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Fall’s Last Hurrah: GBBD, October 2012

October 15, 2012
last sandra elizabeth In mid-October, both my gardens are putting on a last display of blooms before the dormant period of winter. I was home in Maine a week ago, where I arrived in time to see the last bloom of Hemerocallis ‘Sandra Elizabeth.’ She was joined by the browning flowers of Sedum ‘Matrona’ and the mauve blooms of Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy.’
sedum matrona mauve autumn joy
Heuchera ‘Raspberry Ice’ is an amazing garden stalwart that blooms continuously from late spring until fall; I love the way its delicate flower spike contrasts with the golden fall foliage of Hosta ‘Francee.’ raspberry ice & francee
Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne' in October Another garden stalwart, Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ can be counted on to keep blooming until frost.

That frost came on Friday night, just a few days after I took these photos.

october platycodon The first frost of the season also came to Gettysburg on Friday night. Amazingly, despite temperatures well below freezing and a thick layer of frost on cars, roofs, and lawns, my garden somehow came through unscathed, giving me a few more days (or weeks?) to enjoy the last blooms of Platycodon grandiflorus, Geranium x ‘Rozanne’ and Hemerocallis ‘ Happy Returns.’
october happy returns rozanne october

Sedum spectabile ‘Neon’ has now turned from the bright pink for which it is named to this deep wine color.

sedum neon wine

At this time of year every bloom is precious and I’m enjoying my garden’s last hurrah of fall.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of every month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what’s blooming this month in gardens around the world.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2012 11:38 pm

    After a cold and soggy weekend I don’t have much in the way of blooms. Good to see yours are hanging on – very lovely pictures.

    • October 21, 2012 9:19 pm

      Jason, 1 week later, only the Sedums are still holding on. The daylilies have given up, and the balloon flower’s last blooms have faded. It’s time to shift my attention to indoor blooms: the cylamen have started putting up new flowers, and the Christmas cactus has buds.

  2. Lula ( permalink
    October 16, 2012 10:46 am

    The garden looks really colorful and giving the last of the best!

    • October 21, 2012 9:20 pm

      Lula, The color has been pretty spotty — but one bloom at this time of year is worth as much as dozens in high summer.

  3. October 16, 2012 8:16 pm

    Our gradens are on the same track Jean except our first frost was a freeze so there ended most of the garden. Now we are warm again…I am not complaining as I love the continuous fall.

    • October 21, 2012 9:21 pm

      Donna, I love fall, too. We’ve been having a string of sunny days, allowing me to get laundry out on the line and to get the grass mowed (maybe for the last time this year?).

  4. joenesgarden permalink
    October 18, 2012 7:36 am

    Freeze hit my Connecticut gardens as well, Jean. No more yellows for me, and just a couple of late scabiosa blossoms in blue. My gardens are dominated by autumn reds … our gardens share lovely sedum color.

    • October 21, 2012 9:22 pm

      Joene, If sedums bloomed at a different time of year, I might not care that much about them — but after the first frost, they are just about the only game in town and very special.

  5. October 18, 2012 3:16 pm

    We put our Maine garden to bed early as we are traveling in Europe. Look forward to next year when we will both be writing about Maine once more.

    • October 21, 2012 9:22 pm

      Karen, I hope you’re having great travels in Europe.

  6. October 19, 2012 2:18 pm

    Beautiful blooms…those last blooms of the year are always such a treasure 🙂

    • October 21, 2012 9:24 pm

      Scott, I agree. Their scarcity makes those last blooms extra special (especially when you know their memory has to last you for several months).

  7. October 20, 2012 1:10 pm

    It’s amazing how some flowers will just continue to give and give until the weather well and truly kills them. It’s been quite cold here lately but walking around this morning I was surprised by the number of blooms I still found out in the yard.

    • November 3, 2012 10:59 am

      Marguerite, Those hardy extended bloomers are such a treat at this time of year. When most of my perennials have already gone dormant for the winter, these take center stage in the garden. As I move toward retirement and living in Maine year-round, I’ve been trying to add more early spring and late fall blooming plants to my garden there.

  8. October 21, 2012 1:14 pm

    Hi Jean, I missed GBBD (again) this month. I’m just not very organised. I see that you have a daylily in flower, it seems like you have a daylily for every GBBD throughout the year! I like the yellow of this particular one though. We still have some time to go before we’re hit by frosts so hopefully I’ll be able to get organised for November and see what there is, I don’t expect there to be much, if anything.

    • November 3, 2012 11:05 am

      Sunil, It took me a while after I started blogging to find my way to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day — but once I did, I was hooked. I love the way it feels like a community ritual celebration.

      I really don’t have daylilies all year round (wrong climate for that!), but I have chosen varieties to extend the season as much as possible. The two in this post are ‘Happy Returns,’ a dwarf rebloomer that is often both the first and last daylily to bloom in my garden, and ‘Sandra Elizabeth,’ which doesn’t begin blooming until most of the other daylilies are done. In my Maine garden, Sandra Elizabeth opened its first flower this year in mid-August (about a month after peak daylily bloom in my garden) and its last in early October. The same plant finished blooming about a month earlier in the warmer climate of my Pennsylvania garden.

  9. October 21, 2012 3:00 pm

    Hi Jean – I have just picked up your blog from your comments to Chris at I have only been blogging for a little over 6 months and the blogging community has been an unexpected and pleasurable bi-product of my original intentions – the concept of using your ‘sociological training to consider the social meaning of gardening and to observe the community of garden bloggers’ is intriguing and I look forward to hearing more about this in due course. I was also intrigued to see how many of your October blooms also feature in similar posts from the UK.

    • November 3, 2012 11:07 am

      Cathy, Thanks for visiting. I had that same experience of finding an unexpected community of kindred spirits through blogging. It’s interesting to see how many northern hemisphere gardens with distinctly different climates have a convergence of blooms as the garden season starts to wind down.

  10. October 25, 2012 5:00 pm

    We had the same frost and it only affected plants that are extremely tender. It did get my basil though, and I forgot to harvest it first.

    • November 3, 2012 11:11 am

      Carolyn, Losing basil is painful; the same thing happened to a colleague at work. I was fortunate in that I got a ton of basil from my Maine CSA this summer and now have a freezer full of pesto.
      BTW, Geranium ‘Rozanne,’ which is not happy in my Maine garden, is proving itself worthy of all the praise you and others have lavished on it here in Gettysburg. I thought it was done for the year, but I looked out this morning to see a big blue flower looking back at me.

  11. October 26, 2012 8:59 am

    I’ve never been able to keep much inside through the winter with an old house and a radiator under every window. I recently put in a great big window in the kitchen and I look forward to having some flowers and herbs this winter. I do love fall and falls flowers, unfortunately winter follows.

    • November 3, 2012 11:14 am

      Felicity, I don’t have garden plants that I winter over indoors, but I do have flowering houseplants. Because I also have a cool house, I have had particularly good luck with potted cyclamen, which love to grow in a cool spot by a window. Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulbs are more of a challenge because they like heat. Sometimes I bring them into my office, which tends to be 5-10 degrees warmer than my house) to get them started.

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