Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October Bloom Day-Most Likely the Last Hurrah

So far October has been kind.  Last year a hard freeze on October 12th pretty much obliterated most of the Bloom Day fodder.  What a difference a year makes.  Not only have we not had anything remotely resembling a frost, there doesn't seem to be one in sight.  We have experienced many nights in the upper 40s and low 50s though so the more tropical characters are pooping out.  And a scarcity of rain coupled with my lax watering habits have left the hardy garden plants a bit parched looking.  Time to call it a year. 

Soon I will begin the dismantling process and the annual leaf removal and garden cleanup.  The first curbside pickup in town is the week of November 4th with a second pickup two weeks later.  Weekend hiking excursions have become an every weekend event since Labor Day so if I want to get everything done I'm going to have to brush up on my time management skills.  But there's still plenty of time for that :).

So...what's still in bloom?  Quite a bit actually.  Let's start with some individual shots of hardy plants, showcase some of the standout annuals and then move into some long garden views.


White Bomb mums (Dendranthema Weyrichii 'White Bomb') in the front curb garden have been tough as nails for years.

A new-to-me hardy mum, Chysanthemum 'Matchsticks' appears to be a winner.  My only complaint is it's floppiness but late bloomers usually do here as sun fades dramatically when shadows start to lengthen in September.

Fading flowers of Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' will soon be featured in winter urn arrangements.  Boo hoo!

I think I'm going to shake a bunch of Cleome seeds in the front garden this fall and see if I can get a few to grow out there next year.  Some gardeners may consider them weeds but I'm not one of those gardeners.


Hosta 'Red October', unassuming for most of the season is the latest blooming Hosta in my garden.


Another long bloomer-Abelia grandiflora.

I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to some of these plants but Phlox 'Norah Leigh' belongs in everybody's garden.

As does Phlox 'Shockwave'.

Ratty foliage aside, Persicaria 'Golden Arrow' looks better now than it has all season.

This is one of a few Tricyrtis blooming now but darn they are tough suckers to photograph well.

Another floriferous Tricyrtis with flowers so delicate they only show up well in closeups.  Unfortunately I have no IDs on any of my Tricyrtis anymore.  They were lost when my last laptop crashed.

Salvia koyame is an interesting character.  A few years ago I banished it from my regular gardens because it was such a thug.  Here it grows in my dry crappy curb garden.  Maybe I should put more of it out there.

Cheerful but often overlooked Corydalis lutea seems to pop up in the most unexpected places.

Gentiana scabra is another welcome reseeder around here that seems to prefer dry, infertile soil.

For some reason I can't get decent shots of the fall blooming Anemones but I do have a few including this light pink variety and the white 'Honorine Jobert' as well as 'Queen Charlotte' and 'Robustissima'.  All are currently in bloom.

Here is one of the dark foliage varieties of Cimicifuga or Actea or whatever they're calling it now.  Colocasia 'Black Magic' provides a nice backdrop.  Remind me to plant more Colocasias in the ground again next year.

Grasses qualify for Bloom Day this time of the year.  I love this simple vignette of Miscanthus 'Sarabande' and Hydrangea serrata 'Preziosa'.

Miscanthus 'Morning Light' tends to get elbowed out by the monster Lespedeza.  Here it mingles with more Cleomes and the dark foliage of annual Hibiscus acetosella.

Time to find a sunnier spot for Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster.  Maybe when I have the oak tree on the opposite side of the driveway trimmed that will help.  At least the cat didn't sleep in them this year.

Stipa tenuissima looks infinitely better in other people's gardens.  So far I've not been able to pull the look off here.  Let's see if it comes back in the spring and take it from there.

Calamintha nepeta mixing with the berries of Viburnum dilatatum 'Cardinal Candy'.

Another must have for fall interest-Callicarpa sporting steely purple berries.

The flowers on the Amaranthus are so big and heavy now they are dragging the plants over.  Look closely and you can see the beginning of a flower of Canna 'Pink Sunburst'.

The Caladiums have long since collapsed but that sweet little Begonia is still showy in this Bloom Day repeat container.

Dragon Wing Begonias are another ace in the long blooming hole.  So far the Red Stem Colocasia is holding up well too.

More red Dragon Wing Begonias with Coleus 'El Brighto'.  For this late in the season, many of the Coleus are still looking good.

Dreaming of a garden season gone past.

Dahlias sulked during the hottest part of the summer but have really exploded in the past few weeks.  Here 'Mystic Illusion' mingles riotously with reseeding Verbena bonariensis and red Amaranthus.

Here is a wide view of this area featuring the currently defunct fountain.  Many plants have been moved to this spot to take advantage of the fading sun.

From a different angle Mystic Illusion contrasts nicely with the foliage of Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey'.

Every morning and every night I have to step over this unknown Dahlia on my way too and from the garage but I can't bear to cut it back.

From the opposite direction you can see how variegated Alyssum 'Frosty Night' has expanded and taken over the pathway.

One small plant of Double Purple Datura has filled in a space of about three by three feet.  The daisy is some sort of Kalimeris that begins the season with variegated foliage.  Burried under there somewhere is a Pennisetum 'Hameln'.

The side entry container garden is still going strong.


Even the Twerpinator approves.

It wouldn't be Bloom Day without variegated Sunpatiens now blooming since May.  Or Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost'-another annual I buy in flats every spring.

The foliage may be fading on Cornus controversa 'Janine' but not on Colocasia 'Diamond Head'.

A favorite container making yet another Bloom Day appearance.

And yet another.  Frost or no frost, soon I will have to start dismantling containers like these that feature plants I plan to take in and save over the winter.

Da Big Banana (Ensete maurelii) is getting tired.  Some years I bring these in and stash them dormant in a dark part of my basement although lifting them in and out of the containers can be a challenge.

This cool little vine is aptly referred to as the Candy Corn Plant (Manettia inflata).  I tucked into one of my large containers and let it weave throughout.

Torenia continues to be a pleasant surprise this season.

Some long views of the patio.

And the back garden.

Nick peeks out the front door.  AWhite Browillia remains as the only bloomer in my entry container.

Off the screen porch, the monster Castor Bean towers over the recently closed and soon to be covered for the season East Garden fountain.

So that's about it.  Well sorta.  Many other shots hit the edit room floor.  Maybe if I could figure out how to post less at a time, I could post more frequently.  But hey, at least I'm on time for Bloom Day this month!

In the meantime. to see what the rest of the garden blog world has to offer on this October Bloom Day, head on over to Carol's May Dreams Gardens.

Happy Gardening!



  1. Wow! You still have so much going on there! All those big tropical leaves. It is hard to haul stuff inside when it looks good.

    1. So far this October has been a bonus. I suspect the party will be over soon though.

  2. Last hurrah or not, I think you have more going on in your garden right now than I have in mine. I'm overwhelmed on your behalf for the task as hand in getting the pots put away and/or dismantled. Were you able to get the fountain fixed?

    1. Spring and fall are both overwhelming times in the garden here. I'm actually toying with the idea of a significant scale back of the containers next year (but I say that every fall :)).

      Since fountain season is over, I'm going to cover it up and attempt to fix the leaks next spring. From the reviews I read, none of the spray products seemed that effective so I may just get more epoxy, use it more liberally and cross my fingers and toes.

  3. Amazing colours, Sue!

    The "Twerpinator" would like a word with you...

    And I got a laugh out of that ghost in the garden...

    1. I try to decorate for every holiday and Halloween is no exception.

  4. My god Sue, Norah Leigh blooming in October ? I started cutting all my Phlox to the ground last weekend, no blooms here. Your garden still looks fabu..so robust..no one should have frost in October !

    1. I have a patch of Norah Leigh in the patio garden that has been done blooming for weeks. They are in more sun though and start blooming earlier. Some years I don't get frosted until November. Frost is tricky. You can look at a 7 or 10 dat forecast and not see any then all of a sudden the weather people are calling for it.

  5. Your garden is spectacular in fall. I am not usually a fan of flashy bold flowers, but that Matchsticks mum has me captivated. It's hard to believe you have a smallish suburban garden for all the complexity and layering you show -- it looks like a huge botanical garden! There is something very English about the stone clad house wall, rustic pergola and the jumble of flowers nearby. Love the viburnum candy-berries this year -- what a crop!

    1. Back in the early spring I attended lecture by Nancy DeBrule at the CT Hardy Plant Society. At the lecture she passed out a list of 100 of her favorite plants. Matchstick mums was on the list. Later in the spring I noticed Bluestone had it so I ordered a couple of plants. They were plugs so my expectations for this year were low. Now I can't wait to see what they do next year.

      One of the times my garden was open, Viburnum 'Cardinal Candy' was in full berry and was one of the most asked about plant. V. dilatatum is not native and is in fact listed on the UCONN plant database as being invasive. Interesting to note, the berries are among the last to be eaten by birds (usually robins in early spring).

  6. I am always so impressed with the variety and beauty of the plants that grow in your garden. You do an amazing job with plant combinations. I especially like the 'Matchsticks' chrysanthemums. Always a pleasure to visit your blog!

    1. Thank you Dorothy. I wish I had time to both read other blogs and post to mine more often.

  7. I sound like a broken record every month, but I really do love all of the color you have in your garden, often with foliage alone. And your containers are, as always, spectacular. Good luck with the dismantling process!

    1. I've always advocated foliage over flowers when planting my garden so I'm always surprised when Bloom Day rolls around and I have so many flowers. Dismantling the pots...ugh!

  8. Your garden's mix of color and faded glory fascinates, making one appreciate the current state and anticipate the one coming again next year. Those grasses, lushly abloom, are unbeatable in this season, a metaphor for autumn's appeal. Your design and hard work impress mightily.

    1. Although I'm perfectly happy to enjoy the the current state of affairs, I'm already thinking about next year's garden. Sometimes I agonize for quite some time when adding a new plant. As we speak I have six or eight plants in pots that need homes. Time to get cracking.

  9. And . . . and . . . and . . . ! Sue, it is still breathtakingly beautiful. I keep starting to point out something that I particularly like -- matchsticks, limelight, . . . ? -- and then another wonderful plant comes to mind. Your garden is amazing.

  10. Amazing as always. I love what you do with the containers in particular. I imagine you have to bring in the colocasias, dahlias, and banana each winter. Or do you start fresh each season?

    1. I bring in the dahlias always. Colocasias are hit or miss. I've had no luck overwintering either 'Illustris' or 'Black Magic' but I have had luck with 'Diamond Head'. Bananas are fairly easy. I've kept them both dormant and as house plants. Usually what I bring in depends on how much time I have in the fall or whether I want to be bothered. Because these tropicals grow so fast, it's easy to get large plants by July even when starting fresh in May.

  11. Everything looks great Sue. Matchsticks is certainly an interesting plant. I saw it in some catalog but wasn't sure it would go in my garden. You really have mastered the fall garden.

  12. Sue you have really mastered the fall garden.

  13. Your garden looks incredible. I'm very interested in those Gentians - I have only grown bottle Gentians in the past, not with a lot of success. And is Phlox 'Shockwave' easy to grow? Does it get floppy?

    1. Gentiana scabra has been a great easy care plant for me. Wherever it pops up it's welcome. In my garden everything that prefers full sun gets floppy to some degree and 'Shockwave' is planted where it gets afternoon sun only so it does lean. Not sure how it would behave in full sun but I suspect it would be upright.

  14. geez sue...so many pictures you could have made a least three posts..have no ideas what to comment on..but the matchsticks caught my eyes

  15. Yours is such a beautiful garden in any season! An impressive number of gorgeous plants in bloom. 'Match Sticks' is stunning! Nick is so cute; in the first image of him, I thought he was a lawn ornament! Also love the shot of the Twerpinator with all of the dark autumn tones around!

  16. WOW!!! Your garden looks incredible! I need more fall bloomers. We've already been in the 30's at night several times. I really like the miscanthus against the hibiscus. I also just added salvia koyamae to my garden. What's it like for you?