Autumn unfolds

I started to show you pictures of fall color on September 11; it’s six weeks later and our local trees are just reaching their peak. The sugar maples (orange) and hickories (yellow) are particularly beautiful this year. I’m not fortunate enough to have either–the soil is wrong for them in this part of Glen Rock–but I do have dogwoods, Virginia creeper, and lots of native perennials that show lovely fall color. So here’s what’s happening in my garden now.

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Virginia creeper ranges in color from a delicate peach to the deepest Bordeaux. And sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa), a ridiculously easy-to-grow native plant with bright, bright yellow flowers in early summer, puts on a second show in fall, when its foliage becomes speckled with red.

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Thoreau sketched the beautiful arrangement of milkweed seeds in their pods. It’s fascinating to watch the clusters of seeds slowly unfold as the wind teases them apart. This fascinating process is happening in my garden right now. Sometimes I watch and forget to collect the seeds.

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And finally, about 20 years ago we planted five everbearing raspberry canes from Burpee, because we love raspberries. When my now grown-up sons come home to visit, they still go outside to look for raspberries. Although the canes are crowded by perennials on one side and the mini-forest on the other, they continue to produce fruit every year. The catbirds in particular adore them, and in fall, when they’ve left for the season, we manage to eat a few raspberries ourselves.

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A little hint of early summer in the middle of fall (complete with fruit fly). And notice the Rudbeckia seedheads on the left.

It’s not too late to put in some raspberries. You could be enjoying your own crop next year.

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