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The Wild Garden

September 26, 2014

pale roadside astersOne of the splendors of the Maine landscape is that so much of it is wild, including the great north woods and other undeveloped rural lands. As autumn settles in and the plants in my Maine garden go dormant, my attention turns more and more to what I call the “wild garden” – the (mostly) native plants blooming vibrantly along the edges of the woods and the sides of local country roads.

Late varieties of Solidago are still glowing with the bright golden hues that give them their common name of “goldenrod.”

late blooming solidago late solidago macro

And this is the prime season for native asters. Most are fairly demure, with small flowers in shades of white, lavender and lilac.

white aster pale pink aster
But the clear star of the fall aster display is not at all demure.  Whenever I see the blooms of New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), a tall (4’-7’) plant with big showy flowers in shades of deep pink and violet, my heart beats faster. new england asters

new england aster macro

sumac fall foliageThe floral display of the wild garden is enhanced by the vibrant colors of fall foliage just beginning to turn. Right now, scarlet hues predominate. This stand of sumac (Rhus), for example, is growing along the edge of the woods on a neighbor’s property line. Whether I look up into the trees or down at the ground, this color is repeated over and over again.

fall foliage detail2

fall foliage detail

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Nell Jean permalink
    September 26, 2014 10:27 pm

    Autumn color reaches you first. Our sumac is still green and goldenrod is yellow only in a few places. Love your Virginia Creeper banner at the bottom — ours is usually vertical on a tree.

    • October 2, 2014 7:12 pm

      Nell Jean, Thanks for identifying the Virginia creeper. I felt like I should know what it was, but I didn’t! When I go out for my morning walk these days, I see it’s vivid red vines creeping along the ground at the side of the road everywhere.

  2. September 26, 2014 11:23 pm

    My idea of heaven: a wild garden adjoining my cultivated one.

    • October 2, 2014 7:13 pm

      Kris, There are quite a few beautiful wild gardens in my neighborhood. I passed one house today with a big stand of purple and pink New England Asters blooming in a wild band along the side of the property.

  3. September 29, 2014 4:04 am

    Hi Jean, the “Wild Garden” is what I call the bottom third of my garden, which is full of trees, out-of-control shrubs and rampant bramble. I think it used to be a border, which has now gone rogue; it looks far less prettier than yours.

    • October 2, 2014 7:15 pm

      Sunil, The colors here are glorious at this time of the year.

  4. September 29, 2014 6:51 pm

    I agree Jean that the wild gardens are beautiful and on full display now…and really my whole garden turned into a wild garden this year…we will be trying to tame a reclaim a bit of it again.

    • October 2, 2014 8:04 pm

      Donna, Here, at least, spring’s wild flowers are small and shy, but fall’s are more likely to be large and flamboyant — one last extravagant, colorful party before winter.

  5. October 22, 2014 9:12 am

    Beautiful photos! The garden seems great! Thanks for sharing! Greets!

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