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Early Autumn.

September 22, 2012

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.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2012 12:47 am

    We also have goldenrod, but seldom in that abundance! I really like the tickseed sunflower, and that’s a wonderful shot of the turning leaves!

    • September 23, 2012 7:37 pm

      Tickseed Sunflower is interesting to me- just today, I was out at another park and saw some of it not quite blooming yet. Sort of late in the season for this type of plant, I would think!

  2. Jo Woolf permalink
    September 23, 2012 4:19 am

    Beautiful photos – you can almost tell from the colour of the sunlight that autumn is on the way. Love the last pic of the leaves especially!

    • September 23, 2012 7:38 pm

      Jo, you’re right- it seems that the sunlight has a certain feel to it this time of year!

  3. September 23, 2012 8:29 am

    I love the wild asters. The field of goldenrod is beautiful, even though it causes me to use up boxes and boxes of tissues!

  4. September 23, 2012 10:10 am

    Great definition of the seasons, Tracy! We are in the middle of early autumn here as well; I love the way the sun glows around the stands of goldenrod all through our watersheds and streams. Lovely photos!

  5. September 23, 2012 4:15 pm

    It seems everything turns golden this time of year. Loved your pix–almost as good as walking among the flowers.

  6. September 23, 2012 4:40 pm

    everything looks so lush! I may be relocating to LA and if that happens, am looking forward to the cross country drive, especially to see how the season looks in different parts of the US 🙂 Lovely post!

    • September 23, 2012 7:48 pm

      That’s a great journey you may be taking Marina! Take plenty of photos, I’d enjoy seeing your trip chronicled on your blog!

  7. September 24, 2012 11:13 am

    W.S….wonderful as usual…this change of season is sure and enjoyable one…here in Arkansas, the summers are so hot…so we really look forward to a long fall…last year it lasted until spring…now that is a wonderful thing…Tickseed, what great shots of that flower…they kind of bloom as the Monarch butterflies need them in their migration, I guess…they bloom here in October along roadsides in abundance…and last into late November…leaves turn about the same time…thanks again for a great post…

    • September 24, 2012 2:40 pm

      Wow, I’ll take a long autumn to replace winter, Jim! Tickseed and the Monarch migration, I never thought of that- nature knows what it’s doing, doesn’t it? 🙂

  8. keekeepod permalink
    September 24, 2012 11:12 pm

    Thanks for helping me ID yet another plant- asters with white petals.

    Interesting how the timing is different in my yard where asters bloom AFTER most goldenrod flowers turn brown (forming seeds I assume), while goldenrods in my area’s forest preserves remain golden like in your pictures.

    • September 24, 2012 11:43 pm

      I notice differences like that among different parks in different areas around the area where I live. Perhaps it depends on microclimate differences that are above my head- it would be interesting to know these things!

  9. September 26, 2012 5:26 am

    Our goldenrods started blooming so early that some are going into a second bloom period. Yarrows are doing the same. what a crazy year it has been, weather wise.

  10. September 26, 2012 12:16 pm

    Love this summer/autumn transitioning time of year. The last photo beautifully illustrates the summer greens mingled with the autumn yellows and oranges!

  11. September 26, 2012 7:04 pm

    I love the fall colors–and asters in particular!

  12. September 29, 2012 11:06 am

    I’m glad to see a great field of goldenrod in your first picture. The two best displays that I knew of in Austin were both mowed or otherwise messed with and haven’t recovered, alas.

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