It's getting to be fall, and the summer prairie plants are winding down. The fall ones are getting started - fall is my favorite time of year: the light is starting to have a lovely angle, and the days are warm and nights are cool. Fall is also a beautiful time on the prairie - there are fewer things flowering but the grasses are maturing. It's mostly a time of golds and purples.
In the mornings now when I go to the barn, there are soft colors to the east:
It's the time of the Goldenrods - there are many types, and they are hard to identify - let me know if you think I've got any of these wrong. The most common - it's so vigorous that it can become a serious pest - is the Canada Goldenrod:
This is Stiff Goldenrod - a large, compact flowerhead on a single stem with large leaves:
I'm not sure which of the Goldenrods this is, but it was very small, less than 1', and had distinctive leaves:
I believe this is one of the Grass-leaved Goldenrods:
Prairie Docks often have flowers that reach 7-10' in height - these had fallen down near the trail and make an interesting picture - I also managed by chance to get both of my mares in the background!
The grasses are really getting beautiful this time of year. Here's a Big Bluestem seedhead against the sky:
This is one of the Bonesets, just coming into flower:
And here is a Blue Aster - very delicate and lovely:
I like the stems and leaves of the Tall Coreopsis - they are very architectural:
The Maximillian Sunflowers are in flower now that they've attained their full height - these plants were easily 8' tall:
And here are a couple of bad guys - the first is Phragmites grass, with its pretty plumes, which is a serious invasive of wetlands - it spreads like wildfire and soon becomes a monoculture if you let it:
If you're an allergy sufferer, here's one for you - Giant Ragweed. There's a cousin called Lesser Ragweed which is shorter with finely cut leaves. It blooms at the same time as Goldenrods and for years many people thought Goldenrods were causing allergies, when in fact it was the Ragweeds with their inconspicuous flower heads that were the real cause of the problems.
And to finish up, here are some vegetables that I liked for their patterns and textures - all squash family members except for the okra, which a member of the Hibiscus family: on the left is Lady Godiva squash, which has seeds with no hulls designed for roasting (the flesh isn't very good to eat), on the right is a watermelon, and then two Black Beauty zucchinis and the okra. The watermelon was part of our organic farm share this week, and I grew the rest in my community garden plot: