Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall Part I

We are having a fair to middling fall here, in terms of color. Sandy's outlying winds stripped off leaves that had a tenuous hold and so half the leaves are gone without having had the chance to turn. It's been a few years since we had a truly dazzling fall.

Top: just inside the woods next to the open space between the old and current house sites.
Bottom left, sassafras. Bottom right, coastal pepperbush.

The total effect is one of muted warm colors. There is still a lot of green.

Sensitive fern on the forest floor.

I'm not complaining about not having the most spectacular fall ever though. Sandy went around us, only giving us a couple of gray windy rains and a little rain, and the ratio of comfortable golden days to gray wintry days has been at least 4:1. There is still a lot of beauty in the landscape. The overall effect is of warm muted color. Alternating with the brown twigs of spent Bidens are the bright yellow-green leaves of aging Seashore Mallow and purple berries and asters, punctuated by splashes of brilliance: a young pawpaw that surprised us this year by turning a vivid yellow, the witch hazel painted with orange and red, an old gold Amsonia, a bright orange young Musclewood, and blueberries that have turned crimson.

South of the big perennial bed, near the ditch, is an area that is still semi-wild. I've planted a few divisions of willowleaf aster and a number of woody plants here ~ a sweetbay grown from seed, a baby wild blueberry transplanted from our woods, a swamp cyrilla grown from seed, and a half a dozen Antique Rose Emporium swamp roses grown from cuttings ~ but those plantings are young and relatively small still.

Swamp sunflowers and Encore azaleas.

I suppose the Bidens may look like a mess, but pictures don't capture the sweet cotton candy fragrance from the drying stems on warm sunny days, or the small twittering flocks of goldfinches, chipping sparrows and field sparrows that feed on the seeds.

The neighbor's miniature horses.

Seedheads of Sugarcane Plumegrass.

The pawpaw turned a rich shade of orange/brown after the first frost. As you can guess,
this area is not part of the garden, but a wild area that's mowed with the tractor once a year.

Sometimes the tangles outside of the garden bug me, but the wildlife loves them. In summer the Indigo Buntings sing above the brambles and the bobwhite quail flutter and glide from hedgerow to hedgerow. The turkey hen and her babies must have moved on to another area of their territory, as I haven't seen them for a few weeks, but just the other day I saw a covey of quail fly across the old house site, numbering at least 15 if not more than 20.


  1. Besides all of your beautiful planned garden, it's great to have wild areas for the wild critters to enjoy. Sounds like you continue to have a variety of birds enjoying your land.
    Our trees have lost their leaves and we're ready for snow any time.

  2. Dear Sweetbay ~ I love your place any time of year. What a lovely, country drive you have to your sweet home too. The greens and browns are comforting somehow, I can't explain it.

    Glad you had no damages from Sandy.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

  3. We are not having the most colorful fall here either, but like you I still see beautiful things. We were both blessed that Sandy missed us and I feel for the people up north. However, I think if she had hit here we would have been more prepared or at least we would know what to expect.

  4. It's always sad when the fall color fails to materialize, or is cut short. Last year our Persian Ironwood trees were stripped of all their leaves by a strong storm just as they started to really look good.

  5. You have a covey of quail on your property? WOW! I saw a pack of minivans but it doesn't quite feel the same. My crepes were hit by an early freeze and their leaves curled up before dropping. It's been a while since they put on much of a show. But that's ok. Next week I get to eat pumpkin cheesecake so all is forgiven. :o)

  6. Sweetbay, I love your garden, tangles and all. I know you have put so much work into it, but it has the natural look of a cottage garden that I so enjoy. And I'm sure the wildlife love it!

  7. " don't capture the sweet cotton candy fragrance from the drying stems on warm sunny days, or the small twittering flocks of goldfinches, chipping sparrows and field sparrows that arise from the tangled stems when startled from their feeding."- How I love the picture you paint with these words! I feel as if I were there.

  8. The muted colours of your fall garden are very soothing. It's all about texture and soft greens. I always think of your property as the perfect place for a serene picnic. :)

  9. Wow i love the serenity of the photos, even if there are the drying plants they still look lovely at wide angle shots. The mosaic is so beautiful too giving us onlookers from the tropics, what temperate areas look like at this time of the year. I want to live in that area too, feel so cozy and peaceful, an area for artists!

  10. I'm glad you escaped the wrath of 'Sandy' even tho she left plenty of destruction in her wake. Still watching the coverage on TV & amazed at her power & the damage. Wish I had the freedom to go back & help in some way....
    We don't often get fall color either SB so I understand. Usually we lose ours to early severe freezes. Your place looks spectacular no matter what season or conditions. I'm really lovin' that moss covered log photo tho! Something about it really appeals to me. 4:1 on the side of good is excellent.

  11. I take a deep breath ... Sweetbay, I'm always amazed at the beauty in our world. Thank you !

  12. I don’t know if we are having a better fall than usual here or if I’m just more in tune with the colors this year. Either way it’s a welcome treat.

  13. Sweetbay, the colors may be subdued, but the scenes are gorgeous, nevertheless! I have a fondness for the wilder areas, and I love your woods! I can imagine the sounds of wildlife and the sweet cotton candy smell of the bidens.

  14. Our fall has some great colors. I am seeing some trees hold onto their green color longer than usual and others dropping their leaves before they really get their best color. oh well. Love that you have quail. We hear some of the Whippoorwill sometimes, but never see any. Indigo Bunting and Evening Grosbeak are regular visitors.

  15. Hi, the pines are spectacular and expressive. Your fall is very nice, mane flowers are still in bloom,
    I liked the mossy log! Great!

  16. It seems we are way ahead you as most of our trees except the Oaks have dropped there leaves. Nice sharp photos.

  17. I've come to appreciate the beauty in the fading garden...and seeing birds visiting the seed heads make me happy. Your garden would make me very happy! It's beautiful. The Willowleaf aster you shared is going gangbusters~Thank you again for your generosity. Gail


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