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.
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.
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 About.com, 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.
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.