Upstate fall

This past weekend upstate was so autumnal. It seems like we've gone from high summer to fall just like that. Temperatures feel colder than normal (at least in my estimation) and the color of the leaves has started. While I wait for the bulb order to arrive there is not much gardening to do, at least not until all the leaves are on the ground.

One of the old lake cabins in our neighborhood

The leaves are just starting to turn on the other side of the lake

"Der Einsame im Herbst" from Das Lied von der Erde by Gustave Mahler—Janet Baker and The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

This is my favorite house in our lake community. It is painted with creosote and we liked the charcoal shade a lot so we took our paint swatches up and held them up to the side of the house to match the color.

Big blowsy colchicums are always a surprise. I planted these autumn-blooming bulbs several years back and usually forget I have them until they pop up unexpectedly in October. Because the plants flower separately from the leaves (which come earlier in the summer and then wither away), the plants are sometimes called naked ladies. Several other plants behave similarly.
Though my naked ladies flop around in a drunken sort of way and look kind of messy, I don't judge them too harshly. I think they behave as good representations of the romantically exhausted fall garden. Plant them in late summer or early fall and they will bloom within a few weeks.

This Colchicum autumnal might be 'Lilac Wonder' but there are quite a few cultivars that look pretty much the same to me. Click the photo to see the subtly tessaleted pattern on the petals.
The plant and its extract colchicine are very poisonous if eaten, on par with arsenic. Administered carefully, it has been used for centuries to treat gout and now is being studied as a treatment for certain cancers.

Catching one last nap on our dock before it is removed for the winter

I bought a of couple of asters at the garden center. This year they are as tight as a mum. So I've really planted them for next season when I hope they will get wild and rangy. This one is called 'Frolic'. If it grows back dome-shaped next time it's coming right out.

The edge of the lake

Colchicums make unexpectedly good cut flowers. Since the long flower stems look so fragile, I thought it would droop immediately but it lasted for several days.

The rare ghost plant (aka indian pipe or corpse plant) grows fairly frequently in the dark forests around our house—we even have them in the front yard under the hemlocks and beeches. Like an apparition, Monotropa uniflora won't show itself for long. This milky white wildflower doesn't rely on chlorophyll but instead gets its nutrients from a complex relationship with nearby tree fungi. Of course, I get very excited in my own quiet way when I see them since they look like no other plant.

Our house


babszilla said...

Great posting! And the photos capture the quiet beauty of your upstate NY community to perfection.

Paulette P. said...

With the poetry of these photographs, and your house, be still my heart. Really wonderful.

Stephen Orr said...

Thank you both. I appreciate your comments!