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Gold in the Gardens

Fall colors are starting to fill the gardens and gold is the color of
the season. The many shades of yellow are catching everyone’s
eye and several are creating quite a stir. There’s lots of gold to be
found, and you’ll find it in our flowers, fruits and foliage.
The first plant that comes to mind is the Hardy orange, Poncirus
trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ that covers the arch behind the Bell
Tower. It get attention year-round but especially now as the
foliage turns yellow and the fruits become golden. Don’t let its
beauty fool you. Its daunting thorns create an impenetrable
hedge that has been used since Colonial days to fence in
livestock; the US military also even used it as security fencing!
The fruits are extremely bitter and unsuitable for eating, however
they can be made into marmalade.
Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon' fruit with thorns     Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon' bloom
Two unusual flowers are blooming now and both belong to the pea
family. Crotalaria spectabilis (Showy Rattlebox) has been
blooming in the Sawtell Rose Garden for many weeks and is the
perfect foil for the roses. It was originally used to increase the
fertility of depleted agricultural land but it has naturalized
throughout the SE. The spikes of bright yellow flowers are
followed by distinctive seed pods that, when dried, are the source
of its common name.
Crotalaria spectabilis - Showy Rattlebox
Cassia corymbosa (aka Senna corymbosa) is a beautiful shrub
covered with pendulous clusters of yellow, pea-like flowers. These
flowers are butterfly favorites and it is a host plant to several of
our Sulphurs, especially the Cloudless Suphur. These lovely
butterflies bring a different type of golden beauty to our fall
gardens.
Cassia corymbosa flowers
Soon you will see our garden mums coming into bloom. We have
many different shades of these tough perennials but one of my
favorites is ‘Ryan’s Yellow’. It will be covered in butter yellow
flowers in a few weeks and these flowers attract butterflies by the
hundreds. It’s quite a show and worthy of a visit on a warm
afternoon.
Help add more gold to our gardens with Bloomin’ Bucks! Buy your bulbs here and 25% of the purchase goes to Oakland at the end of the season.

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