The “core” of Powell Gardens was decked out in peak fall attire on November 2, 2008, when I took this picture. The overall fall colors of our local oak-hickory woodlands are in these burnt reds, oranges and brown. Like our Mission statement: we embrace our spirit of place. We may not have the fiery colors of the mountains of New England or the golds of Colorado aspens but we have a beautiful blend of colors all our own.
The Missouri native Common Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is one of our few woody plants that bloom in the fall. The lightly scented, spidery flowers are always a last floral hurrah in the woodland understory. This small “understory” tree is native only under the shade of others and a great addition to any shade or woodland garden.
The last butterflies enjoyed the mild spell that has just ended. Here a Painted Lady nectars on Missouri native Tall Delphinium (Delphinium exaltatum). Painted Lady butterflies are not cold hardy–new butterflies return here from Mexico each season: some years just a few and other years massive movements blow northward on spring winds.
The Missouri native Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) is one of our few deciduous conifers. Its needles turn this beautiful rusty orange in fall before dropping. We often get calls in the fall by new homeowners wondering if their “pine” is dying. After a few questions it is often that they have a baldcypress and they don’t realize this tree is supposed to go dormant for winter. The Chapungu sculpture (foreground) has been taken down now and will surely be missed.
No, this pine is not sick. It is the ‘Chief Joseph’ cultivar of Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) whose needles turn yellow in the fall and remain so through the winter. In spring the needles turn green again for the summer! Thank you to Marvin Snyder for donating this rare conifer to us. Not all evergreens are ever green! Look for this pine in the conifer garden north of the Visitor Center.