Our wall calendar showed that the first day of fall arrived Sept 21. Folks in colder regions, have been welcoming lovely autumn colors. Not so here on the VA eastern shore, where we have cooler temps (thankfully) but not (yet) fall leaf colors — even flowers in the Frog & PenguINN gardens are still showing summer colors . . .Typically, we have to wait until late Oct or early Nov for autumn color. According to Grenville our seasons are: damp and miserable winter, pleasant spring, brutally hot summer, crisp and late fall .
We’re enjoying fall colors shared by fellow bloggers, thanks to Elaine at Artic View, Christer at The Cottage by the Crane Lake, another Elaine at Our Country Cove Life and Steve at Out on the Prairie. Check Mona’s Montanagirl blog to see the clash of the titans (elks).
The Frog & PenguINN wildflower gardens have lots of still-blooming yellow and orange coreopsis and multi-colored blanket flowers. . .More color is added by the Monarch and Painted Lady butterflies that are still fluttering in the wildflower meadow, keeping company with honeybees . . .Soldier beetles are keeping company with one another, and in great numbers as well . . .Some flowers have already showed their finest colors.This plant comes into the perfect fall color and shape. NO, these are not miniature pumpkins, but seed pods of the Chinese Lantern plant, also called Bladder cherry, Japanese lantern or Winter cherry. (These photos are for Margaret of Bellathena ‘s blog as her lanterns were green).The lantern plant is identifiable by the larger, bright orange to red papery covering its fruit, which resemble Chinese lanterns. It’s belongs to the Nightshade family, a family of plants, characterized by alternate leaves, usually five-petaled flowers. Other nightshade plants include eggplant, tomato, potato, capsicum peppers, tobaccos, and petunias.
The lantern plant blooms in early spring and dries in late summer. The plant's small white flowers are pollinated by bees. The calyxes, or lanterns, which begin to form as the flowers fade, are a brownish green, then turn to scarlet as they mature. Inside is a red berry. The thin mesh-like outer cover once held the flower petals.
It’s a popular ornamental plant, but is invasive with a wide-spreading root system that sends up new shoots some distance from where it was originally planted. In various places around the world, it has escaped cultivation. We have quite a few in our front flower beds and once the seeds disperse, we will have even more next year.