The Big Show Has Ended, but Some Color Lingers On

The big show has almost ended, but some colorful leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers linger  on.

Part 1 Herbaceous plants and grasses.

The clusters of lavender-blue daisy flowers of Smooth Blue Aster (Aster laevis) are still in bloom.  It grows 2-4′ tall, blooming from September through early November.

The Heath Aster (Aster ericoides), so-called because its tiny narrow leaves resemble that of Heath is re-blooming.  Its tiny white daisies form elongated clusters of blossoms, in bloom from  mid-September through early November.  The compact plant  grows to 2 1/2′ tall and around and likes a well-drained, sunny situation.

The seed heads of Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum) are notable.   The clusters of little white button flowers bloom at the top of 3′ stems  in July and early August in mesic and wet-mesic prairies.  The foliage, not the flowers, is aromatic.

The seed spikes of Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum) make exclamation points in the landscape in fall and winter.  Elegant in all seasons, the white-flowered spikes bloom at the top of 2-6′ stems in July and August.

The foliage of  Tall Coreopsis (Coreopsis tripteris) has turned to wine.  Clusters of yellow daisies top the 6-8′ stems in bloom from mid-July through mid-September.  It seeds itself about, but, in my opinion, is always welcome.

The dark green leaves of Eastern Beebalm (Monarda bradburiana) are flushed with  burgundy.

Grasses dominate the landscape now.  Prairie Dropseed  (Sporobolis heterolepis) adds grace to any garden.


In the fall, the foliage of Little Bluestem (Schizachrium scoparium) turns to copper that lasts through the winter.

The feathery seeds sparkle like diamonds in the sunshine.

The Silphium are–well–interesting.  Prairie Dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum) is shown above and Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum) below. Both grow 8-10′ tall with clusters of bright golden daisies at the top of the stems.  The leaves of both are striking–the large segmented leaves of compass plant point north and south, while the huge spade-shaped, long-stemmed rough leaves of  Prairie Dock  always remain cool to the touch even on the hottest summer day.  The leaves of both add character to  the landscape and dried arrangements.

This list is longer than I thought it would be.  I’ll add the still colorful woody plants to it in a couple of days.  Stay tuned.

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7 Responses to The Big Show Has Ended, but Some Color Lingers On

  1. Trish Beckjord November 11, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    Pat, I always love reading your blog and the images are always superb, but what I almost love the most are your introductory quotes. They are always so wonderful and perfectly paired with whatever you are writing about. Thanks for being such a wonderful voice out there!


    • Pat Hill November 11, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      Have you read John Madson’s book Where the Sky Began, Land of the Tallgrass Prairie?

      I recommend it highly.

  2. sue November 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    Hi Pat,
    I agree with Trish, your quotes are wonderful, they add great context to the pictures. I have John Madsen’s book and love it.

    • Pat Hill November 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

      I should have recommended it in the body of the piece. I’ll have to do a piece on great environmental books this coming winter.

  3. June Keibler November 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    You perfectly frame each and every photo highlighting the plant(s)to their best advantage. Lovely images. It is always wonderful to see beauty through your eyes.

  4. Suzanne Massion November 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    I echo everyone else’s comments, Pat, on your selection of poetry. I’m not familiar with John Madson’s book, but I intend to be. All the comments indicate I’ve missed out on something. The dropping temperatures and light snowfall herald things to come. The robins have left but the Juncos are back.

    • Pat Hill November 12, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

      I haven’t seen any juncos yet.

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