Beautiful autumnal weather here in Pennsylvania. Cool nights and days in the 70’s encourage the blooming of fall favorites. The sunlight is less intense and the flower colors are less washed out than in the summer. Lilac purple Colchicum flowers have been out for about a week. This week the buttercup yellow flowers of Sternbergia emerged from the ground. This flower is a lesser known autumn planted and also autumn blooming bulb that comes from drier regions around the Mediterranean Sea. The best swath of Sternbergia that I have seen was on a steep bank at Oatlands Historic House and gardens, near Leesburg, Virginia. The yellow clumps of Sternbergia had obviously multiplied to produce a spectacular show. I was not sure how they would do in my cooler climate but I decided to try them. The first place that I tried was probably not hot and dry enough as they lasted a couple of years and then disappeared. I planted my next batch of Sternbergia bulbs in my sunset garden here at Northview. This garden faces the hot western sun to provide the summer baking that these bulbs seem to need to flower. The bed is raised and mulched with river gravel. They did so well that I bought more the next year. You have to visit the Sternbergia patch every day at this time of year, as suddenly they seem to pop out. A papery covering protects the flower as it emerges out of the ground. The stem elongates and six petal-like tepals open up in the sun. I noticed one today that only had four tepals. The shape of the flower looks like a large goblet shaped crocus. The heights of the stem and flower range from 2.5 – 7 inches tall. No animals have tried to eat the Sternbergia. They are closely related to daffodils and contain alkaloids that do not make them a tasty treat. The narrow green strap-like leaves seem to be coming out with or after the flowers. The well-known bulb expert Judy Glattstein visited my garden this week with the Tohickon Garden Club. She suggested that I might have a couple of different Sternbergia species. I bought them all as Sternbergia lutea, but maybe I have more than one species? Whatever they are called, I would highly recommend the autumn daffodil if you can provide a hot dry sunny place and need a punch of bright yellow in your September/October garden.