|Blackberry lilies in July|
Though the bright orange blooms of this plant have long since faded away, the seed pods they leave behind are just as striking, I think. The papery pods open up in September, revealing the reason for their common name. Though not a true native, Blackberry Lily is often included in a list of Illinois wildflowers.
This is also the time of year when things get a bit wild, and I don't just mean the disheveled look of my garden. The "wild things" that looked like weeds all summer long in the butterfly garden have finally justified my allowing them to stay. Goldenrod, not a fancy hybrid but the native kind, has been blooming since August .
Not a single one of these plants has been purposely planted by me. For the most part, the goldenrod has been pretty well-behaved, staying within the confines of the butterfly garden. But a few escapees have traveled elsewhere, and as long as they continue to be polite, I let them stay. Actually, I think the bright yellow blooms contrast nicely with the dark sedum in the arbor bed, one of those happy accidents that I enjoy.
Somewhere down the line, the purple parents produced light pink progeny.
And now we also have a deeper pink offspring.
Purple or pink or a shade in between, I don't care; I've let Nature take her course in producing these. The only interference I've done is to cut them back in May or June so that they don't flop so much come bloom time. The bees don't care what color these are either. In fact, the absence of bees in all the above photos is due to the lack of my photographic skill and no other reason, because both the goldenrod and asters have been covered with all kinds of critters all fall.
Evidence that I have let Mother Nature take her course--too much so, sometimes--can be seen in the very front of the butterfly garden. I am guessing this is some type of aster, but I really don't know. Whatever it is, it is something I would generally classify as a weed. But it does look rather pretty right now in bloom, so I'll let it stay for the moment. Heaven knows, I have enough other weeds to keep me busy for now.
One aster that I can positively identify is this one: 'October Skies' Aster oblongifolius, or more properly, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium. A cultivar of the native Aromatic aster, it was planted in the arbor bed to provide some much-needed late color. By next week, it should be a mass of light blue blooms just in time for October.
Another reason I love fall, especially this year, is that we've had more butterflies than I've seen all the rest of the year. The scarcity of Monarchs in particular is a concern for many of us, so I was happy to have this visitor stop by last weekend. He enjoyed one of my favorite non-natives, the zinnias, and to my delight eventually settled on the 'Zowie Yellow Flame'--perfect color coordination, don't you think?
Wildflower Wednesday is officially celebrated the fourth Wednesday of every month, but is celebrated every day of the year by our hostess Gail of Clay and Limestone. You're welcome to join in to honor those native plants that provide so much more than just a pretty face.