Sunday Afternoon Walk

At this time of the year a walk through the woods behind my house is a real experience. Your main problem is fighting off the blood sucking flying insects this part of the country can be overrun with after a few good rains. If you make the effort though you’ll have some surprises. Although green is still the predominate color around here, yellows and browns are beginning to show their coming prominence. As you wander around you will occasionally come across the brilliant reds and maroons of later in the season.

The dichotomy of fall in southeast Texas within fifty miles of the Gulf of Mexico is best explained by the act that as some leaves show their fall colors, flowers are blooming in great abundance. Most of the blooms are small and you really have to look for them.

This is wild Lantana…

from “Lantana”:
Wild lantanas are hairy and often prickly-stemmed. If rubbed and bruised, their leaves usually have a pungent odor. Verbena-like flowers are formed in clusters from the leaf axils or at the ends of branches. The small, berry-like fruits contain seeds. In some regions, Texas included, lantanas grow wild as weeds, chiefly spread by birds that are very fond of their juicy fruits. The species name for the native L. horrida, refers to the pungent odor of the crushed leaves.

In my family this plant is known as “Stinkweed” because of the odor.

These little yellow jewels are not known to me by name. They are beginning to be harder to find as I walk around. Earlier in the year they were much more common.

Even this late in the year you can find some honeysuckle blooms along the edges of the wood in protected nooks. In spring it is the aroma of honeysuckle that lets you know that summer is on the way.

My Red Oak still is predominantly green, but I did find this leaf changing color. Most of our oaks are in the process of dropping a few brown leaves a day and will continue doing so for the next month or so.

And then there is my so confused Apple tree. It does this every year, waits until the end of fall and tries to set blooms and fruit. I knew when I planted these tree we were really too far south for apples, but I had to try. I manage to get a few small apples every year and every year they bloom again in the fall…


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