Autumn morning walk with Stella at the UC Davis Arboretum

Even though our current daytime temperatures might trick you into thinking it’s early or late summer, the warmth and angle of the light don’t lie: Fall is here.

Other harbingers of the season include flowering muhly grasses and autumn sages. I saw plenty of them this morning on my walk with our dog Stella at the UC Davis Arboretum. Even though Stella didn’t really understand why I wanted to stop so often, she was a good sport and let me take the pictures you see in this post.

There are plenty of Muhlenbergia grasses at the Arboretum, especially the native deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens), but the real star right now is the muhly grass (Muhlenbergia reverchonii ‘Undaunted’). When in full bloom, its airy flower stalks look like a mist of water frozen in mid-spray.

Muhlenbergia reverchonii ‘Undaunted’ and Muhlenbergia rigens (back)

Muhly grass looks particularly nice...

...when combined with autumn sages (Salvia greggii)

I love the water mist effect

More vigorous bloomers:

Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica))

Generally, I’m pretty lukewarm when it comes to lantanas, but these flowering mounds are pretty darn spectacular

Deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) and electric blue sage (Salvia chamaedryoides)

Electric blue sage (Salvia chamaedryoides) and yellow-flowering salvia (Salvia sp.)

Muhlenbergias and salvias are beautiful on their own, but add agaves to the mix, and you get magic:

Agave parrasana and Salvia chamaedryoides

Agave gypsophila with an emerging flower stalk

Muhlenbergia rigens, Salvia greggii, and Agave ovatifolia and Agave americana

Muhlenbergia rigens and Agave americana

Muhlenbergia rigens and Agave ovatifolia

More Agave ovatifolia and flowering salvias

More Agave ovatifolia and flowering salvias

Tecoma stans and flower stalk from Dasylirion wheeleri

Weeping myall (Acacia pendula), a fall-flowering Australian acacia

There are thousands of daturas (Datura wrightii) in flower all over campus right now. The bees are going nuts!

Datura wrightii

Datura wrightii

And finally a great silhouette of Stella, our Formosan mountain dog:

Look for more photos from the Arboretum soon!


© Gerhard Bock, 2022. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.

Comments

  1. You picked the perfect time of day for your picture-taking stroll - or rather dog-walk. I'm glad Stella was accommodating. The muhly grass is spectacular when backlit.

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  2. Yes the golden slanted light at this time of year is so indicative of Fall despite the temps. You can see this is Stella's long shadow which makes her look like a doberman on point. Absolutely stunning photos. Looks like it was a lovely morning for your walk. I am particularly fond of grasses (have to be living on the prairies) at this time of year as they turn beautiful shades of gold, orange and red. Muhly's are lovely but alas not hardy for us. Those lantana are spectacular. My puny little specimens will be saying good-bye soon with the coming frost.

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    1. This anonymous thing is a pain.

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    2. Stella looks like a much more formidable creature than she really is :-)

      Everything looks so good right now. I was surprised!

      As for the "anonymous" thing, I feel your pain. It happens to me also sometimes when I leave comments on other blogs. Aaargh.

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  3. The autumn light is perfect for the Muhlys. Salvias are saviors at this time of year, when the summer bloomers are exhausted and the cool season plants are just waking up.

    Was wondering if there would be a photo of the beautiful Stella, and that one did not disappoint.

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    1. Stella doesn't like to be photographed (I think the camera/phone feels threatening to her) so I have to be sneaky.

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    2. Very different from Samoyeds. They will do anything for food. Camera in their face? If there's a treat in your hand, no problem!

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    3. Stella was a street dog in Taiwan for the first four months of her life, and it shows in surprising ways.

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  4. ‘…like a mist of water frozen in mid-spray.’

    Great description. And it looks like a a beautiful grass from your photos. I I don’t think it’s available here (possibly customs won’t let it be imported as many of our worst environmental weeds are grasses). It sure is pretty though.

    I had to chuckle at the photo of Stella - it’s like she’s pondering her shadow, imagining herself as an enormous formidable canine 🙂

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    Replies
    1. Muhlenbergia revercherchonii is native to Oklahoma and Texas and similar to (but smaller than) M. capillaris.

      Stella was on the lookout for ground and tree squirrels. They're her nemesis.

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  5. The Daturas and Stella are my favorite photos. I am not a huge fan of the grasses but in the morning CA sun they are beautiful.

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    1. I like grasses in large drifts. In a small garden like ours they never look that great, I find. Which is why we don't have any ornamental grasses anymore.

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