I walk in my neighborhood (or neighboring ones) at least half the days of the week, and I sure do like this time of the year when the air turns a bit more crisp and the leaves are changing color. Here are some photos from a couple recent walks.
The first one is just a general scene. Purplish blue Aster novae-angliae (New England Aster) with their daisy-like flower are a hallmark of the fall. The tall white Anemone japonica (Japanese Anemone) has been in bloom since late August and ordinarily remain so through October at least. Their most common color seems to be white, but there are a few shades of pink out there and I believe some double flowers as well. Be careful with them, because if they are happy, your clump will expand rapidly. Brilliantly colored Acer palmatum (Japanese maple) in the background.
On one walk, I turned a corner and was greeted by the heavenly scent of Abelia grandiflora (Abelia). I love this evergreen shrub. It is large enough to provide privacy and also a great plant for late-season pollinators. Blooms off and on for a very long time summer into fall.
Next up one of my favorite fall and winter plants, cyclamen. This is Cyclamen hederifolium, a bulb that looks very much like a hockey puck. Its flowers appear before the leaves usually in September around here. After the flowers pass the ivy-like leaves hang on through winter and into spring, retreating into dormancy when temperatures rise. The photo shows how cyclamen naturalizes in a woodland setting. I also like to use cyclamen below deciduous shrubs and trees in the ornamental garden.
C. hederifolium has a cousin, c. coum. It presents its heart-shaped leaves before it’s very similar flowers usually in January around here, and also goes dormant when it gets warmer.
Schizostylis coccinea (Kaffir lily) is part of the iris family and a fall bloomer. I think there are a few shades of pink available. They look great planted with late-blooming daisies, asters, Japanese anemone.
Finally, a bit of bitterness to add to all the pretty fall color; Bittercress (Cardamine spp). This is one of the weeds we in the Pacific Northwest all love to hate. Chances are the plants that set seed before the summer heat and drought set in exploded their seed pods flinging the seeds far and wide. Because there may not have been adequate water for them to germinate, they just laid in wait — evil weeds that they are (though they are edible I am told). And in case you haven’t noticed, our rains have returned right on schedule this fall. And weed seeds that land on un-mulched soil only need to get wet to germinate.
If you don’t get out there and pull them now, they will make their flowers and then cast their seeds and we’ll get another round of these ‘sweet’ babies in January. For those of you who are letting your fall leaves lay on the garden beds as mulch, they MIGHT smother these weeds, but I would recommend pulling them before the leaves fall.