First is this photo of a painted lady feeding on the asters in the wood nymph garden. (It's hard to see because I was fairly far away, but the butterfly is almost exactly in the middle of the frame.) While this isn't the best picture of a painted lady, it commemorates two other neat phenomena. First, this is the first painted lady that I remember seeing in my garden this year, despite all of the other butterflies that have made this yard their home. Second, although I haven't been able to capture it in a photograph, these asters are positively bouncing and humming with insect life right now. There are literally hundreds of bumble bees and skippers moving constantly from flower to flower, with occasional other butterflies and insects joining in the feeding frenzy. It's stunning to watch.
Next is this photo of a native, fall-blooming tickseed, Coreopsis integrifolia 'Chipola River', blooming beside one of the paths in the yard. These coreopsis have proven to be extremely happy in their bed, and I have debated all year long as to whether I should thin them out and rein them in. Now that they are blooming so cheerfully, I'm glad that I resisted the impulse. There's time enough to redefine their limits when cold weather comes.
Although the flowers seem full of life still, the half-century fountain shows a different side of the season. Full of fallen pine needles, dead dogwood leaves and bright red dogwood berries, it is almost a quintessential picture of autumn's movement towards winter's quiet.