Montana Outdoors

September 9, 2008

Moving along toward fall

The transition between late summer and early fall is a very pleasant time here in western Montana. There are still flowers in bloom down by the river;

yellow ones, (Evening Primrose)


white ones,


and purple ones with bright red berries. (Bittersweet nightshade, Solanum dulcamara, [USDA: Climbing nightshade])

Bittersweet nightshade

The rose hips are extra large this year,

Rose hips

the early red colors are beginning to show,

Start of fall

and this pretty little visitor to our apple tree is a sign that the apples are about ready.

White tail



  1. Whenever I visit your blog, I am always amazed at the strength and variety of “colors” that nature presents there in western Montana! But, I must admit a personal affinity to the color red, especially the rose hip.

    If it should EVER STOP RAINING here in New England (this year has been incredible, I feel more as those I live in the tropics), I will check out the rose hip along the coast line. Have you ever tried rose hip tea?


    Comment by Janet Wilkins — September 9, 2008 @ 12:10 pm

  2. Yes, there is a lot of color around here. Right now the fall colors are just beginning to come out. There are a few golden leaves on an aspen in our yard, I saw a little yellow in some larch yesterday, and the reds are beginning to show up.

    I haven’t tried rose hip tea, but I will this fall. There are lots of them ready to be gathered right now. I’m glad you reminded me!


    Comment by montucky — September 9, 2008 @ 1:26 pm

  3. The Nightshade (Solanum) is especially lovely. Last fall, perhaps Oct. or early Nov. I spied some beautiful purple foliage along a creek in central Oregon. It turned out to be this same plant. I had never seen such lovely purple foliage in the wild before. Hope this one does the same thing! All of your late Summer pics are especially lovely!


    Comment by Chris — September 9, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

  4. It certainly is a colorful plant and I see it in lots of places around here, especially near streams. I posted a rather different photo of it some time ago that you might enjoy, its reflection in a stream: NIGHTSHADE.


    Comment by montucky — September 9, 2008 @ 3:12 pm

  5. Just don’t try any nightshade tea LOL…but yes, our autumn will soon look like yours. We have the same yellow flowers down by the river, the same nightshade, the same rosehips, the same colored leaves…and of course the whitetailed deer are abundant here as well. Your photographs are beautiful!


    Comment by Tabbie — September 9, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

  6. Yes, Nightshade’s beauty sure hides its dark side, doesn’t it? It’s interesting that at least at this time of year our environments have so much in common, isn’t it? It will also be interesting to see the differences once fall really takes hold.


    Comment by montucky — September 9, 2008 @ 4:57 pm

  7. I’m planning my semi-annual drive through Northern Idaho and Northwestern Montana. I try to spend a week or so up there in the Spring and Fall.

    When do you think the Fall colors will peak this year?

    Thanks so much for the great images and commentary.


    Comment by John — September 9, 2008 @ 5:14 pm

  8. That yellow flower is outstanding,… it looks almost like an oil painting!


    Comment by Cedar — September 9, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

  9. John,

    I reviewed my photos from last year and here’s what I came up with:

    The last week of September, the low brush and shrub species were very colorful.

    The first of October, the aspens at the higher elevations were yellow and gold already. By October 10th the Larch had turned and from then to the end of the month everything was colorful, with the best around the 15th.

    This year so far seems quite similar, so I’d have to guess about the middle of October for the most and brightest colors.

    Part of it, of course depends on what kind of snow season we have also: last year it started in mid-November in this area.


    Comment by montucky — September 9, 2008 @ 6:26 pm

  10. Thanks, Cedar!

    I don’t even know what that flower is, but it sure does have deep color, it’s a quite tall plant and blooms late. There was full sun when I took that photo, and somehow the exposure that it took for the flower also brought out the blue tones of the background brush.


    Comment by montucky — September 9, 2008 @ 6:31 pm

  11. I have just discovered your blog and have enjoyed my visit. Your photos are delightful.


    Comment by Denise — September 9, 2008 @ 7:11 pm

  12. nice series of photos. that second one, the white flowers looks like a bouquet. nice of your “deer” friend to take a moment to pose for the camera


    Comment by silken — September 9, 2008 @ 7:30 pm

  13. Thank you, Denise, and thanks for visiting!


    Comment by montucky — September 9, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

  14. Thanks, Silken! I thought exactly the same thing about the little white flowers; Nature’s bouquet. The doe came for apples and then sampled the sunflower seeds we leave out for the birds.


    Comment by montucky — September 9, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

  15. Oh, so gorgeous! I loved the purple and red of the nightshade. And of course the deer is a *beauty*.

    Those rose hips look lovely–there must be something delicious to do with them.


    Comment by Sara — September 9, 2008 @ 8:28 pm

  16. I was thinking the same thing about the rose hips, Sara, especially after Janet mentioned rose hip tea. Then after I found THIS site about them I picked a small bag and will try some tea at least.


    Comment by montucky — September 9, 2008 @ 8:54 pm

  17. The yellow bloom belongs to the genus Oenothera or, more commonly, Evening Primrose.


    Comment by Chris — September 9, 2008 @ 9:34 pm

  18. Thanks, Chris! I’ve been looking for that ID for quite awhile!


    Comment by montucky — September 10, 2008 @ 6:09 am

  19. Great news! Thanks.

    One of the supervisors working for me beat me to the punch and put in for time off Sept 29 – Oct 3 so I can’t be absent during that period. I was really worried she’d taken the “peak week” up in your area.

    I’ll start making Bed and Breakfast reservations immediately.

    Thanks again for your advice and for this great site. When the stress builds up during the day, I take a five minute “Montucky Break” and can feel the blood pressure falling.


    Comment by John — September 10, 2008 @ 10:37 am

  20. Beautiful images Terry, how is the fire season shaping up this year, haven’t heard too much about any big fires as of yet ?


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — September 10, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

  21. John,

    Well, I hope we’ll have the same pattern as last year and that you have a great experience when you come!


    Comment by montucky — September 10, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

  22. Bernie,

    We’ve had a very easy fire season this year around here. There have been quite a few small ones but nothing major. I was involved in several. The eastern part of the state had a couple of big ones but the west pretty much escaped and since we’ve had wet and cold weather lately, the F.S. is already conducting some prescribed burns. After last year we needed a break.


    Comment by montucky — September 10, 2008 @ 7:10 pm

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