Happy Thanksgiving! The gardens of Central Florida are taking on the look of autumn as our overnight temperatures occasionally plunge into the 40s(F). As a native New Yorker, this pleases me, since I do miss the autumn of the northeast. Florida Fall, however, has its own advantages and I’m quite thankful for all it provides.
Robins, harbingers of spring in most areas of the country make their return to Florida where they announce our impending winter. Since they also are here in spring, we get this added bonus.
The winged sumac (Rhus copallinum) brings forth its leaves turning red and gold as the abundant drupes hang awaiting the avalanche of wintering birds to chow down.
Goldenrods (Solidago spp.) blooms fade to round chunky seed heads with boundless fruits that will feed plenty.
Spider sacs explode in the Carolina Redroot (Lachnanthes caroliana) and out come the offspring of Lynx spiders with thousands of spiderlings headed to the next phase of their lives, be it adulthood or food-hood for others up the foodchain.
Grounsel tree (Baccharis halimifolia) brings out its bright silvery blooms as it goes to seed.
Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) seed pods prepare to break open to plant food for next year’s crop of Monarch and Queen Butterflies.
The native Asters (Symphyotrichum spp.) that bring life to our October and November gardens.
Silkgrass (Pityopsis spp.) offers the bright yellows that just shout AUTUMN!
I can finally look forward to our cooler nights where I will light a fire in the fireplace (yes, we do have fireplaces in Florida and need them too!) and the signs of autumn in Florida mean that it is that much closer.
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