Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, October 15, 2012

GBBD: I Love Autumn

 The cool mornings and crisp air are a welcome relief after a long season of droughts, heat, humidity and mosquitoes! 
Ulmus rubra
It's an absolute joy to be outside, to dig in soil that has been softened by fall rains and to watch the color change begin overhead. 

It's an active time in the garden. Wildflowers welcome the foraging bees, the nectaring butterflies and a host of other pollinators as they make a mad dash to mate, to provide for offspring or to prepare themselves for migration.  
The shrubs are festooned with seeds, drupes and berries that are quickly stripped by mammals and birds or carried away on the wind. (The Gardens Not Seedy, Those Are Seed Heads)

It's the best time to photograph the critters, they're slower and I like to think they're savoring the last of the pollen and nectar. So if you don't mind, I offer these wildflowers with their humble bumble and skipper visitors for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, hosted by the always delightful Carol of May Dreams Gardens!
Pollinators congregate on the Goldenrod.

They cling to the salvia.
Yellow-collared Scape Moth has a beautiful iridescent blue/black body
They nectar upon the ex-asters and carry a dusting of pollen to the next flower they visit.
Even the grasses get into the show as they begin to bronze and go to seed, making food for dozens of birds, including a pair of Mourning Doves that nest in the garden.

Helianthus salicifolius replaces the Susans and hides small crab spiders that grab bees and other unsuspecting visitors.

 Skippers are every where flitting about...

On the Blue Mistflower,
On the New England ex-asters
On the Goldenrod.

Back on the asters...chasing one another, perching on flowers and trying to catch the big eye of a mate!

I love my garden in Autumn. I love the critters who visit and live in the garden. I love the changing colors. I love the fresh smell that blows in as the weather changes. I love the rain. I love the blue October skies. Autumn is just beginning at Clay and Limestone and if we're really lucky it will last until almost December!


PS. As a friendly reminder...If you want pollinators to visit and live in your garden, you must, never, ever, ever, ever use pesticides. They are a lot of other alternatives.

From the top:

Photo 1~A mixture of oaks, elms, ash and shagbark hickories
Photo 2~Slippery Elm against the October sky
Photo 3~Dogwood and Oakleaf hydrangea
Photo 4~Joe-Pye weed in seed
Photo 5~Ex-aster~Symphyotrichum shortii
Photo 6~Unknown solidago
Photo 7~Salvia azurea
Photo 8~S shortii with moth
Photo 9~Panicum virgatum
Photo 10~Helianthus salicifolius
Photo 11~Aster tataricus
Photo 12~Conoclinium coelestinum
Photo 13~Symphyotrichum novae-angliae
Photo 14~Goldenrod
Photo 15~Aster tataricus
Photo 15~The Susans bed with Hibiscus 'Kopper King',  ex-asters, Goldenrods, mist flowers, and lots of other treasures

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.


  1. Happy GBBD Gail. It is good to see that your bees are still up and about. Not around here. Too many frosts already. Love these colors of autumn shining in your garden.

  2. Here's to a long and drawn out autumn, dear Gail. I love it, too!

  3. Your fall garden looks lovely Gail. So nice to still see so many pollinators.

    They're mostly absent here already as we enjoy a cooler-than-usual October. It feels more like November here this month. No complaints though - it's a nice relief from our unusually hot, oppresive, very dry summer.

  4. Gail, I love the photos of all of the pollinators--what gorgeous captures! Your garden is gorgeous and inspiring--I definitely need to think more about fall color in my garden. Happy GBBD to you!

  5. A happy garden, and happy garden visitors -- including us. Happy Blooms Day, Gail.

  6. Beautiful photos! I'm a little behind you here in central Mississippi - my asters, after blooming sporadically all summer, have surged into full bloom in the past week or so. Bees all over them.

  7. I went to Louisville Thursday and the fall color was so so. Came home yesterday and wow! Had it ever popped! The hickories, sassafras, gums, and maples are splendid. Looks to be a great fall! The bees sure seem to be enjoying it all. I have your sumac dug and potted. Be sure to not let me forget to give it to you tomorrow night. If I do I warn you it will come home and find a new spot for a new colony in the garden. That's just how I am;)

  8. Your pollinator photos give us two for the price of one...blooms and pollinators!

  9. Stunningly beautiful!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
    Lea's Menagerie

  10. Love you photos of our pollinator friends. We're often so busy with our garden chores that we don't take time to watch them doing their work.

  11. I would probably share you love of Autumn if only I did not know what is to follow, that is how much I hate cold weather. Happy GBBD!

  12. Your photos are a true delight, Gail! They make me want to run out and jump in a pile of leaves:) We've had several frosty nights here so I haven't seen many pollinators around lately; I'm glad to see they're still busy enjoying your garden.

  13. Those are great captures. Autumn is so nice after such a hot summer. I think the pollinators are so busy eating they don't see us watching them.

  14. This is the time of year when the only flowers I see are in others' gardens. Thank you.

  15. Wonderful pictures. I also love watching the bumble bees on the asters and other fall blooms. Ours are all past their prime now, sadly.

  16. I usually take a long time to "savor" your posts - trying to take in all of the beauty of the photos and info in the text. This one's no exception.

  17. I love Autumn too. Your photos of pollinators are excellent, I really must get a better camera

  18. Hi Gail,

    My name is Tina Jin, the community manager for a new blogger community called Garden Gab (www.atomicreach.com/tribe/gardengab). This community will focus on tips, advice and personal stories on the subject. I want this Garden Gab community to be a place where expert advice and tips are consolidated in one place for beginner (like myself) and experienced gardeners.

    I’m currently looking for bloggers to contribute their relevant, existing content to the community, and your blog has caught my attention. I like the way you write about gardening, and how easy and approachable your gardening experiences are. (Your pictures are lovely!)

    If you decide to join, Garden Gab will publish the title of your blog posts and the first few sentences of each post. If readers want to read the full story, they’ll be pushed to your blog and give you traffic. These readers will be people who share the same passion and interests as you, which is the sole purpose of the community.

    If you’re interested in joining our community, please e-mail me back at tinajin @ atomicreach.com with “Gardening” in the subject line. If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them.

    Community Manager

  19. Heidi/ Woodland GardenOctober 16, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    I just love your blogs. I learn so much and the beauty of your photographs of your gardens feed my soul. There is nothing like our midwestern fall sky, that is for sure and certain! Gone and forgotten are the low grey cloudy skies of winter and the hazy hot humid skies of summer. Glorious blue sky!

  20. The critters knew the freeze was coming and hid...I hope to see them out more but the moths and butterflies have flown and we are left with bees. Always welcome here. I wish we had the butterflies in autumn here...oh well the blooms are bravely staying as the air is warm again...

  21. What a lovely post! I can feel your enthusiasm for the goings on in fall. Your photos are awesome!

  22. Hi Gail, it is also an absolute joy to watch autumn colors through your photos. I have been dreaming of walking barefoot on fallen autumn leaves, but unfortunately, I still have not realized that! Your photos are always so awesome, autumn or not!

  23. Gail, oh, how I wish I could stroll Clay & Limestone in the fall! Well, shoot, I wish I could stroll it in any season!

  24. Ahhhh, my blood pressure is now low and I feel serene. Lovely photos.

  25. Gail, it is always such a joy to visit your garden through your photos...amazing shots. I love the seasons, the change the renewal..

    Do you get snow?

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  26. I love Autumn, too! What a beautiful garden you have, and I love all the life buzzing around. Makes me happy on this cold and rainy morning....

  27. I'm with you all the way Gail, I love autumn! I don't have overhead trees in my personal garden, but there are enough of them at nearby parks to keep me happy.


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson