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The Last Flowers of Fall: GBBD, October 2010

October 15, 2010

Fall flowers on Platycodon grandiflorus 'Mariesii' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Despite the fact that my Gettysburg garden is designed to be at its best in spring and fall, there are few flowers in bloom this October. I have no morning glories blooming on the patio fence because I wasn’t here in the spring to plant them. Late-blooming daylilies that can usually be counted on for October flowers shut down early in response to the summer’s heat and drought. But I still have flowers blooming on Platycodon grandiflorus ‘Mariesii’ and on two varieties of Sedum. The flowers of Sedum ‘Neon’ are now turning from hot pink to deep maroon, and a small sedum (possibly a division of ‘Autumn Joy’) that was buried under an overgrown siberian iris has begun to bloom now that it is getting some light and air.

Sedum 'Neon' at the end of its blooming (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Small sedum just beginning to bloom (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
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When I was home in Maine for a few days at the beginning of this week, I was surprised to find that there were far more flowers in my garden there than in my Gettysburg garden 600 miles further south. Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns’ still has a few flowers left, and Tradescantia ‘Osprey’ continues to bloom among the fallen leaves.

Last fall flowers on Hemerocallis 'Happy Returns' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Tradescantia 'Osprey' with fallen leaves (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
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October morning glory bloom (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Although some parts of the morning glory (Ipomoea) vines have been nipped by a touch of frost, there are still a few blue flowers in bloom on the garden fence.
In the deck border, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is taking on a deeper shade of pink. Sedum 'Autumn Joy' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
Aster laevis 'Bluebird' with bees (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) In the blue and yellow border, Aster laevis ‘Bluebird’ is providing both food and a resting place for bees,
while Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ (English translation: Autumn Sun) is living up to its name. Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
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And, of course, the best “bloom” in a New England garden in fall is the sight of flame-colored foliage against the intense blue of an October sky.

fall foliage and October sky (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what’s in bloom this month in gardens around the world.

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2010 11:39 pm

    Wow, having two gardens would truly drive me mad – I can barely keep up with one. But I can see the joy of coming upon new discoveries after being away. And the fall color is just glorious!

    Happy Bloom Day!

    • October 23, 2010 2:23 pm

      My garden in Gettysburg is really pretty small, the equivalent of another good sized flower bed in my Maine garden, and it’s mostly planted with divisions of plants from my Maine garden and with volunteers. I don’t put a lot of time into it. In the spring, I cut back spent flowers and foliage, weed, and put down some mulch; that’s about it. I do have to hire someone to look after the Gettysburg property in the summer when I’m in Maine; I’m responsible for keeping the grass mowed, and I ask the person who does that to also water my houseplants and to turn on the soaker hose in the back for an hour if it hasn’t rained. The payoff for me is that I don’t suffer from total garden withdrawal during the school year. The bigger challenge is keeping up with garden chores in Maine in spring and fall when I can’t be there very much. I’m actually looking forward to giving up my two-home, two-garden life in a few years.

  2. October 16, 2010 12:10 am

    Enjoyed the pics of your flowers… I especially like platycodon… L

  3. sequoiagardens permalink
    October 16, 2010 2:35 am

    I didn’t realise Gettysburg and Maine were 600 miles apart – do you fly in for your holidays and long weekends then?

  4. patientgardener permalink
    October 16, 2010 4:36 am

    thanks for sharing your blooms with us, I have very similar things flowering here in the Uk. I keep looking at Tradescantia but am put off by them as there seems to be a lot of leaf and not many flowers

  5. October 16, 2010 8:25 am

    You amaze me with your driving endurance Jean . . . Unless you are flying, of course. That is a long drive to and from. Lovely blooms and fall foliage. ;>)

    • October 23, 2010 2:30 pm

      Larry, Thanks for visiting. I love platycodon, too; it’s such a cheerful, easy-care plant. I have some pale pink ones and white ones, too, but they aren’t as vigorous as the blue, and only the blue self-sow in my garden.

      Jack and Carol, I do fly back and forth for some of my Maine visits. I only drive at Christmas, when I get to stay for a month before school starts up for the spring semester, and in may when I come up for the summer. During my early years in Gettysburg, I drove up even for long weekends, and it was grueling (and I was 20 years younger then!). Then, one year, the president of the college asked me to take on some extra (very stressful) work for some extra compensation, and I set the extra money aside for air fare and car rentals. The result was that I could have more frequent and more relaxing trips to Maine during the school year. When I stopped doing the extra work, I kept up with budgeting money for travel to Maine.

      Helen, At this time of year, the tradescantia that are blooming just have a few isolated flowers. At the height of their bloom season, though, they are often covered with blossoms, especially in the morning. (How much of the day they remain open depends on how hot and how sunny it is; in my Maine garden, they’ll stay open all day when it’s cool and cloudy.)

  6. October 16, 2010 9:36 am

    Jean, the trees really do take centre stage at this time of year don’t they? Such a lovely sight.

  7. thevioletfern permalink
    October 16, 2010 1:16 pm

    What beautiful fall blooms … I am in love with ‘Bluebird.’ And I also love the light you have captured in those fall leaves against that beautiful bright blue sky.

  8. October 16, 2010 6:09 pm

    Very jealous of the color produced by the New England trees. And really like the bloom on the Platycodon grandiflorus ‘Mariesii’ – if only it would grow in the shade!

    • October 28, 2010 8:49 pm

      VF and Ronny, I do think it’s hard to beat the combination of light and foliage color in New England in the fall. For as long as I can remember, fall has been my favorite season. It probably helped that, as a kid, I was the type who liked school and looked forward to going back (probably why I became a college professor :-)).

      Marguerite, I imagine you get some pretty nice fall foliage in PEI, too.

  9. October 16, 2010 8:11 pm

    Beautiful post Jean, so still have such a wide array of colours in your fall garden.

  10. October 16, 2010 8:26 pm

    Thanks for all the lovely photos of your blooms. I enjoyed the visit. Two garden? I have enough work with one. Of course I say that after 7 hours in the garden yesterday and another 4 hours today.

  11. October 17, 2010 12:49 am

    Along with I’m surprised that your northern garden has more going on flower-wise. I suppose it’s testament to getting back what you put into a space. The word “frost” scares me a bit–Can’t I just shut my eyes to the events coming up?

    • October 28, 2010 8:56 pm

      Rebecca and James, I was surprised at how much was still going on in my Maine garden. Since I’m trying to extend the bloom season in that garden in preparation for my retirement in a few years, I was pleased. Of course, it also helps that our first frost has been quite late in the past couple of years. This is really going to make you shudder, James, but we have sometimes gotten frost in late August. I think you’re right, though, that this garden was doing so well because I put so much into it this year (and vice versa with my Gettysburg garden).

      Donna, Thank you for visiting. I’m working on a post about the experience of having two gardens.

  12. October 18, 2010 11:17 am

    It’s always interesting to see what similar flowers are blooming at the same time all over the northern hemisphere. Sedum, rudbeckia, and asters are also giving me pleasure in this cold foggy fall. Yours are all lovely. I, too, didn’t realize how far away your Maine garden was.

  13. October 18, 2010 6:34 pm

    Honestly, who needs fall flowers when you have such a blaze of fall foliage! Well, other than the bees of course, who are clearly enjoying the Asters. But that foliage is gorgeous! Your Rudbeckia is beautiful too, I really like that the center of the flower is yellow, instead of the more typical brown seen in so many Rudbeckias.

  14. October 19, 2010 10:26 am

    Lovely gardens. How do you manage? Always love the Autumn colors of the trees.

  15. October 19, 2010 10:43 am

    Lovely post…your comment on Morning Glories reminded me that while in Quebec last week, I saw a potted morning glory blooming profusely on completely leafless vines…I had to laugh at that!

  16. October 19, 2010 12:48 pm

    The colors of the last photo are wonderful! I love those glowing leaves. Isn’t it sad to say goodbye to flowers for months ahead?

  17. October 19, 2010 2:04 pm

    (Pride of India, actually comes from China. No I don’t know the story, but I have Kristo Pienaar’s book the South African what flower is that? to thank. Lagerstroemia indica, is from China. And L. speciosa says India and China. Don’t know which we have.)

  18. October 19, 2010 9:38 pm

    You have some beautiful color in your garden now. I really love the Rudbeckia, I’ve never seen any like it around here. The leaves are just starting to turn here.

  19. October 21, 2010 6:07 pm

    Jean, you still have a lot going on in your garden. The flowers are bright and colourful. I love to see trees turning gold and red and autumn is the season I love best, so this time, I’ll be enjoying my cyber visits to the Northern Hemisphere. You have experience frost already?

    • November 3, 2010 10:55 pm

      Barbara, It is fun to see how many of the same plants are blooming in very different parts of the world. (I think that’s what I love most about Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day — thanks, Carol :-))

      Clare, One, VW and Autumn Belle, the leaves do steal the show at this time of year, and that is fine with me. I love fall!

      Scott, I love the image of the morning glory blooms hanging on after frost had nipped the leaves. I’ve had a similar experience sometimes with Happy Returns daylilies; the plant seems to have gone into winter dormancy with leaves all withered and brown, but there’s still a flower scape with a couple of buds, and they suddenly open on a warm day.

      Catherine, Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ is a favorite of mine, and it is relatively unknown. I’m not sure why more people don’t grow it (well, maybe because it grows 7′ tall and needs a big space!).

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