African Garden + summer

Signs and Portents

Prematurely turned leaf of Geranium maculatum
Last night I dreamed of frost. This was a prophetic dream, if for no other reason than the immutable fact that there will be a frost here at Squirrelhaven, sooner or later. The earliest frost I've recorded in the past 15 years was October 1st, while the average first frost occurs late in October. But the current temperatures with highs only in the 60s F (16C) and forecasted lows in the 40sF (5C) makes it feel like late September, instead of the end of August. I don't know if this is an omen of an early frost.Meteorological autumn begins in two days, and the signs of autumn are clear and unmistakable now. Some signs are subtle, such as the red tint showing in the grasses: Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

and Prairie Dropseed (Sporabolus heterolepsis),

and the tinting of foliage: Ruellia humilis.

More obvious is the foliage of some shrubs, starting to show its chlorophyll-less color: Physocarpus opulifolius 'Monlo' (Diablo)

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey'

Cornus alternifolia.

In the shade garden, the perennials show even more color: Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Hepatica nobilis var. acuta

and the Geraniums (top photo).The Cottonwood and the Boxelders (Acer negundo) are beginning to shed yellow leaves, setting off the exquisite blue flowers of Ceratostigma plumbaginoides.

The garden is at once winding down and heating up. Farewell, Summer, you were a good one.What signs of autumn are visible in your garden?

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Signs and Portents + summer