One of the most interesting things about the fall season is the ability to observe the transformation from lush flowers and foliage to seed heads and dried leaves that flutter on the wind. It's the beginning and the end of two gardening seasons for many plants. The seeds are the bridge that will reach across the gap and bring us a fresh new spring.
The autumn seeds of an aptly named 'Autumn Joy' Sedum have transformed into chocolate brown seeds. It was well pollinated by the bumble bees and will come back larger each year with a greater display.
This Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrinus' or Zebra grass is back lit by the afternoon sun. The seed plumes of ornamental grasses are one its most valuable features. It pains me to see ornamental grasses pruned short in the fall (as is commonly done in commercial landscapes) when their winter interest is so great. If you want winter interest ornamental grasses are a very good way to go.
The birds are just as likely to enjoy the seed heads of the rudbeckia as we are. The seeds will self sow each year bringing more plants and consequently more flowers. This particular plant thrived in our rain garden which helps to absorb the excess water from our driveway. I planted a few plants into it but mostly allowed zinnias and rudbeckias to take over by sprinkling seed in the spring. I have plans to improve it for next year but I'll save that for another time!
Here's an interesting specimen. I was pulling out the dead basil and dropped it temporarily into a large pot that was nearby. Rather than move it to the compost bin I thought I would leave it for a while to add some contrast to our winter landscape. Even though it's brown and dead it gives the eye something to gaze upon when everything is bare.