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Friday, November 4, 2011

Fall Colors in the Garden

The Houston area typically doesn't get the spectacular displays of fall color that New England is famous for.

Many of our trees stay green year round and those that do lose their leaves seem to just drop them without fanfare. It seems to me that one of the most colorful "fall color" trees we see at this time of year is the invasive chinese tallow tree.

Other than the Chinese Tallow, much of the "fall color" we're seeing is actually the rusty brown of dead trees that succumbed to the drought and/or pine bark beetle damage. So sad - acres and acres of dead trees.

On a more cheerful note, last weekend I was able to capture some photos of  fall colors in our garden, seen in both the flora and the fauna.

First is the front border, which is absolutely overflowing with tropical milkweed.  Incidentally, last week I applied to have our property certified as a Monarch Waystation.  I'm excited to make this commitment to providing habitat for migrating monarch butterflies and can't wait for the plaque to arrive.




Here's a Monarch, enjoying our hospitality :-)



And here's our insurance that we'll have plenty of tropical milkweed for next year's generation of Monarch butterflies.

Monarch butterflies aren't the only "fall color" in our garden at this time of year.  The Gulf Fritillaries are quite abundant right now, seemingly unfazed by the summer drought.


This one is enjoying the Buddleia in the back garden.



This one is enjoying the lantana in the front garden.


I was very happy to see this Buckeye too, dressed in his own fall colors, with the striking eye pattern on his wings. 

Last year Buckeyes were very common in the garden, but this is the first I have seen this year. As I get out in the garden this weekend, I hope I see more of them.





In addition to having our garden certified as a Monarch Waystation, it also became a Certified Wildlife Habitat, something I'll tell you more about in a future blog post.

Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Gardening!

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

5 comments:

Dorothy/Gardening with Nature said...

I am envious of your butterflies. They are still scarce in my yard, although I do have a few Sulphurs and the occasional Monarch passing through. Congratulations on becoming part of the Monarch Waystation system.

nebrowngarden said...

Congratulations on your certifications! Thanks for helping all the little critters thrive.

I'm crazy about buckeyes, but unfortunately I have only had one visit and that was last year. I planted snapdragons especially for them to have host food.

Do you have any suggestions for me? What plants are the buckeyes in your yard attracted to? What is the green bush with the purple berries in your photo.

The flowers in my garden are limited to milk weed, lantana, globe amaranth, zinnias, cone flowers, shrimp plant, blue sage, and a few sunflowers.

For the spring , I sowing sweet peas, larks spur, cosmos, and poppy seeds.

Jayne said...

Thanks nebrowngarden.

The green shrub with the purple berries is Indian Hawthorne, Raphiolepsis indica -- a favorite of homebuilders and landscapers in the Houston area. It does very well in our soil and climate.

As far as flowers, I have pretty much the same selection as you do -- milkweed, lantana, zinnias etc.

As I build more beds, I'll introduce more variety.

I love buckeyes too - I had never even seen one before I moved into this house three years ago.

Wouldn't you know it, after taking photos of the buckeyes in the garden last week, I haven't seen one at all this weekend. I hope they come back!

Kyna said...

Our fall colour impact varies from year to year. Some years the leaves just seem to drop green. But this year there seems to be quite a bit of fall colour...

I love fall so much. I'm one of those people who just want to take a trip up to Massachussetts in the fall just to see the leaves turn :)

Lancashire rose said...

Good for you. The word will soon be out and next year they will come in their thousands. You have just what they want. I have never seen the buckeye here and we get only a handful of monarchs. Maybe too close to the city or off the flyway.