Gold on the Ground

“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”
― Jim Bishop



NEVER, NEVER, NEVER burn one of nature’s best resources – pine straw!  Pine straw  should be used for mulching garden beds. Azaleas, blueberries, camellias and other acid loving plants will appreciate your efforts.  Autumn is a great time to train little gardeners  about the BMPs of gardening.  Collect the “gold” on the ground.

Autumnal Faces

No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in an autumnal face.  John Donne

This adorable autumnal face belongs to an eastern screech owl, a resident of the Mobile County  Public Schools  System’s Environmental Studies Center.  Serving as a greeter to the many visitors attending the fall open house at the Girby Road facility, this little beauty does not exemplify the reclusive behavior of its fellow screech owls. Most screech owls will be heard rather than seen.  Click on the following link to  identify the calls of this petite raptor.

All About Birds

Autumn Revelations

I feel more confident than ever that the power to save the planet rests with the individual consumer.
– Denis Hayes

Who would have thought clothing choice could have a profound effect upon the planet?  But, it does! Synthetic fiber is responsible for 70%  of microplastics found in the oceans.  Take a deep breath — you’ve just inhaled microplastic fibers! So Mr. and Ms. Consumer, start making natural fiber choices such as cotton, linen, and wool. Organic choices would be even better.  Your grandchildren will appreciate your efforts. Learn more about microplastics at the following link





Beware Some Signs of Autumn

Of all the seasons, autumn offers the most to man and requires the least of him. ~Hal Borland

While the beautiful fall foliage may attract many admirers, some  foliage should be admired from a safe distance. Such is the case of the above vine. The changing colors are attractive, the rash is not. This vine is poison ivy, all parts of the plant contain a toxic oil.  An in other seasons, cautionary behavior in the fall  is still required. Learn more about the plant at the following link. Poison Ivy

Sweet October

Then summer fades and passes, and October comes. Will smell smoke then, and feel an unsuspected sharpness, a thrill of nervous, swift elation, a sense of sadness and departure. ~Thomas Wolfe (1900–1938), You Can’t Go Home Again

It is difficult to feel any sadness about a fading summer, when one is savoring the  flavor of a sweet, juicy satsuma just pulled from the tree.  Learn more about these autumn treats at the following site.

Satsuma care

October Party



October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came,—
The Ashes, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The sunshine spread a carpet,
And every thing was grand;
Miss Weather led the dancing;
Professor Wind, the band….
The sight was like a rainbow
New-fallen from the sky….
~George Cooper (1840–1927), “October’s Party,” c.1887

A ruby-throat arrives at the “October Party” to partake of the party favors-cardinal spear flower nectar.

Learn more about ruby-throated hummingbirds at the following site.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds

Or The Blossoms Sway In The Evening Breeze

Fall, not spring, is the time in this region to clear away dead leaves and branches, to renovate the borders, to start new gardens…. And even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn. ~Elizabeth Lawrence, A Southern Garden

While the leaves may be turning in some southern gardens, Mobile gardens still have an abundance of flowers to enjoy. In the photo, the large blue flower is  plumbago or Plumbago auriculate, while the smaller one, is pigeon berry or Duranta erecta.  Both attract a plethora of pollinators.  However, pigeon berry may not be suitable for all gardens as the small yellow fruit is toxic.

Click on the following links to learn more about these perennials.

Duranta erecta  

Plumbago auriculata

Air Potato – Invasive

Dioscorea bulbifera

The air potato vine, Dioscorea bulbifera, is an invasive species, native to Africa and Asia. A member of the yam family, this dense vine can grow 8 inches per day! It can be recognized by its heart shaped leaves and aerial tubers formed in the leaf axils. Vines can grow as long as 70 feet. The aerial tubers can sprout while quite small and the underground tubers can grow to a size of 6 inches. This invasive smothers native plants and trees and should be removed from the landscape. For more information about this plant, click on the following link. Dioscorea bulbifera


Triadica sebifera

The Chinese tallow tree, or Triadica sebifera, is a fast growing, short lived tree brought to the United States in the 1700s to provide oil for the soap industry. It has become a common invasive in the Southern U.S. The green seeds are easily spread by birds and sprout easily. Pull up the sprouts!

To learn more about this invasive species click on the following link.

Triadica sebifera

Along Came A Spider

Argiope aurantia

The common garden spider, Argiope aurantia, is a striking and welcome addition to the garden. This beneficial eats lots of insects. Females build large webs and will bite if harassed. The venom is harmless, but the bite may be painful. Learn more about this beautiful arachnid at the following link. Argiope aurantia