It's finally looking like October here at Squirrelhaven. We still haven't got the First Frost of the season yet, so that 80F we got on Sunday can't be considered "Indian Summer." Northern Illinois is not a tourist's destination for Autumn color, even in a good year, unlike New England, Canada, or Idaho. The dominant tree on the property, a Cottonwood, lost all its leaves by the end of September. The other trees in the woodland garden are boxelders ('nuff said). That is why I depend so much on perennials for color.
This is the native Spikenard (Aralia racemosa). Its berries are gone, but its last hurrah is not too bad. Smilacina racemosa is good in Spring and Summer, but in Autumn it really shines with its red berries and yellow-tinged foliage.
They looked better before the big wind bent them over last week.
Similarly, Polyganatum biflorum also turns a good yellow. The hosta next to it will turn yellow also, but by then the Polyganatum will have dried out and collapsed. Another plant with yellow foliage is a wild grape growing on the chainlink fence. This is truly a wild plant that I've allowed to stay because of the Autumn show.
I didn't know that the foliage of Lobelia 'Sparkle deVine' turned burgundy. I raved about this plant in "Love for Lobelias." Now there's one more reason to love it. By contrast, my other Lobelias' foliage turns yellow. Other burgundy, red or bronze Autumn foliage plants in the garden include:Epimedium grandiflorum 'Lilafee,' Hepatica acutiloba, Geranium maculatum, and Hydrangea macrophylla 'Penny Mac.'
Only a few of the woody plants have turned so far. Cornus alternifolia isn't looking so good this year,but the crabapple (Malus 'Prairiefire') is putting on a pretty good show.The best foliage color this year so far belongs to the 'Snow Queen' Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snow Queen').
I hope we get that first frost soon so the other plants can color up before their leaves fall.