Only in October
They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here-
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizing'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock-
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
James Whitcomb Riley
I came across this poem while looking for an autumnal introduction to this blog. I love the colorful language and the description of summer giving way to fall. This is only one stanza of the poem, but the one that spoke to me of the season. I always love this time of year, with cooler temperatures, even though the flowers are fading and I know winter is just around the corner.
There are a number of plants that have appeared here and there in my garden, unplanted by me. These volunteers tend to do much better than the seedlings I carefully nurture and place where I feel they will thrive. Mother Nature knows a lot more than me. This amaranth - not sure what it is - is about 8 feet tall, and I have had to tie it to the fence to keep it from tumbling to the ground with the weight of it's seed heads. It is not even remotely near where I planted amaranth last year, but I was fortunate to recognize the seedling for what it was, and left it alone.
Behind my barn - about as far awy from the mother plants as it could be, is a giant perilla. It is growing up through the gravel at the dooryard. One can hardly make it through the barn door, it has spread so well. I plan to save seeds from it, as it is clearly much hardier, fuller and deeper purple than the plants near my back door. It doesn't even get that much sun, as it is nestled between two greenhouses. But it obviously likes its chosen spot.
Another plant that I always have volunteers of is nicotinana. This plant springs up in various places in the yard, happily crowding out the other plants, as it grows quite fast and its large leaves shade out many neighboring plants. Its flowers are loved by many pollinators. and I enjoy seeing it thrive.
One plant that I had to take stern measures with this year was morning glory. It has taken over much of the sensory garden, completely covering the rosemary I planted, and several other plants. I hate to be ruthless with a thriving vine, but it had to be done, or I would have lost my newly planted German Thyme, echinacea, and a few others. It has even crept into the greenhouse, and I had to muscle it out of the doors so I could close the doors when the nights dictated that I must.
There are always volunteer tomatoes, usually cherry tomatoes, that frequently catch up with those I have started in Feb, and set out in May. In fact, they are still going strong, while those I planted have more or less given up. What is it they know that I don't?
So, when you are weeding, keep a sharp eye out for what is growing. You might just be pulling out a useful plant that just plain wants to grow where it decides it should be. Since I hand weed, I can usually identify the seedlings of weeds from those of the "good" plants. Bonus plants - I really like that.