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A Few Last Flowers: GBBD, October 2022

October 17, 2022

red maple color 10-22By mid-October, my Maine garden has experienced several frosts and freezes and most plants are well on their way into winter dormancy. Color in the garden is more likely to be found in the leaves of deciduous plants that have stopped photosynthesizing than in flowers.

Nevertheless, there are still flowers in bloom. I am amazed to see that I still have a few unopened buds on daylilies (Hemerocallis). These include the tall cultivar ‘Autumn Minaret’, which put on an exceptional display this year, with flowers opening every day from late July until mid-October.

Spiraea x bumalda ‘Neon Flash’ has also been blooming for months. Here and there, a few last flowers appear on Phlox paniculata, on false sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) and on lavender plants. Neon flash 10-22
last rose 10-22 There is even one last rose (Rosa ‘Cinderella’) blooming in the fragrant garden outside my bedroom window – although it is now too cold to enjoy its fragrance through open windows.

bluebird survivors 2022Although I do not have any New England asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) blooming in the garden this year because they all succumbed to the attentions of the local woodchuck (aka groundhog), this smooth blue aster (Symphyotrichum laeve) ‘Bluebird’ has a few flowers that somehow managed to survive that animal’s voracious appetite.

Some of the flowers still blooming are in protected microclimates in the garden. Others are members of especially hardy late-season species. The latter include the tall Rudbeckia cultivar ‘Herbstsonne’ (‘Autumn Sun’) and ironwood (Vernonia lettermanii) ‘Iron Butterfly.’

Herbstsonne 10-22 iron butterfly 10-22

witch hazel 10-22This is also the time of year when our native witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) blooms, and its fringy yellow flowers shine particularly strongly as the trees lose their leaves.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted each month by Carol Michel at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her site for links to October blooms from other gardens.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2022 10:46 pm

    Our native Witch Hazel has sent out some amazing wiggly-petaled flowers this Fall. Another good choice is Turtleheads. I’ve seen them in bloom into September and October near the Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park.

    • October 21, 2022 7:13 pm

      Carol, Turtleheads are lovely plants. Alas, I can’t growthem in my dry, sandy soil. The only reason I have witch hazel is that they grow along the far side of the driveway by a vernal pool.

      • November 17, 2022 5:27 pm

        Only reading this now. A vernal pool? I don’t remember you mentioning that before. A whole different set of plants there.

  2. October 18, 2022 1:03 am

    Ah, witch hazel! It is another one of those North American species that is familiar in other regions, but not here, like beautyberry, goldenrod and Joe Pye weed.

  3. October 18, 2022 12:44 pm

    I’m glad you’re able to enjoy some late-season blooms before the cold weather sets in. I don’t even have any roses in bloom here in SoCal!

  4. judihansen permalink
    October 18, 2022 4:01 pm

    In Autumn we treasure those last few flowers as winter approaches, especially the last roses, small pale and impoverished.

  5. permalink
    October 21, 2022 12:42 pm

    Wonderful account of your last flowers! We’ve had our first frost (3 nightsin a row) this week in Gettysburg, so most of what remained (nasturtiums, black-eyed susans, verbena, plumbago, rose of sharon) finally got zapped last night. Haven’t kayaked since the end of September – a cold autumn so far! Last two years, I kayaked right up through the beginning of November. Jan

    Janet M. Powers

    “I object to violence because when it appears to do good,

    the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”

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