Helenium amarum

A Very Colorful Fall Walk

The recent local weather (hot cold hot cold rainy sunny cold hot again), while making wardrobe deliberations a maddening ordeal with at best a 50-50 percent chance of success, have had an unexpected effect.  The local flora, famous for not giving a fig for seasonal expectations and remaining green until January, has decided, for once, to oblige Sigyn’s longing for a colored autumn.

We have therefore embarked upon a tour of the yard, the surrounding neighborhood, and the park at the end of the street, in order to take in all the offerings on this bright and sunny afternoon.

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cedar elm

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pecan

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woolly bucket or gum bumelia (both ludicrous names)

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upland swamp privet (an oxymoron if I ever heard one)

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yaupon holly

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post oak

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aster

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winged elm

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farkleberry

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bitterweed

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more asters

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more yaupon

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ditto (can you tell Sigyn really likes holly?)

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greenbriar

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a whole galaxy of asters  (Time for a little rest.  Dangling is hard work)

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white mulberry

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miniature dragon

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poison ivy  (Go on, human female, pat the pretty plant!)

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more mulberry

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copperleaf (Aptly named, I’d say.)

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More elmage

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honey locust

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bald cypress

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yet more elms

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many shot of a truly splendid farkleberry

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blackjack oak

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They say some medieval craftsman invented stained glass.  I’m not so sure.

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My Favorite Fall Color, Part II: Mostly Yellow (Sigyn Speaks)

I know, I know!  I don’t usually post two days in a row, but I just love fall flowers so much!!

Yesterday I showed you the red ones, and they were beautiful, but fall is also the time for my second favorite color.  Yellow!

No one can be uncheered with sunflowers around.

sunflower

They followed the human female home from work as seeds in a bucket of  pressed-flower compost material.  Now they’re all over the lot, mostly because the human female leaves them up until the birds have nibbled out all of the seeds at the end of the season.  Those birds spill quite a few seeds (messy eaters!), so there are always more the next year.

She grew this senna from a tiny seed.  Well, a big-enough seed, I guess, because it makes beans, but tiny when compared with the overall size of the plant.

senna

The whole bush is about six feet tall now.  It’s not terribly cold hardy, but the flowers are such a nice color!

And the flowers of this tropical milkweed are double-extra pretty because they are red AND yellow.  The butterflies love them!   They have an icky-sticky sap, though, so I’m always careful touching them. 

milkweed

Don’t the flowers look like they’ve been made by a cake-decorating frosting tip?

In the front flower bed, the red and yellow lantanas are growing next to one another.  The “red” ones are such a nice color.  They start out nearly yellow and age through to red.

lantana

And look at the flower buds!  They’re rectangular, which is something I’ve always thought is really, really cool.

There is a lot of yellow going on outside the yard, too.

“Bitterweed” is such an ugly name for such beautiful flowers.  It’s called that because cows who have eaten it give bitter milk.  But there aren’t any cows in the neighborhood, so we don’t have to worry too much about that!

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I really like how the ray florets have scalloped tips.  Fun botany fact:  what looks like an individual flower is really a whole cluster of tinier flowers.  I love all the flowers!

Which is good, because the park on the corner…

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is sort of awash with them!

: )

 

A January Afternoon Walk, Part I: It’s Far Too Green

Sigyn and the human female are feeling a little house-bound, so I’ve donned my old clothes so that we can all go for a walk in the woods.  (Or, rather, they’re walking and I’m being dragged.)

Wait–what month is this?  January, correct?  And Midgard hasn’t toppled over to put us in the Southern Hemisphere, has it?  No?  Then why is everything so green?

clover

It has been a most atypical year, weather-wise.  All of this clover and grass is comfy and good to sit in, but much more appropriate for late February or March!  And can we move on?  The sun is right in my eyes.

Sigyn has found some flowers.  Are they early too?

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Nope.  This is bitterweed.  It is supposed to flower in the fall, but in the past couple of years there have been stragglers blooming all through the winter and random individuals all spring and summer as well.  Hogun’s topknot, it is sunny today!

Ah, shade!  And this yaupon holly looks about right for the time of year.  It stays green all year, and the human female said once that the berries will stay on until the migrating birds in the spring swoop in and gobble them all up.

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You’ll pardon me if I don’t try one.  I know better.

This deciduous holly is a little more blatant in offering up its fruity goodness.  No leaves to get in the way.

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(Augh!  The low sun is right my face again.  Curse these winter afternoons!)

We are also seeing remnants of last autumn’s flora.  This verbena is just hairy enough to have a halo when back-lit.

verbena

And the pink muhly grass still has a little color.

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Whew!  We’ve walked over half the park.  Let’s rest a bit and then continue…

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