It’s Fall, Y’all

Letting you know that it’s fall in Texas–thus, the y’all, y’all.  A conjunction of you + all, and common in the vernacular of the American South, it’s a friendly and practical  term for inclusion and invitation to a conversation.  This conversation is about the beginning of our second blooming season, so-named “Autumn” or “Fall” in most of the Northern Hemisphere. Here in Texas?  We usually refer to it as, I’m so glad summer’s over!!

While in most places plants are beginning the decline of growth and production in anticipation of winter, many of our tough customers are readying for their second spring. The days still reach into the low 90’s F, but nights and mornings are cool and lovely, and even the afternoon warmth feels different from the summer heat.  Or so I tell myself. Human rationalizations aside, with a smidge of rain and gentler temperatures becoming normative, every Texas gardener eagerly awaits the garden’s emergence from summer’s dormancy.

It’s about time!

Native to Argentina but naturalized throughout much of Texas, Oxblood  or Schoolhouse Lily Rhodophiala bifida, in my garden have unfolded in a couple of waves this fall.

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The stratification of blooming time has been a nice change.  Usually these individual bulbs jut out of the ground, stalk with buds, then blooms atop, bursting open with showy flowers, all with a few days of one another.  Oxblood fade away until the next September, leaving only foliage as a reminder–and not even that remains after winter.

And there’s a romance in the garden, too, this early fall.

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Hugs between this extrovert Oxblood and a reserved Garlic Chive, Allium tuberosum–I guess it’s true that opposites attract.

Another Garlic Chive waits alone, early in the morning,  for honeybee suitors.

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A new-ish bloomer for me is this purple grape juice colored Autumn SageSalvia greggii x Salvia microphylla.

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I purchased three plants from a locally owned nursery well over a year ago and am finally seeing clusters of blooms, though there were a smattering throughout summer.   The story told is that one of the employees of the nursery spied the mother plant, un-named and un-tagged,  at a big box store.  The plant was purchased, cuttings were taking, and now the big-box plant descendants are sold from time-to-time at that nursery, usually during summer.   It’s an attractive purple salvia, water-wise and tough, and beloved by my honey and native bees.

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Stalking a honeybee as she worked, partially hidden in the grassy foliage of a Giant Liriope,  Liriope muscari  ‘Evergreen Giant’, I snapped shots of the pretty lavender bloom spikes.  If you look closely, you can see a little bee butt.

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These ornamental and drought-tolerant grasses don’t bloom often, though they are very welcomed when they do, usually in early fall.

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In late July I pruned the bountiful Henry Duelberg Sage, Salvia farinacea, ‘Henry Duelberg’, in preparation for fall blooms.  This beautiful native perennial is an excellent food source for wildlife–pollinators and seed-eaters–and provides a great fall (and spring/summer) flower show for me.

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That show has begun and will not disappoint–either the pollinators or the gardener.

 

‘Henry’ is nice, planted in conjunction with the open-for-nectaring business, Gregg’s MistflowerConoclinium greggii, blooming just behind.

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I think this migrating Monarch butterfly,

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..and pollen-gathering, nectar-sipping honeybee,

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…would readily agree–huzzah for the fall bloomers!

The white and red Tropical SageSalvia coccinea, have blossomed for the past month or so, even before the moderate cooling.

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Mexican Butterfly Vine,  Mascagnia macroptera, are showcasing cheery yellow blooms,

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…and a few “butterfly” seedpods.

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Fall Obedient, Physostegia virginiana, is a re-introduced perennial for me–I grew it many years ago.

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I’m happy to host this charming bloomer and tough native again.  How did I go so long without it??

FrostweedVerbesina virginica,

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GoldeneyeViguiera dentata,

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…and Rock RosePavonia lasiopetala, are full-flush with fall flowers.

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The Rock Rose blooms crinkle a wee bit against the afternoon heat, but are staying open-ish.  That’s a definite change from the summer xeric practice of shuttering the petals by mid-afternoon.

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Zexmenia,  Wedelia acapulcensis var. hispida, are also back in top form.

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All of these perennials are ready for visits from pollinators, and later for the seed-munching warblers, wrens and finches.

And my good friend,  sweet Asher-the-Dog?  He’s happy to rest on the cool pebbles, enjoying an early fall Texas morning.

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Happy Autumn, y’all!

 

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24 thoughts on “It’s Fall, Y’all

  1. Have your pollinators evolved differently to compensate for your second summer flowering, or is this just a wonderful bonus time. Over here bumbles die out in the Autumn naturally, its colder and less flowers. Then the Queens hibernate, Do you get a winter like we do or is it warm? Asher looks gorgeous under your tree!

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    • We do have winter, though by your standards, quite mild. Our weather is quite variable: we can be 80 degrees(F) one day, have a cold front blow through and be freezing within 24-48 hours. Yes, our insects have evolved to compensate. We also have ground/wood nesters who either over winter (or their larvae do) and/or they die out. Asher is a great dog–just the best!

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  2. Happy autumn to you too. We have a second spring here too and the garden is coming back to life beautifully. As with you the days are warm but the last couple of nights and mornings have felt positively chilly.

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    • I imagine that your climate is very similar to ours. I wouldn’t say that our mornings are chilly yet, but we’ll get there. Isn’t it wonderful when the garden breathes that sigh of relief and wakes up again?

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  3. I looked closely through the liriope and what a cute little bee butt it is!

    You are reaping your right reward for your patient support of natives throughout the heat of summer. Loveliness at every turn.

    I too was surprised to see the oxblood lilies here blooming in several different waves this year. I usually get one big “ta-DA!” that lasts a few days and then they’re done. Then again it has been a weird year weather wise all the way ’round, so perhaps the plants are all doing precisely what they always will do under these unusual circumstances? It is only a surprise to those of us with season long attention spans perhaps?

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    • Funny year for plants. The “ta-Da” is what usually happens and I don’t recall EVER, “this one pop up here, that one pop up there,” over the course of a few weeks. Ah well, plants like to keep us on our toes.

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  4. You had me from the moment you punctuated “y’all” – I see lots of people write “ya’ll”, and I think, “It’s ‘you-all’, not ‘ya-all’!”
    The garden pictures and information are wonderful and helpful, but it was your “y’all” that had me click “follow!” 🙂

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  5. Oh yes, thank goodness for the fall bloomers! Believe it or not, I still have many blooming plants in my northern garden. We had mild weather until a couple of days ago, and we haven’t had a frost yet. It’s getting closer, but it looks like we won’t have our first frost until at least the middle of October. Yay! More flowers for the migrating and surviving pollinators. 🙂 Not many Monarchs left, though. Now most are on their way to you and then on to Mexico!

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    • Oh, I forget how cold it is there–within weeks of your first frost. We have a front moving in as I write. I’ll be in the 50s F overnight/mornings for the next couple of days. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. 🙂

      I have lots for your Monarchs, Beth–they’ll be treated right as they pass through!

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  6. So different out there! It looks more like a second summer 🙂 Wonderful flowers, some that I never heard of (like Zexmenia), some that I try to grow but probably I’ll never see them flowering (like Rodophiala). We are just getting into the brilliant colours of the fall here, I’m waiting for the sunshine to take some pictures.

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  7. I love the Oxblood lily, I have never seen it before. I suppose you do long for cooler weather when the heat goes on and on. I just wish it would stay warm here. Hot would be good.

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  8. You’ve got such great autumn flowers – the Oxblood Lily, Frostweed, Salvia coccinea, and Mistflower – all wonderful! Here the plants are going to sleep, not waking up, but our busy summer has tired them out.

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  9. Asher is a magnificent being. I love that photo of him. hahaha My husband said y’all the other day and it almost sounded natural. Me? I wouldn’t even dare try. Happy fall.

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