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Native Fall Bloomers
September 07, 2010

I hope everyone had an enjoyable 'Labor Day' Weekend, I know we did.

Mourning doves offer great photo opportunities, don't you think?

A waning Venus still dominates the Western sky at twilight.

It wont be long that it disappears, only to become the morning star within a couple of months.

Because Venus is an interior planet, it never crosses our sky, but only shows up in the west or the east.

About an hour after twilight, Jupiter dominates the Eastern sky and you can follow this planet across the night sky as fall and winter approach.

Early risers may see Jupiter in the Western sky.

Many experts believe that migrating birds use the stars to help with night time navigation.

This can't be said so much about the planets as they are never the same and some years not visible at all.

Planet orbits are always different, making them almost impossible to be any kind of a navigational tool, especially from year to year.

Karen is back home with me, now that our daughter and baby are doing well.

July and October weather all in the same week.

The cool fresh air late last week was nice, but It is still summer and I'm not ready for fall.

Yes, it is becoming a transition time of year once again.

Anyone that knows me or has read my letters for any length of time, know that I have a difficult time with the summer to fall transition.

Depression can be an issue some years., though I am learning to appreciate the changes and what Fall has to offer.

Visitors this past week.

As you can tell by the pictures, the baby deer are growing.

Mom doesn't bring them out as much these days.

Check out the turkeys.

How big they are getting as well.

Now the turkeys are almost regular visitors, but I wanted to share with you how much they have grown in the past few weeks.

Annual flowers are at their peak right now, adding colors for me and food for pollinators and nectar collectors.

Yes, flower gardens are a buzz (literally) with the sounds of busy wings.

Predators are busy too.

Predator birds and insects that feed on other insects are always looking for their next meal.

Most birds feed on insects, but there are several insects that feed on other insects too.

You may be aware of madtids and Lady Beetles, but there are several beneficial insects that patrol your gardens.

This time of year,

Ambush Bugs are busy at work.

The bug gets its name from its hunting tactics.

Be sure to check it out.

Seed eating birds like American goldfinches and their offspring fill the yard this time of year.

This is exactly why I don't cut back perennials right away.

I do enjoy the sounds of the fledged goldies as they beg for food.

Many of the vegetable plants have seen their better days and perennial bloomers are on the way out.

Sure, you may plant lettuce or other crops to keep the fall veggies going.

But I want and need flowers.

Yes some perennials are still blooming, but there must be native plants just for fall.

Do fall blooming natives exist?

Are they out there?

I am glad you asked

It just so happens that I have a few native perennials for you to consider.

Before you continue,

I know I can be long winded and I've made an attempt to shorten things up a bit and I will keep working at it (most of the time).

I am also looking forward to your input an ideas.


Flower gardens need not be restricted to spring and summer enjoyment.

There are many plants that bloom throughout the fall season as well.

In fact, fall flower gardens not only provide extended blooming, but foliage, berries, bark, and other focal points can also provide additional color and interest.

Additionally, fall gardens offer food and shelter to wildlife at a time when it may otherwise be scarce.

Many annuals are still going strong and will continue to grow and bloom until killing frosts take care of them.

Many cool-season annuals work well in fall-flowering gardens, such as snapdragons, pot marigolds, and pansies.

These types of annuals are available in a variety of colors so finding one that suits your taste shouldn't be a problem.

Some of the most popular fall-blooming perennials and the backbone to many gardens are, chrysanthemums, stonecrops (sedums).

Non native Windflower (Anemone) like 'September Charm'(pictured from my yard) and 'Honorine Jobert' also start to bloom in late August and early September and continue into October and can grow to 3' tall

Another non native is a small shrub called 'Caryopteris'

Caryopteris grows to 2' and blooms in September into October in SW. MI.

While these are very attractive and offer food for pollinators, they aren't the only perennials available and they sure aren't native plants.

Gardening for Wildlife requires native plants and lots of them.

Native asters, goldenrod and a host of other colorful natives can fill your gardens with reds, yellows, blues and whites.

Native plants, that are indeed fall bloomers.

Agastache or 'Texas hummingbird mint' starts to bloom in mid summer and only gets bigger and better until it gets to cold to bloom.

Helenium and Helianthus are made just for late summer and fall, with many new cultivars adding different heights and colors.

Plants that start flowering in August or September and continue well into Autumn.

Fall Bloomers that will add to any garden.

Trees and shrubs help to give the fall-flowering garden additional shape, texture, and color.

Once flowering bulbs and other plants have begun to fade, the intense shades of leaf color, ranging from yellow and orange to red and purple, create a stunning display.

Various sumac, witch hazels, and Viburnums are commonly seen in the fall-flowering garden, providing brilliant fall foliage.

Leaf color can be further enhanced by placing them among a background of evergreens.

When choosing trees and shrubs for the fall-flowering garden, you should also consider their bark characteristics.

For instance, those that peel or provide unusual color can be quite appealing in the fall-flowering garden and in fall flower arrangements

Native grasses generally reach their peak during autumn, adding texture, volume, and color to the fall-flowering garden.

Many of these develop seed heads after flowering has ceased, and their foliage turns golden-brown, orange and red.

Native Bittersweet, Snowberry, Viburnums and others come to mind.

There are many groundcovers that produce berries and have colorful leaves.

(Turtlehead pictured from my yard.)

Ornamental plants can also complement other fall-bloomers.

For instance, ornamental kales range in color from white to red with green or purple foliage.

Ornamental peppers produce bright red fruits that cover the plant, creating a unique presence in the fall-flowering garden.

I grow ornamental peppers in pots and they make wonderful fall decorations for any table.

Additional features for the fall-flowering garden include focal elements such as statues, ponds, stones, arbors, etc.

Creating a fall-flowering garden can extend seasonal interest beyond the spring and summer months; and many plants in these gardens will continue to thrive for years to come.

Be sure to check out the list of Native Perennial Fall Bloomers

Remember, there are other natives for you to enjoy as well.

Sure, Phlox, Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Coreopsis and other natives are still hanging on, but some flowers are made for Autumn.

You will find fall blooming plants like Actaea, Eupetorium, Hyssop and many others that don't start their show until late summer and early fall.

You will discover a native, fall blooming vine, with sweet scented small white flowers.

Yes, Woodbine is native and is quite showy this time of year.

Yes, I have most of these in my gardens, for my enjoyment and of course, for the wildlife I want to attract.

I try to provide as much information as I can along with zone hardiness.

Plan and plant for true fall beauty.

Many of these I do have growing in my Southwest, Michigan gardens.

Even if they aren't native to my region, they are attractive and much better than true aliens.

Plan and plant for true fall beauty.

And don't forget to plant native grasses.

Well,, it's time to fly for now.

Before I go,

Here is your positive thought for the week.

PS. Enjoy the Chocolate Eupatorium and another evening sky photo.

The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident.

Charles Lamb (1775-1834) British Essayist

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "

Acts 20:35

Until next time,

God Bless.

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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