The datura is supposed to bloom from June through October, but the only flowers it produced all year were the two at the end of October, in rapid succession. The first one had shriveled by the time the second one opened, but here you can see the bud of the second alongside the bloom of the first. This species is native in almost every state in the United States - from Washington and California to Maine and Florida.
This is the first, which had a relatively pale purple tinge around the edge.
And this is the second, which had a darker purple tinge. That's the California fuchsia in the upper left.
Here are some more shots of the California fuchsia.
Here's the Eastern Mojave buckwheat again, accompanied by non-native scarlet mallow (Sphaeralcea philippiana) in the upper left.
In the picture below, I believe the plant to the left of the rock is a bizarrely mutated black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta). The leaves look right, and the black "eye" looks right. However, the flower head has no stem whatsoever, and no yellow ray florets - just a fringe of green.
The red flowers are of course California fuchsias. The foliage at the lower right is a blue flax (Linum lewisii) seedling, and the foliage at the upper left is non-native prairie coneflower (Ratibida columnifera).
I created a new flower bed in the front yard this month, at a right angle to the bed I've been showing you pictures of so far. The lawn was mostly dead in one area due to shade from the oleanders, so I dug out what remained of the lawn in that area and planted lower-growing shrubs and wildflowers. The shrubs are California lilac (Ceanothus 'Joyce Coulter') on the left and skunkbush (Rhus trilobata) on the right.
And here is Susan on the front porch at the end of October (reading a book about the U.S. Supreme Court). The tallish plant between her and the pumpkins is the same skunkbush that is now in the new flower bed. Its leaves have turned mostly yellow just in the last two weeks.
Now let's move on to the back yard. Here's a picture from two weeks ago.
And here's one from today. The changes are subtle, but the golden currant in the corner between the fence and the house is showing more fall color every day. The blue elderberry has started blooming again, and the hairy gumplant is blooming more than before - both of these last two developments being due probably to recent rainstorms, which filled the non-draining drainage ditch to the brim for much of the time between when I took the two pictures.
California aster (Symphyotrichum chilense) is still going strong, as is the rosilla (Helenium puberulum) that is just poking a few flower heads in from the left of the frame. The aster is also known as Pacific aster, because it grows from California north to British Columbia.
Of my three foothill beardtongue (Penstemon heterophyllus 'Blue Springs') plants, only one blooms in the fall. I think it receives more moisture than the other two. I suspect it will be unhappy about the extra moisture when we start getting hard frosts, but for now it's still enjoying itself.
The blue elderberry (Sambucus mexicana) flowers attract a huge variety of insects. Although I thought at first that these were two different bee species, it turns out that they're actually two different hoverfly species - and coincidentally, apparently the same two that are shown in the Sierra Foothill Garden blog post from yesterday about hoverflies. The larger one (Eristalis tenax) is a non-native, naturalized import from Europe. Since it's a fly, it doesn't sting. However, I don't recommend getting too friendly with it - the Wikipedia entry about it says that its larvae have occasionally been known to infest human rectums. (Just keep your clothes on when you're outside and you should be fine.)
This Pacific tree frog (Pseudacris regilla) also seems to appreciate the blue elderberry. I found it perched on the very top of the elderberry, living up to its "tree frog" name.
In addition to flowers, fall means fall color. Here's some of what the golden currant is providing.
And it means seedlings preparing for spring. Anyone know what the big leafy rosettes below are? I don't recognize them as either anything I planted or any weed that I've had in the past. I need to know whether to pull them or not!
The yellow flowers in the picture above are more of the rosilla flowers. Also currently blooming but not pictured: Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) and strawberries (Fragaria vesca 'Improved Rugen').
That's all for this month. Let's hope that some of them last until next month, and maybe a few new ones will show up as well.