Flowers to catch the falling light

There seems to be a different quality to the flowers that bloom late. I could be making this up but they seem to absorb the light more than reflect it like summer flowers do. (Don’t they?) Maybe it’s just that the lower light makes everything catch it and keep it, summer’s hanger-onner blooms included Or maybe fall flowers seem extra-special and luminous simply because they keep the season colorful for us and nutritious for the wildlife right up to the bitter cold. (Click on pictures for better view.)

Asters and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ have finally come into their own and the space they’ve taken up all summer is totally justified (except for the 4′ wide ones in the North Garden that bloom even later than this…)

What would we do without fall blooming grasses like purple love grass (Eragrostis spectabilis) and pink muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)? Both are natives and I know the purple love grass reseeds because I have it coming up like a puff of smoke out of a driveway crack at home. I don’t remember ever growing the mist grass before and I’m deeply in love (but can’t seem to take a decent picture of it.) Even if that doesn’t reseed (and I don’t know if it’s likely to), I’m looking forward to the clumps increasing enough to get a good shot. This year we’re going to try to winter-over purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’) down cellar. Anyone had any luck with that?

The toad lily (Tricyrtis hirta) surprises everyone, even those of us who have always been fond of it. It’s just that strange and lovely.

But strangest of all is the crabapple in bloom down at the water’s edge. We can only surmise that it is under extreme stress after being defoliated by Irene, swamped by extra high tides and subjected to wide night-temperature swings in the last couple-three weeks. Clearly it’s desperate to survive – like it always has so far in the toughest spot. Fingers crossed. There may be a new crop of apples yet for the birds…

What’s catching the light in your garden?