There is no doubt that autumn has arrived here in Central Illinois. Temperatures have started to climb back up in anticipation of mid-80s this weekend, but there is crispness in the air that only accompanies fall.
There are holdouts of summer found throughout the garden, like this Lantana 'Citrus Blend', but even its black-blue seed pods betray a slow trudge towards fall.
As I walked through the garden tonight, the familiar swoosh-crunch, swoosh-crunch of fallen leaves underfoot reminded me that the growing season is coming to an end. It is time for the plants that define fall to come into their own.
One of the few annuals that I successfully grew from seed, this Gomphrena 'QIS Mix' has reached its prime.
Last fall, I planted two 'Little Henry' Sweetspire shrubs (Itea virginica) to add more fall color to the back border. This year, they are one of the first to put on an autumn show. I may need to give them more water next year to help prevent the early leaf curl it's exhibiting this year.
One of the fall mainstays in my garden is Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus'. Several drifts of this large ornamental grass have started to flower, sending up their dark bronze flower heads to dance in the breeze. They are especially beautiful when hit with the warm morning or evening sun.