Spring in Fall

According to the calendar, autumn is in place, with winter just around the bend. Maybe someone should remind one of my Columbine plants and some eager Spiderworts that they’re supposed to be resting right now.

This Yellow Columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha, has blossomed over the last few weeks.

These are spring flowers which usually bloom from March through May. On occasion, this particular specimen has gifted some pretties in early fall, but I don’t recall it ever flowering this late in the season.

The yellow plays peek-a-boo with foliage of Red Spider Lily, Lycoris radiata.

The two fairy-like blooms complement ground-cover greens with yellow cheer. The spring-like foliage, which will remain evergreen throughout winter, is that of Yellow Columbine, Spider Lily and Common Yarrow. A crisp of autumn is in place with the golden-tan leaf of an American Sycamore.

The spiderwort that I grow are all pass-a-long plants, so I don’t know their exact heritage. Because they tend to be tall, I’ve always assumed they’re some hybrid of Giant Spiderwort, Tradescantia gigantea. I’ve seen the occasional bloom in December and January, but those are usually short, the stems and flowers low to the ground. In my front garden, a couple of clumps of Spiderwort have grown tall and are blooming, as if time skipped the gloom of winter and joyfully leaped to March and April.

This one is a lavender hue.
This group suggests blue in its color

I certainly don’t mind seeing the Spiderwort. As weedy as they can become, I always welcome them in my garden. On warmer, sunny days, honeybees are busy nosing around in the blooms.

As well, a remnant of summer is hanging on in the form of a group of common sunflowers. This stalk is broken, but the bent piece maintains enough life in that section that it has bloomed prolifically since August, offering dabs of sunshine on dreary days.

This gardener firmly believes that gardens don’t always operate according to calendars and that plants have minds of their own.

21 thoughts on “Spring in Fall

  1. Let’s see what other prodigies the current streak of warm weather summons up. I’m still seeing goldeneye flowers (and assume yours are still going), along with the occasional annual sunflower and Maximilian sunflower. The other day a flowering cedar sage surprised me.

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    • I think you’re probably right, since we’re right back in early October temperatures. Yes, I still have some goldeneye blooming, but most have gone to seed. Cedar Sage blooming in December–who woulda thunk!

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  2. In the UK we are seeing a ‘false spring’ in places. This was due to the drought and very high summer temperatures causing a lot of plants to shut down. This autumn has been the mildest on record so some plants are popping into life. Last week I saw a Rhododendron in bloom! In my own little garden some Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) have pushed up their leaves. They will all be in for a shock in the coming days as the temperatures are set to plummet to below freezing!

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    • Yes, your plants will be shocked at that! Interesting that your fall is historically mild. We had a cold spell a couple of weeks ago, near but not at freezing. We’re back in the 70s now. I’m traveling to Paris next week and it looks like it will be very cold. I was hoping for unseasonably mild…:) Vienna will follow, so I knew that would be cold. Brrrr!

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  3. What a delight in the currently gloomy run of days we are having to see these persistent blooms brightening up your spaces. It is quite a testimony to your skills as a gardener – your plants not only survive – they thrive!

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    • The cheery flowers have brightened our unusually gloomy weather. I actually kind of like the clouds; we have so much bright sunshine, it gets annoying. As for the plants, I don’t think their blooming has much to do with any skill of mine, but I thank you for the the kind words.

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    • Yes, it’s a messed up, isn’t it? The yellow columbine is so beautiful–I wish it had a longer bloom time, though I guess if it’s going to bloom in spring and fall, I have no cause for complaint!

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    • Check out the link in the post, it goes to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s website on this particular flower. I grow mostly native-to-Texas plants and the “yellow” columbines are in that category. It is a pretty thing and joy in the garden.

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  4. What fun to see the spiderwort in bloom ~ I wouldn’t have expected that, or the columbine, for that matter. Of course, columbine is rare to non-existent here, unless there’s some in gardens. At least, I’ve only seen it farther north and east, but every time I see it I smile.

    Since our rain, the common sunflower’s beginning to bloom again. It’s popping up mostly in construction sites, but it’s said to like disturbed ground, so that makes sense.

    The oddest thing this year was the sudden turn of our leaves to color. I’m accustomed to that happening after a cold snap, but this time it seems to have been the Thanksgiving rain that did it. After four solid days of gloom and rain, the sun came out, and the leaves began putting on their show. Another oddity is that many trees that usually color from the top down reversed course this year, and started showing color first at the bottom. Who knows?

    That’s quite a trip you’re taking! Have fun!

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    • Yes, the spiderwort really do seem to think it’s spring, but then again, it’s been warm enough recently for anyone to think it’s spring. Interesting that you’re seeing the sunflowers blooming up again! I only have that one little group and I think it’s just about done. That’s fine: it’s extended bloom time means I don’t have to wait too long to see them again.

      It’s a big trip! It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything like this. Our son lives and works in Erbil, Iraq (Kurdistan, actually, but Americans never know where Kurdistan is.) He has friends in Vienna and loves it there. So we’re meeting him since he has some time off of work. Paris is because I’ve never been (Hub has). It looks like crappy weather, but I hear the art museums are okay. 🙂

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  5. Wow, that IS really early. They’re some of my favorites, but they don’t bloom here until May or June. It would be lovely to have anything blooming outside this time of year, but that would be truly unusual this far north. Thanks for sharing your blooms! Happy Holidays!

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