During a late afternoon ramble through the garden I noticed the simple dignity and beauty of this fading Clematis flower.
For the most part I have been letting the plants die back naturally, leaving seed heads for the birds and winter interest. This suits my gardening style and is a good way to postpone cleanup chores until at least January.
Four and five-foot stalks of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ criss-cross and lean along the southern side path, each topped with brown cones. At the base its large leaves are in various stages of change.
This fall there have been several brief periods of cold nights and a couple of hard frosts, but soon the weather warms again. A small Spiraea transplant, after experiencing this transition from cold to mild temperatures and detecting a similar amount of daylight as in spring, sent out a few more flowers this week, even as its leaves turned rich red-orange rust and rosewood.
In many areas mounds of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) soften the garden at this time of year and fill the beds with soft greens, reds, yellows and burgundies.
The cold temperatures have damaged many of the sasanqua blooms, but the shrubs are full of buds and continue to brighten the northeast corner of the house.
Fifty-two degrees at 4:50 pm. Overcast most of the day. The sky was deep blue and clear during my garden walk but the sun was low and most of the garden had fallen into shadows. Chapel Hill and about two-thirds of the state are in a moderate drought with little chance of rain forecast. Temperatures will edge back up into the seventies by the weekend.