Atop Hawk Mountain, Pa., 2010

Atop Hawk Mountain, Pa., 2010
Photo by R.E. Berg-Andersson

Monday, September 25, 2017

Autumn Colors

Goldenrod field 2017 (Margo D. Beller)
When I go hiking at this season, I usually look up, seeking movement in the trees that could be migrating birds. It is up to MH to look at things on the ground including caterpillars, toads and dog poo, and warn me not to step in or on it.

Lately, however, I've been looking at the flowers. What follows are pictures of flowers I've seen in my wandering. (Note: This was intended to be a slideshow but for some reason this template is not letting me put in page breaks.)

I used to confuse goldenrod with ragweed and would pull it out of my yard. I know better now. In fact, I have a small stand or goldenrod from a friend's garden, but you can see goldenrod in fields everywhere at this time of year, making even highways look pretty.

Virginia creeper in red, with blue berries 2017
(Margo D. Beller)
But there are even more flowers around and some weeds, such as Virginia creeper vine, that will turn color ahead of the trees it is climbing. This vine is not poisonous, unlike poison ivy. This one has blue berries for the birds rather than poison ivy's white berries.

Snakeroot (Margo D. Beller)

Speaking of white, one of the autumnal plants I enjoy seeing in my yard is a pretty cluster of flowers with the ugly name of snakeroot. As you can see, it can populate a whole field.

Another common white flower in Autumn, very low to the ground, is the ox-eye daisy.

(Margo D. Beller)

(Margo D. Beller)
The pink flowers of joe-pye weed are always a welcome sight in the woods and fields. This can be bought for home gardens, too. Some types have been bred small while some, such as the ones I bought, can grow over 10 feet. When the flowers bloom they are covered in bees and butterflies.

(Margo D. Beller)

I'm sure you've seen this. It goes by several names including inkweed and pokeweed. When the berries ripen to purple-blue you will see catbirds, mockingbirds and others possessively guarding the bush. These have a deep taproot so if you see one growing and don't want a field of them (the seeds are spread by bird droppings), get at it while small and dig it up completely.

(Margo D. Beller)

There are so many wonderful wildflowers I have not mentioned (and so many more beyond where I live in New Jersey) but I can't close without pointing out one of the meanest of the autumn plants, and one not particularly colorful or useful -- ragweed.

After years of suffering from its pollen, I finally got around to looking it up in a book. Now I see it all around me along the road, sometimes in towering drifts. Its foliage reminds me of chrysanthemums, which you will also see at this time of year on the shelves of garden supply stores and at your local grocery. But you don't want to plant this one in your yard.

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