Sunday, October 14, 2018


Perhaps now you know me well enough to realize that among my favorite flowers are the volunteers, those hardy annuals, biennials, or perennials that arrive unannounced into the garden and prosper. The plants that you don't have to actually plant.

I've had cosmos for several years now, they are a self sowing/seeding and spreading annual that does very well here without my help. This year they arrived in three separate places including the one spot where I first planted some free seeds.

There are several cranberry viburnums (Viburnum trilobum) aka highbush cranberries, in my north woods. They do very well there and can grow to almost twenty feet high. Their white spring flowers provide pollen and nectar to wild bees, bumblebees, honeybees, and a few early moths and butterflies. Although the fruit turns red early, it must not taste good as they persist on the bushes all winter and then feed cedar waxwings in the spring. They volunteer easily but could easily overtake the area. The fall colors are very nice both on the young volunteer below and a nearby parent plant. Clicking on photos enlarges them.

It's fall and the migrating Canada geese collect in large groups in front of my home. I love their communal "talking". In the past all of them left for warmer climes, now the population is divided into two groups; winter stay-behinds and the ones that migrate.

This is a two question quiz.
1. What is the name of the butterfly and
2. What is the name of the plant from which it's sipping nectar?

(Hint: Check previous posts.)

We haven't had a frost here - yet. It's later than usual/normal. But with global warming, what's normal now is anyone's guess. Whole generations will grow up thinking that the weather patterns they will experience will be their "normal". We are not leaving the world better than we found it.

The dahlias are still going strong, a bit bug and slug eaten but strong nonetheless.

My Icelandic Sheepdog boys. Bear and Korpur. Bear has almost completely lost his summer coat and his new winter coat is nearly full now. Looks like a long, hard winter. Korpur is under a small fall-foliaged forsythia from the home in Royal Oak where I grew up - a cutting from a cutting from a cutting et cetera. He's actually cleaning up rabbit droppings for me (wink, wink.)

A white Rosa rugosa - probably named Blanc Double de Corbet, a white aster, the fruits of a wild single pink rose, and a lovely fall fern.

In every relationship there is a gardener and a flower. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Rain, Rain - - - -

The path down to my vanishing beach: -

 And the disappearing beach: - 

Rain drenched wild flowers are strong and pretty too.
Clicking on photos enlarges them.

The amazing Chrysopsis villosa grows and grows silently all season and then at about five feet or more produces lovely yellow flowers in the fall. Some might call it rank; I wait expectantly all spring and summer for the final fall splash of happy color.

Equally slow to mature and flower, 
I love the white burst of fall anemones

The usually cooler temperatures of autumn mean morning glories escape the hot sun and last longer into the day. These two varieties, the white one with a blush of pink and Grandpa Ott's bequest to the plant world, are self sowers, slow to germinate, slow of growth, but then they make up for that at this time of the year with rapid growth and plenty of happy flowers to greet first lights and sunrises.

Chrysanthemums come into their glory this time of the year also. Many (most?) of the varieties you can buy in flower now are grown further south and are often not winter hardy so they either don't make it through the winter at all or grow poorly their second year. The mum plants below are into their fourth year and are very hardy. If they can survive Michigan winters, they have a place in my garden. I think their "simpler" daisy-like blooms illustrate, to me anyway, their hardiness. The double varieties don't seem as hardy - to me.

Colchicums are sometimes called autumn crocuses. They are not crocuses. Their leaves grow daylily-like from early to late spring or early summer and then disappear. They might easily be forgotten. Other plants may grow over the tops of their very shallow bulbs. Then in late September and early October all the energy their leaves have stored in their bulbs produces an amazing display.

Whether double - 

Or white -

Single and spreading their petals -

Or vase shaped and huge -

Colchicums are a great addition to the final burst of fall flowers.