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October in Two Gardens: GBBD, October 2013

October 16, 2013

I’m late posting for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day because I was in transit yesterday from a long weekend in Maine back to Gettysburg. But the same travel schedule that kept me from blogging also allowed me to visit both my gardens on bloom day.

Gburg pelargonium gburg osteo oct

sedum neon octoberI have only a few plants still in bloom in my Gettysburg, Pennsylvania garden. Pink pelargonium and osteospermum are blooming bravely on in the container at the front of my house. In the nearby flower bed, Sedum spectabile ‘Neon’ has turned to deep russet tones.

The big show in my Gettysburg garden is in the back, where the morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor ‘Blues Brothers’) are putting on an exceptionally lush floral display on the patio fence. I have never seen these bloom so luxuriantly before, and it feels like a precious gift in my last year of growing them here.

morning glory bounty
blues brothers october light
blues brothers october dark

october container blooms



I was surprised to find more in bloom in my Maine garden, 600 miles further north, than in Pennsylvania. The fall has been mild in Maine and frost has yet to touch the garden. Here, too, containers still have blooms – not only pelargonium and osteospermum, but also petunias.

maine oct pelargonium maine osteo oct

morning glory bud


Even in Maine, morning glories have been blooming on the fence. I didn’t manage to photograph them while they were in bloom, however; and as the days get shorter and the nights get colder, their buds are struggling to open.

In the Deck Border, the seemingly unstoppable Heuchera x ‘Raspberry Ice’ continues to bloom, and sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is a rich wine color.

oct raspberry ice oct autumn joy

In the Blue and Yellow Border, the delphiniums of September have faded, but I was delighted to see new flowers (even if a bit ragged) on Coreopsis x ‘Full moon.’ The tall rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ continues to light up the back of the border and has even enticed a few bees to hang out there.

oct full moon herbstsonne with bee

And, of course, my favorite color in the October garden is the colorful foliage of maple trees.

maple leaves

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what is in bloom this month in gardens from many climates.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2013 11:16 pm

    I hate the be the bearer of bad news but the it has turned by about 20 degrees here in Chicago and it looks like the 70s are gone for 2013. Hard freezes are days away. I have to imagine this weather will be with you shortly.

    The plus is fall colors are finally developing although they look weak this year.

    Those morning glories look amazing for October. I have never tried annual vines but I think you inspired me to give them a try.

    • October 26, 2013 4:45 pm

      Jim, The cold finally arrived in Gettysburg a few days ago. For several mornings, I had some light frost on the windshield of my car but the morning glories were spared (saved, I think, by heat absorbed by the concrete patio during the day and radiated back out at night). Last night, the morning glories finally got nipped by frost. Some of the interior leaves and buds seem to have been missed, though, and I may still get a few more flowers from them.

  2. October 17, 2013 6:40 am

    I’m with Jimthegardenguy – I just put morning glories on my plant bucket list for 2014. Beautiful.

    • October 26, 2013 4:46 pm

      Judy, I’ve never gotten the morning glories to bloom this luxuriantly in northern New England; I’m happy to get a few blooms here and there in my Maine garden.

  3. Harriet Robinsom permalink
    October 17, 2013 7:47 am

    Once you move to Maine, I would recommend adding asters for fall blooms. Purple Dome Aster forms a lovely mound. Although it is low, I don’t put it exactly in the front taking up valuable real estate, but just a little back. I adore the vibrant pink of aster Alma Potske. She is tall. If near sedum Autumn Joy, she matches its color for a brief time before Autumn Joy starts turing to maroon. New for me is aster Bluebird. I like it a lot and plan to move it to a more visible better spot. Monkshood carmichaelii is a tall blue that also blooms this time of year. You are so right: it s shocking that we haven’t had a frost. My marigolds and zinnias are going strong. Self seeded alyssium is better now than earlier in the season. Calendula continues even after a frost. You are also right that foliage colors brighten things. I like the less vibrant colors of perennial foliage including peonies. Balloon flowers, which didn’t bloom well for me this year, have lovely yellow leaves.

    • October 26, 2013 4:50 pm

      Harriet, I love asters. I have Bluebird in my garden; but, alas, it is a woodchuck favorite and seldom gets to bloom. I would love to add Alma Potske, and will just need to find the right place for it. I do plan to add more blue balloon flowers, which always bloom well in my garden and often self-sow. In fact, I plan use them to replace some of the Monkshoods (including carmichaelii), which have never thrived in my garden and which this year failed to bloom at all.

  4. October 17, 2013 3:34 pm

    Frost already! We just have lots of rain here, Jean. It seems that only the weeds are growing in my garden – and the roses are crying out with the pain of black spot! But the garden’s new. Some day, hopefully, I will have some pics of nice things in my garden in October. Re Harriet’s comment above: Aster ‘Monch’ is a great favourite (dependable) of mine that I hope to add next year.

    • October 26, 2013 4:52 pm

      Cathy, October is late for frost in Maine, so we are happy to still have flowers at this time of year. I’m looking forward to adding more fall-blooming plants once I’m living in Maine year-round to enjoy them.

  5. October 18, 2013 8:44 am

    A pleasant surprise to find more blooms in your Maine garden. I really like the Rudbeckia they are also still hanging on here..

    • October 26, 2013 4:55 pm

      Alistair, I love that Rudbeckia. Because it grows about 8 feet tall, it makes a big architectural statement; and it continues to bloom from July until frost. I also prefer it’s lemon yellow flowers and green cones to the more typical rudbeckia colors.

  6. October 23, 2013 9:33 am

    No hard freeze here on my hill yet, but not many flowers either. I’m cutting back, cutting back. Only a few mums and sheffies left. An occasional rose bloom.

    • October 26, 2013 4:57 pm

      Pat, Did you get a hard freeze these past few nights? (I’m guessing that the same cold air mass that has swooped down across Pennsylvania has also reached western Massachusetts.) We’ve had freeze warnings for the past few nights and the Adams County PA apple growing season has been declared over.

  7. October 23, 2013 11:34 pm

    Fall always amazes me…when I think the garden is done each day there are new surprises. I love your photos, they are wonderful.

    • October 26, 2013 4:58 pm

      Charlie, Fall has always been my favorite season. Growing up in New England and being a kid who loved school probably over-determined my love of autumn :-).

  8. October 26, 2013 10:11 am

    Beauty in both gardens Jean. I haven’t visited here for a while. I lost touch with many when google reader died. I was in the middle of so much busy and didn’t switch to a new reader until a month or so ago. Glad I found you again. I always enjoy my visit here.

    • October 26, 2013 5:02 pm

      Carolyn, It’s so nice to hear from you. I, too, have gotten bogged down in work and have had little time for blog visiting. So even though I managed to transfer all my feeds from Google Reader to Feedly before Google Reader went dark, the unread posts (about 400 of them as of today!) are just piling up in Feedly. Happily, I’ll get time back for relaxation and fun when i retire in a few months.

  9. October 26, 2013 9:04 pm

    What a great selection of blooms and colours Jean. Like you I’ve been impressed with how many fall blooms I have this year. Despite some light frost my rudbeckia and monkshood (among other things) are really putting on a show right now. Add in those fall colours and it’s just a great time of year. We’ve had a lovely fall but feels like the cold weather is upon us any day now.

  10. October 27, 2013 9:12 pm

    Jean what a lovely surprise. Our fall was warm until this past week and now with colder weather the blooms are fading fast and few leaves left.

  11. November 1, 2013 8:44 am

    Very late peak of Autumn here in CT, so we are enjoying a few late roses and some flowers, but all of the fragile stuff is GONE! So glad to see your morning glories!

  12. November 2, 2013 6:40 pm

    Fun to see both your gardens in our two home states. Is Blotanical gone? I am hoping you are up on what if going on. I have to figure out a new way to keep up with my blogging friends. My Favd Blogs was so easy.

  13. November 2, 2013 6:49 pm

    What a GLORYious show Jean! We had our first frost just this week. I love long luxurious Falls – don’t you? What a treat to view both gardens on the same trip – although travel can wear one down fast. I am becoming quite a fan of Heuchera – so many varieties and textures!

  14. November 4, 2013 8:48 am

    Did I tell you how gorgeous your morning glories are? Well, they are! (or were, considering the date?). I just chopped all mine down from the pergola. Scattered seeds everywhere – uh oh! Happy Fall! Are the trees all gorgeous in Gettysburg?

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