Frost and Flowers: GBBD, October 2016
For mid-October in Maine, there are a surprising number of blooms in my garden. I rushed around taking photographs yesterday, ahead of the killing frost forecast for last night. But, in fact, although temperatures fell well below freezing, only tender annuals were affected. Last night’s frost did end the season for the tropical morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’), and most (but not all) of the cosmos were also hit. The annual cleome, however, came through relatively unscathed.
The truth is that I’m tired of the cosmos and cleome, which I planted to fill in the new front flower beds and which turned out to be way too much of a good thing. Although the cleome survived the frost, I’ll probably cut them down this week; I want to make sure that they don’t go to seed and leave me gifts of unwanted cleome plants for years to come.
I am surprised by how many perennials are still in bloom. There are, for example, a few last flowers on the tall summer phlox. Along the Lavender Walk, the lavender are still going strong, where they are still joined by flowers of Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’’.
Further along the walkway, there are also flowers on two varieties of dianthus.
|I’m surprised to see a second flush of flowers on Spirea bumalda ‘Neon Flash,’ which was just planted this year and has been asked to settle in under difficult drought conditions. And these lovely blue delphinium flowers are also a special treat.|
Perennial stalwarts that bloom continuously for month after month are particularly welcome at this time of year. In my garden, 1st place goes to Geranium x oxonianum, which has been gracing the Porch Border with its clear pink flowers since the first week in June. The runner-up is Heuchera x ‘Raspberry Ice,’ which has been blooming continuously since mid-June.
The sedums seem to have transitioned from flowers to seedheads more quickly than usual this year, and only ‘Autumn Joy’ can still be counted as having flowers.
The asters, on the other hand, are enthusiastically performing their role as stars of the fall garden. New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) ‘Alma Potschke’ provides a vibrant splash of color in the Porch Border. It is the more subdued flowers of Symphyotrichum laeve ‘Bluebird’, however, that seem to be most loved by the bees. When I come out to walk through the garden in the chilly morning temperatures, I find many of these bees sleeping, each curled up on its own aster blossom waiting for the warming rays of the sun. When I checked my garden records, I was amazed to find that these flowers (which grow in a protected spot near the foundation of the house) bloomed through the first week of November last year.
New flowers were added this week when the native witch hazels (Hamamelis virginiana) that grow at the edge of the woods along the side of the driveway began to bloom. These flowers can be hard to see against the backdrop of yellow and orange leaves. When the leaves have fallen from the trees, however, the yellow flowers will come into their own and light up the woods in the drab season between fall foliage and snow.
Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see October blooms from gardens around the world.