The Lurie Garden in October
October is the golden month at the Lurie Garden.
Fluffy mounds of Bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii and A. tabernaemontana) glow in the autumn sun.
I had wondered if this years hot, dry September weather would affect the Amsonia’s fall color this year. But it looks pretty good, I’d say.
Lurie Garden’s radiant vistas make me so happy that I want to hug passing strangers, and I am not a demonstrative person. However, I’ve been able to restrain myself.
Various grasses beautifully complement the Bluestar.
‘Blue Heaven’ Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is one of the grassy stars of October. Look at that color!
And how the fluffy seedheads catch the light.
But Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is the most glorious of all the grasses at Lurie, especially ‘Shenandoah’. The leaves have red streaks through the year, but in fall they begin to turn from green to yellow, as well.
One problem with Switchgrass, though, is how hard it is to come up with different ways of saying “airy seedheads”. Swithchgrass does have airy seedheads that are very attractive in autumn, but the phrase is overused. I looked up synonyms for airy and came up with “breezy”, “gaseous”, and “well-ventilated”, none of which were really helpful. So I’m open to suggestions here.
Whatever you call it, I’ve noticed that the texture of Switchgrass tempts many people to run their fingers through the upper part of the plants.
Over on the east side of the boardwalk, there’s a patch of Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium).
These are very nice, though they don’t excite me too much as I have more than enough in my own garden. I’ll be curious to see if the Northern Sea Oats ends up making a pest of itself at Lurie.
Prairie Dropseed (Sporobulus heterolepis) is spread generously throughout the Lurie Garden. At this time of year it takes on a golden color, though it no longer has that Cilantro fragrance.
Here’s a big patch of Fountain Grass ‘Cassian’ (Pennisetum alopecuroides), with the irrepressible Calamint (Calamintha nepetoides) blooming in the foreground. There was a gentle wind that day, just enough to make the grasses sway back and forth.
There were some other late blooms in addition to the Calamint. A big drift of Tatarian Aster ‘Jindai’ (Aster tataricus) was blooming its heart out.
Can’t resist blue flowers with yellow centers. Fun fact about Tatarian Aster: unlike so many unfortunate species, it was allowed to stay in the genus Aster. I guess it pays to know the right taxonomists.
Nearby, there was also a big patch of Toad Lily (Tricyrtis – not sure the variety).
There was some ‘Fireworks’ Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa) still in bloom, though most had gone over.
Of course, the seedheads of flowers like Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium, above) and various Echinaceas are a major presence in the Lurie Garden this time of year. They keep the garden full of foraging finches and sparrows.
There is really no bad month to visit Lurie Garden, but I’m beginning to think that October is one of the best.
That’s all for now.