Today had all the makings of a gorgeous fall day: Sunshine. Crisp, clear air. The crunch of fall leaves underfoot. That level of cool where you're comfy enough in a fleece but going inside every now and then feels good--and getting into a car that's been sitting in the sun brings an instant flush of warmth to the tips of your fingers.
As you can see on the tree peony above, the leaves are beginning to flush, too, with fall color. I noticed its reddening leaves as I quickly took stock of the backyard this evening. Amazingly, there are still a lot of things yet to harvest there! Some, like these 'Hungarian Hot Wax' peppers and 'Ichiban' eggplants, have been simply waiting for me to get to them:
Others, like these 'Pineapple' tomatoes, got a late start and are racing the clock to ripen before a frost does them in:
And then there are my 'Sundance' apples, which are never quite ready until mid-October. They're worth the wait, though--as the Gurney's website promised, they have a very unique sweet-tart flavor, and there's a hint of lemony flavor in their firm flesh:
Not all of the fruit set in the garden is edibles, of course--unless you are a bird. These pyracantha berries are the last thing to get eaten in the spring, and I'm not complaining. That means I get to enjoy them longer:
Also sporting orange are these seedpods (I assume?) on my native honeysuckle, lonicera sempervirens:
By the way, I would not hesitate to recommend this vine to anyone--and might be planting a few more of them along my fenceline. It pretty much flowers throughout the summer, and the blue-green foliage is fantastic, too.
Speaking of impressive foliage, it's hard to believe that this 'Black Beauty' elderberry has gorgeous dark leaves through the growing season, bears fruit (a 'Black Lace' nearby pollinates it) AND gives fall color, too. But here you see the bottom sets of leaves (near the still-blooming 'Grosso' lavender) starting to turn a pretty wine-red:
See, autumn isn't ONLY about the fiery reds and oranges! Other cool combos that are just coming into their own finally in the October garden include Little Bluestem and purple heart:
And the darkened, spent flowerheads of 'Hab Gray' sedum above the fine-textured, tiny foliage of sedum hispanicum:
Most of the garden IS turning red or yellow, though. The acid-yellow foliage colors of the milkweed and hosta are should be outstanding in another week. And the otherwise-yellow foliage of hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' is starting to look downright tropical with its fall streaks of crimson:
But it's not completely over quite yet--there's still a lot of shouting going on, in a few corners of the garden. Like here, where the jewel-like tones of 'Sedona' coleus, angelonia, 'Black Lace' sambucus, and portulaca foliage can almost trick you into thinking it's still summer:
Bright lantana blooms add their voice to the garden chorus, too, while Japanese bloodgrass sways in the background:
Maybe the lantana is actually singing a rather surprised cover of Elton John's "I'm Still Standing?" Because the fact that the Russian sage is blooming right next door--and providing a nice, cool foil for this definitely overgrown lantana--is a sign that it really can't be too long before the garden needs to be put to bed for the winter:
That and all of the "berries" on the branches below the lantana flowerhead, which mean that I have long since given up doing any upkeep on the "throwaway annuals" that I replace each year.
I might be adding more things than I had planned to the "throwaway" list, by the way. There will be pockets of frost tonight and tomorrow night throughout my area, but I didn't get everything pulled, dug and put away today... and tomorrow will be another long day of work, with no real chance to play in the yard. So we'll see how things shake out once we get through this first real cold spell. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!