring? Made me so happy that he gathered the seeds and brought them to me. Asking you these questions becaue you are my Milkweed Super Hero!

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    1. Hi Donna,
      That was sweet of him to bring you milkweed seeds. My common milkweed plants came up on their own. I don't know where the seeds came from. I think you should plant some of them in the fall, and some in the spring, unless you get better information than I am giving you. I don't know if they need the cold winter to germinate or not. I did plant some seeds across the street one fall, and they did not come up. It could be because nothing else grows in that area, either, except for a few lambsquarters. I don't remember now how I got ahold of the seed pods, because I cut the pods off of my plants so the neighbors won't end up with unwanted milkweed in their yards.

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  15. Sue, your posts and photos are always so interesting. The moutain mint looks amazing and the looks of the thick spiced blazing star made me smile. Question for you. P3 brought me some milkweed seeds from plants growing in a field next to his house. Can I plant them? If yes, when? Now or in spring? Made me so happy that he gathered the seeds and brought them to me. Asking you these questions becaue you are my Milkweed Super Hero!

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    1. Thanks, Donna,
      I answered your question on your blog, since I don't know if you subscribed to the follow up comments. I think I said to plant some in the fall, and also some in the spring to see if they will come up.

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  16. Sue, your posts and photos are always so interesting. The moutain mint looks amazing and the looks of the thick spiced blazing star made me smile. Question for you. P3 brought me some milkweed seeds from plants growing in a field next to his house. Can I plant them? If yes, when? Now or in spring? Made me so happy that he gathered the seeds and brought them to me. Asking you these questions becaue you are my Milkweed Super Hero!

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  17. Sue, your posts and photos are always so interesting. The moutain mint looks amazing and the looks of the thick spiced blazing star made me smile. Question for you. P3 brought me some milkweed seeds from plants growing in a field next to his house. Can I plant them? If yes, when? Now or in spring? Made me so happy that he gathered the seeds and brought them to me. Asking you these questions becaue you are my Milkweed Super Hero!

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  18. Hard to believe you have that much still going on in your garden when you've had some freezes already. You've had a great year!

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    1. Yes, Jayne, I'm really enjoying the colors of the foliage and flowers that are blooming. I don't get to spend as much time gardening as I'd like, but I am finding time for some yard walks. I did get to water plants from the front rain barrel today, because I need to be getting it emptied.

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  19. There's lots in your garden for the gardener and the wildlife to enjoy. Both the New England asters and the others are looking fabulous, so full of colours. The bluestem grass not only has a nice red colour, but the shape is attractive, too, the centre blades so tall and straight, while the shorter surrounding ones form a fountain.

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    1. Thanks, Northern Shade,
      I am glad I am expanding my tastes in plants to include grasses. I like both the shape and color of the little bluestem, too.

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  20. We seem to be much farther along than you...several hard frosts have ended the season here...the plants in the native prairie are still beautiful with their brown and rust seed heads blowing in the wind.

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