In Search of Fall

Lakeview from our dock
Lakeview from our dock

In spite of two freezing nights in a row (with lows of 26 degrees), warm weather is back with a 40 degree low this morning and a projected high tomorrow of 82 degrees.  Such is the strange weather you experience when you live in the center of the country.

In the city, few of the trees have turned, and even here, appearances can be deceiving.  This photo looks like we’re getting lots of color, but, instead, the leaves are turning brown and falling to the ground with very little show.

Of course, all of the tropicals have succumbed, but that’s to be expected.  I can plant more Variegated Tapioca and Coleus next summer.  I’m moving my containers on the East deck next to the house to prevent freezing.  What little garden cleanup I do is finished, although I’m still waiting on some bulbs.

I find that at this time of year, I crave fall colors, the russets, lemon yellows, pumpkins and tangerines.

That’s why, this morning after I dropped off one of the kids at school (another is at home sick), I hiked our property in search of fall.

The dock
The dock

We own an untended, vacant lot across the street.  We bought it several years ago to prevent someone bringing in a double wide trailer and planting it there.  In town, untended would be a problem.  Out here, other than the blasted Eastern Redcedars, the lot resembles a slightly wooded version of the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.  It covers 2.5 acres, and while walking there before, I’ve scared a deer or two out of hiding.  The lot also slants down to the small lake which is on the other side of the dam that holds our spring-fed lake.  The property is so steep I can’t climb all the way down with my camera, but I wish I could.

American Bittersweet
American Bittersweet

Because it isn’t mowed, native flora and fauna flourish here.  Although I am not positive, I believe this is American Bittersweet, Celastrus scandens, and not Oriental Bittersweet, Celastrus orbiculatus.  The oriental vine, native to Asia and brought here in the 1860s according to this article in, is highly invasive.  The American Bittersweet, on the other hand, is not invasive and won’t kill its supporting tree.  Two things make me think this is the American variety:

  • It blooms on the end of its stems; and
  • It doesn’t have thorns.

I hope I’m right.

Sophys Rose
Sophys Rose

Strolling through the tall grasses is such a kinetic experience.  The grasses blew, undulated and bowed in the wind around me as I walked through them.  Seedheads brushed against my jeans and sweater.  By the time I was back to the road, I was covered in a range of seeds, some of which were giant goatheads.  Prancer, my Labrador, and I stopped, and I helped him pull a sticker out of his paw.

Back at home, I noticed this single bloom of ‘Sophy’s Rose’ protected in the middle of the bush.  Most of the other rosebuds freeze dried in the low temperatures.  They crumble at my touch, but I remind myself it’s only a few months before all of them will bloom again.  In the meantime, I will cherish what this season has to offer.

Don’t forget the “Name that Garden” contest going on until Sunday.  There’s still time to enter and win.


  1. Dee – what a beautiful property (or properties) you have. These photos remind me of my parent’s property when I was growing up. Then, it was a wooded acre filled mostly native plants and surrounded by properties consisting of much of the same. Now the development has encroached and it hardly feels secluded! You were so smart to buy that adjacent property. I bet my parents wish they’d done the same.

    As much as I love a tended garden, this is still my idea of a perfect “yard”. I guess childhood memories stick with you!


    Andrea (Heavy Petal)´s last blog post..This proves it. Chickens are hot.

    Hi Andrea, although the suburbs are starting to encroach us, our land will remain the same because we are in a neighborhood and in the center. It may get noisier, but they won’t get any closer. Thanks. I’m glad it reminds you of good things.~~Dee

  2. Ellen Zachos says:

    Thanks for stopping by our blog, Dee.

    Here in NYC we’ve had temps in the 60s yesterday and today…it hardly feels like fall! I’m taking my camera up to the terraces this afternoon because the leaves in Central Park are starting to turn and they look gorgeous against the lake and the skyline.

    Ellen Zachos´s last blog post..Container Art

    Ellen, you’re both so welcome. I’m thrilled for you. Your blog is perfect for New Yorkers.~~Dee

  3. Diana says:

    Wow – I can’t believe you’ve already had two freezes. I think of you as being so much closer to us! It was 85 here today. Your property looks cool – a nice wilderness to give you a contrast to your well-tended gardens.

    Diana´s last blog post..Seed starting survey …

    Hi Diana, yes, we had two freezes and then it warmed back up to 82 degrees. Ah, Oklahoma, the land of changeable weather.~~Dee

  4. mary says:

    The large pond shown in my blog banner has been around for decades. It was actually used for recreation by prisoners of war in WWII. It is owned by my good friends and neighbors, but it is MY view from my kitchen window and side yard. LOL My husband and son love to fish in it. I love to watch the waterfowl, especially in the fall.

    mary´s last blog post..Panic

    Mary, your banner is so pretty and peaceful. Our pond/lake was built in the 1960s, and my husband used to camp on this land.~~Dee

  5. jgh says:

    I enjoyed this post and love the way you described the walk through the grasses.

    jgh´s last blog post..The Graveyard in My Yard

    JGH, thank you so much. I’m glad you stopped by.~~Dee

  6. I do think that “red” should be part of the name–it evokes such a lovely mental image of that beautiful earth you till. So how about “Red Heart” for your garden’s name?

    Susan Tomlinson´s last blog post..Across the neighbor’s fence this morning

    Susan, that’s lovely.~~Dee

  7. Cindy says:

    I felt like I was walking along with you, stopping to take in the view, sigh in happiness and give Prancer a scratch behind the ears. Someday I hope to do that in real time & not virtual!

    Cindy´s last blog post..Monday, Monday …

    Cindy, you know anytime you’re in Oklahoma, come on by.~~Dee

  8. TR says:

    How lucky you are to live where you do. I love the look of your new site. When are you going to give a garden tour for your local blog fans!!

    TR´s last blog post..In Siberia

    TR, thank you. I’ll give a tour anytime, anyone wants to come over.~~Dee

  9. Thanks for taking us on the garden walk with you. It was great.

    It amazes me that plants can even survive the big temperature changes that you have been having lately. They must get so confused…Don’t you think?

    Theresa/GardenFreshLiving´s last blog post..Bulb Season in Warm Climates

    Theresa, oh yes, I think they do get very confused. For us, spring is the most difficult time with late freezes.~~Dee

  10. linda says:

    How beautiful your property looks in the fall Dee! The dock is idyllic, and what a beautiful view you have from it!

    linda´s last blog post..A Halloween Ghost Story

    Thank you so much Linda. I like to go out there and look at the lake all the time.~~Dee

  11. Anna says:

    I really felt how much you enjoyed that walk. I can relate to the leaves falling off the trees without changing. We haven’t had a colorful Autumn. I had to go to Virginia to my son’s house to see it. Thanks for the tour today. The lake just makes it extra special.

    Anna´s last blog post..My Keyboard Has No ame and Thomas Edison

    Hi Anna, wish you could have come with me. It’s always good to get outside and clear the head, isn’t it?~~Dee

  12. eliz says:

    How lucky you are to have not one but 2 lakes! Looks beautiful.

    Hi Eliz, the second one is really just an extension of the first. They are tiny, but still considered lakes because they are spring fed.~~Dee

  13. joey says:

    So enjoyed this charming jaunt, Dee, feeling through your fine photos and voice that I walked beside you.


    Thanks, Joey. I’m glad you came with me.~~Dee

  14. Wow, thanks for taking us along on your walk. It is fun to find the native plants and figure out what they are. I think that is American Bittersweet.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens´s last blog post..Frosted Impatiens

  15. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Isn’t it wonderful to get out this time of year. You get to see things in a different way. When all begins to wind down for the growing season. Only the strong are surviving now.

    Yup, Lisa, I think we’re on the slide toward winter, no matter what.~~Dee

  16. tina says:

    Very nice walk around looking for fall. It should be there soon:)

    tina´s last blog post..New Harmony and New Friends

    Yes, the leaves are beginning to turn. Thanks for coming by Tina.~~Dee

  17. Gail says:

    Thank you for a lovely walk and talk! I have read about the American bittersweet but hadn’t seen it in the woods, it’s nice to know the characteristics.

    Juniperus virginiana are pioneer trees and like nothing better then a void in nature! You have to chop them down or risk a Rd Cedar forest!

    What a nice surprise the rose must have been.


    Gail´s last blog post..Goodbye and Thank You To All That’s Made Me Smile

    Yes, Gail, I hate most of the Juniper species. They are terribly invasive in Oklahoma.~~Dee

  18. Carla says:

    how lovely, I love little walks in the wilderness. How nice that you can keep your yard neat, and have property just across the street you can let go wild!

    Carla´s last blog post..Thankful Thursday: 10/30/08

    Hi Carla, me too. Yes, I think it’s kept wild because we have too much to do here on this side of the street.~~Dee

  19. Marnie says:

    Beautiful. I especially love the photo of the dock. Wish I was there;)

    Thank you, Marnie. I’m glad you liked it. I’m about to go out there and walk now.~~Dee

  20. It looks like we’ve had more or less the same kind of weather as we had two nights of frost as well and lovely sunshine during the day.

    It’s great to have a plot of land to enjoy.

    Yolanda Elizabet´s last blog post..Misty Morning Magic

    YE, it is,but remind me of that when it’s summer, and hot as Hades.~~Dee

  21. Did you cut some of that Bittersweet for making harvest arrangements? It’s such a bright color. So Sophy is that last Rose of autumn. It’s hard to look forward to next spring/summer. It’s going to be more than just few months before my Rose starts blooming again.

    Mr. McGregor’s Daughter´s last blog post..Last Dance on the Titanic

    Nah, MMD, I just left it in the woods. It will be longer for spring for you. Sorry.~~Dee

  22. Leslie says:

    I agree! How wonderful that you were able to buy that property…and to have such a perfect day for your search for fall!

    Leslie´s last blog post..Fall Thinks About Sneaking In

    Leslie, it took us years to talk the owners into it. They never built on the land, but the original owner used to come fishing on it. When he passed away, his heirs finally sold it years later.~~Dee

  23. How fantastic to have a piece of land like that. I bet you can really escape there.

    Yes, and sometimes, I just need to escape. 🙂 ~~Dee

  24. Pam/Digging says:

    When I visited your summer garden, Dee, I was so entranced by what you’d created that I didn’t give the lake view the attention it deserves. It’s beautiful, and I’m sure you must enjoy it year-round, even when the roses are frozen.

    Pam, I’m blushing. Thanks.~~Dee

  25. Brenda Kula says:

    I love your piece of land. Your sanctuary from the world. And you were smart buying up that property! Your gardens are always something I look forward to seeing. So glad I found you, Okie girl.

    Brenda Kula´s last blog post..Pansy Happy

    Hi Brenda, my whole neighborhood is a sanctuary from the world until the weekend. During the week, no one is hardly here except me, but come Friday, and all the teens break loose. Not mine of course. 🙂 ~~Dee

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