…hang on a little longer for the fifteenth of the month bloomathon, for Carol’s Bloom Day? You have already stayed in flower much longer than ever before, through several light sporadic frosts. Any frost has normally spelled the end to annuals like Pentas, shown above, still throwing forth a few.
Purported to be an annual here as well, the collection of Cupheas are still blooming as heavily as they did when first planted. These seed grown C. miniata have been superb.
Fingers are crossed that these will hang on a while longer. There were several shades of pinks that arose from the mixture. These seedlings were part of the too early into the cold frame group that got severely frozen in early April. The plants were too large to keep going under the lights and the temperatures seemed to have moderated so outside they went. Sudden drops into well below freezing range turned the lush green leaves into a tan mucky mess overnight. Most were discarded into the compost bin. These Cupheas seemed to still have a little green on the stem so were planted into the garden with hopes of resurrection. They have been blooming machines since early summer, untouched by the recent forays of frosty fingers.
Several of the old roses have one or two blooms, like R. ‘Old Blush’ above. Knockout continues with many blooms and will surely hang on. The weather prognosticators are saying we are in for some high wind and hard rain soon, as hurricane Ida makes its way inland. Rose petals are no match for such conditions.
Some of the flowering plants are just plain confused about what season it is. There has been cold, then rain, then warming. Does this okra think it is spring already?
For the very first time, there is a reblooming iris growing in the Fairegarden. A gift from daughter Semi for mother’s day is I. germanica ‘Las Vegas’. The blooms are so welcome at this time of year. Quite special to have iris now. There is one bud left, but the weather forecast does not bode well for a November bloom day iris to be featured. Better show it off now to be on the safe side. Also growing here is an iris purported to rebloom, Champagne Elegance. It has been divided several times and is quite a looker with heavy bloom in the spring, but we have never seen it rebloom in fall, ever. We can vouch for Las Vegas however.
What flowers can stand up to wind, rain and frost? Will these August sown zinnias hang on?
What about the way out of season bloom of Echinacea ‘Harvest Moon’? These were lifted, divided and replanted behind the driveway muhly grass as part of that bed’s extension this summer. The soil had been heavily mulched with soil conditioner at planting time, and there has been regular rainfall to help settle in the new residents of that bed. Located where the frost most often gathers in the early mornings, it is astonishing to see this summer stalwart blooming now, even if the petals look a little malformed. That it might hang in there is doubtful, improbable, but not impossible.
In the area under the arbor the frost has done no damage. The purple hyacinth beans, Lablab purpureus were planted in a hanging basket with a vision of the bean vines climbing the chain and forming a curtain of dusky hues. It is just now blooming, not enough fertilizer is the diagnoses for such a poor showing. The hopes for seeds to save from these is waning, as there are so few pollinators about now.
The greatest success story of the entire growing season has to be the Cobaea scandens. Started from seed in the greenhouse last winter, one small plant that quickly grew to my height before even being planted in the ground has covered the top and three sides of the ten foot high by sixteen foot long by eight foot wide arbor. It continues to be covered in buds and blooms and is now forming large fruity looking seed pods. It is hoped that viable seeds can be collected to start new plants just in case this one does not survive our zone 7a winter. It is rated hardy in zones 9-10. It is also stated to grow 4 to 6 feet high, so what do they know? The blanket of Cobaea has offered great protection to the plants growing inside the arbor.
Receiving the most benefit from this living frost blanket are the multiple, make that hundreds of pumpkin plants growing from last years fall decorations. Click here to read the Pumpkin Tale if you have not already, or want to refresh your memory.
This takes the title to a new literalness, literality?. How this pumpkin is still hanging from the vine up in the air is a total mystery. The Cobaea is surely helping out holding the increasing weight of the cucurbit, but wind and heavy rain seems threatening to the strenth of the green growing vines ability to hang on. I am thinking of adding a little hammock to help out. After writing these words, a pair of fishnet pantyhose was slipped over the waist of the pumpkin and the legs tied to the cross pieces of the arbor. There were no regular pantyhose to be found in the sock drawer. It has been years since pantyhose graced these legs, but we should keep some around for garden duty. Hanging on is tough work.
Added: The rains came. The wind howls. It is still raining, update: it has stopped raining, so we don’t know if the pumpkin and others are hanging in. There will be another update when the sun shines again and we can survey the damage. Update: The pumpkin is hanging in, the fishnets have held so far. The iris is mush, but there is another bud that will probably open and be done by the 15th.