One of the best things about fall (autumn) is the glorious sunflowers that seem to sprout up so quickly this time of year. Fall is probably my least favourite season, with spring being favourite, but I do like the cheerful sunflowers. That’s why I renamed fall sunflower season. Few flowers have the dramatic showmanship of sunflowers. Tall, (there are short varieties too), sturdy, brightly coloured, and easy to grow, sunflowers are spectacular.
This past spring I planted a variety of sunflower seeds with my grandchildren. You can start some inside before your last frost date, or wait and plant seeds directly in soil outdoors. We planted some in pots on the back deck and a few in my front garden. I also plant lots in the gardens I tend to.
Sunflowers are annuals here in zone 4/5, meaning they have to be planted each spring. Some do self-seed if the squirrels don’t devour all the seeds dropped from the flowers in late fall. Squirrels will jump right onto the plants if they are located too close to a fence, tree, or any other scalable surface. Choose your location wisely when planting them, unless you don’t mind the entertainment provided by the perseverant squirrels.
This orange beauty was one of my favourites, different from the typical yellow sunflower:
Normally fall or autumn is my least favourite season as all the plants in my gardensstart to die off in preparation for the winter ahead. The calendar says September 21st was the first day of autumn, butMother Nature is displaying something quite different this year. We have had the most beautiful summer-like weather lately here in Ottawa, more summer-like than June, July, and August. This weather has me wondering if September is the new July!
The gardens I work in are all confused. Many perennials such as roses, clematis, and weigela have rebloomed. I’m not complaining mind you, but it is strange. As my business is so weather dependent, I like to garden as late as possible into the season.
Others, such as peonies and bleeding hearts, usually look unsightly around this time of year. Instead, they are still green and lush. Coneflowers have been in bloom all summer and continue to look great.
The monarch butterflies are loving the lasting blossoms too, hopefully, the strangely warm weather doesn’t confuse their migration schedule. The bees, both honey and bumble varieties are still a-buzzing too.
Is September the new July? If this is autumn, I’ll take it, weird or not!
The best part of autumn is the colors of the trees; the vibrant yellows, oranges and reds with the dark, majestic background of evergreen trees and the brilliant blue sky are spectacular in this part of the world:
I snapped these beautiful pictures as we travelled to and from our cottage to tend to the necessary end of season chores. The docks are out, the water is turned off, the pipes are drained of water and refilled with anti-freeze, boats are stored etc. These activities are part of the reason I dislike autumn; they signify the end of summer.
Travel with me and enjoy the scenery on the long and winding road through rural Ontario:
In my gardens and those I tend to, autumn brings a not so colorful change to the plants. Annuals wither and die as soon as we get an overnight frost, and perennials put all their energy into hibernating for the winter. Some perennials die right back to the ground, others get brown, crispy and wispy, blowing in the wind; waiting for Mother Nature to rejuvenate them in the spring. Some perennials thrive in this cooler weather however, holding off their bloom time until autumn when most other plants in the landscape are dull and dreary:
No matter how vibrant and picturesque the autumn colors are, I always look forward to spring!