Okay, the Mosquitos may be as large as hummingbirds, but we are lucky to live in this area because something is always blooming, even in the middle of winter. We have some shrubs and plants that only bloom in the late fall and it makes the end of summer a little more palatable.
Here are a few of my favorites:
I love Senna shrubs this time of the year. This plant has really two names Cassia and Senna. It seems like the botanical world has not quite made up its mind. Whatever you call it, the yellow flowers cannot be beat. It does spread by volunteers so be on the look out if you do not want little trees everywhere. One other issue is that their roots are not very deep so they tend to blow over in storms. I have stuck mine back in the ground about four times (ummmm, four times, four hurricanes)
Keeping with the yellow theme – Salvia madrensis or forsythia sage is a deer resistant perennial that grows about five feet tall with long drooping flowers. You know that I have never met a salvia or sage that I didn’t like! Just place this beauty some place where it can droop – it does take up space.
And how could anyone forget our wonderful native grass, Muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) or sweetgrass? Besides providing material for the Gullah people to make lovely woven baskets, this grass puts on its show every October. I love the pinkish purple inflorescences, but there is also a white variety that is pretty spectacular in a grouping.
Another favorite of mine is just about to burst into bloom. It grows naturally along the marsh and has spread to other undisturbed areas. I have never known anyone to plant it. It is Sea myrtle (Baccharis halimifolia) or consumption weed. It has been used in the past as a medicinal plant for coughs hence the common name.
I like it better when the white flowers are in tight bud because they are a cream color.
The flowers are very fluffy and you will notice the seeds floating through the air.
And lastly, a not so favorite plant so take this as a warning. You may have noticed an incredibly enticing scent in the air lately – kind of peppery like a Viburnum. The tiny flowers of this plant give off a sweet aroma, but beware, it is very invasive. The scientific name is Elaeagnus, but there are several varieties with common names such as Russian olive and autumn olive. This vine like shrub seemingly grows over night. It has been used by landscapers as a barrier between houses because it grows fast and thickly.
I have it in my yard and I love the smell, but hate the plant. It is susceptible to scale and can really get out of hand quickly. They like it in Europe, but here, let the gardener beware.
So enjoy the cooler fall temperatures and on your walk look for some of these October bloomers.
Next time I will take you on a field trip to Danny Payne’s native plant nursery right here in the heart of the Lowcountry. Should be fun.