Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 11/3/15 ~ Signs of Autumn

Happy November, everyone. We’re six weeks into autumn, but you can’t tell by the temperature here in the Charleston area. We’ve had highs in the low 80s most of the week. Last year, the first frost was November 3, and it was November 14 the year before that. Looks like first frost is going to be late this year. Normally, we should have SOME color on the trees (albeit, most of the colors are tans and browns…NOTHING like New England), but we don’t even have that yet. Too warm, I guess. However, there are some signs on my homestead that autumn has arrived.

My crepe myrtle trees have been losing their leaves and the flower buds are now full of berries (seed pods).

Crepe myrtle berries (seed pods)

Crepe myrtle berries (seed pods)

My hydrangea leaves are turning color.

Hydrangea in autumn

Hydrangea in autumn

My asparagus fern is starting to turn brown. As soon as the first frost hits, I’ll cut it down to the ground.

Asparagus fern in autumn

Asparagus fern in autumn

My shade garden looks pretty sad. As I shared before, all the coral bells (heuchera) died. Now, the coleus (an annual – the larger plants towards the left edge) are giving up the ghost for the season. The astilbe (along brick wall on the right of the picture) are going to sleep for the winter. The only happy plants at the moment are the three hostas (in the middle) and the ajuga (the dark green ground cover plants – that are bigger than when I planted them). I also have some weeds along the fence/around the tree and bird bath I need to pull.

Shade garden

Shade garden

I thought all of my herbs out front were dead, but I’ve got a few pleasant surprises. One of my spicy oregano plants has come back. It just needs some pruning…and a little harvesting.

Spicy oregano

Spicy oregano

My lemon thyme is also making a comeback. I need to prune this one, too.

Lemon thyme

Lemon thyme

One of my curly parsley plants is growing back. This is its third year, so I think this is actually a self-sown new plant.

Curly parsley

Curly parsley

My basil is long past nice enough to harvest. However, I’ve been letting it flower until frost – for the bees and butterflies. I actually caught this butterfly just as it was leaving. (Sorry it’s not a better picture. I noticed him too late.)

Gulf Fritillary or Passion Butterfly on basil

Gulf Fritillary or Passion Butterfly on basil

I have two large basil plants flanking my walkway, and there were bees on both of them.

Bee on basil

Bee on basil

Bee on basil

Bee on basil

Bee on basil

Bee on basil

I do have some flowers in the yard, too. These chrysanthemums are blooming for the third year.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums

I bought marigolds in the spring and thought they were long dead, but I found these blooms on them yesterday.

Marigolds

Marigolds

My ornamental ginger is flowering again.

Ornamental ginger

Ornamental ginger

I also found these lovely wildflowers in my front yard. I don’t know what they are. They’re not chickweed (these centers are different), and they’re not asters (these leaves are too wide). Whatever they are, they’re pretty.

White wildflowers in my yard

White wildflowers in my yard

What are the signs of autumn on your homestead?

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