September ushers in the start of the autumn season.

There are different definitions of when autumn begins.  The calendar, the sky, the changing of the natural world all can be used to call its start.

Technically, today- September 22nd- is the Autumnal Equinox, Equinox being the day where roughly equal parts of the 24-hour cycle is spent in both light and darkness.  There will be less daylight than darkness from here on out, until the Winter Solstice marks the turnaround of this process, the gradual lengthening of the day as we head towards spring next year.

Nature-wise, I always think of autumn starting when Goldenrod and Asters bloom in massive numbers here in Ohio.  There can be no denying it when this happens- warm weather’s days are numbered.  Even though summer-like warmth can linger for a while, there’s a chill in the air overnight.

So to me, early autumn is when classic autumn wildflowers are out in force, but the leaves are still green on the trees.  Full-blown autumn arrives when the trees turn as colorful as those autumn wildflowers abloom in the fields.  This will happen next month.

Here’s some photos from a hike I took a few days ago, where it became obvious to me that early autumn was indeed here.  The fields are full of color, but the woods are still green.

For more information on these plants, see my previous posts on Goldenrod and Asters.

I wanted to include a late summer prairie plant that seems to get in full bloom only by September- Tickseed Sunflower.  This is the last of the prairie plants to bloom brightly. Prairie wildflowers have had their glorious run, but the season is coming to a close.

Autumn’s next move- the trees turn yellow, red and orange, on their way to brown.  My favorite time of the year, I must admit!  This process is just getting started.