October, love it or hate it, it has arrived. I love it, even though it means the end of the growing season for the most part here in Southeast Tennessee. It is cooler, the light is at a lower angle in the sky, so flattering to plants and people alike.
Above: Crocus speciosus, fall blooming crocus. Didn’t know there was such a thing as fall blooming crocus? Click here to see more.
The Dahlias bloom sporadically all summer, but in October, the colors are rich and luxurious. D. ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ on the left, his child grown from seed on the right, D. ‘Bishop’s Children’, not seed from this Bishop, mind you.
Panning out, these last two shots are from the pathway leading from the Gravel Garden on the right, past the raised box of Dahlias and Zinnias planted in felt bags towards the woodland, guarded by the blue chair dynamic duo.
Annuals that can make it through summer are especially rewarding in October. This Cosmos from the Bright Lights series will be a keeper seedwise. The yellows selected from blooms from the same packet a few years ago are sown with the Dahlias. This orange pleases me with the Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’ behind it and will also be saved and labeled.
Aster oblongifolius ‘October Blue Sky’, I refuse to acknowledge the name change from a perfectly good and pronounceable one to a weird orchestral one, is joined by the annual red Salvia coccinea. October Blue Sky seeds all over and the seedlings have been transplanted to the other side of the gravel path that leads from the driveway past the lawn/meadow to the back gardens. Notice, the pink muhly is not even shown in this image, even though it is standing just to the left in real life. Not to worry, there will be more images of the muhly shown on this blog until we are both sick of looking at it.
Every year the Salvia elegans ‘Golden Delicious’ is threatened with non-renewal by bringing a cutting into the greenhouse/sunroom to winter over. Waiting until October for any flowers, wonderful as they are seems like such a waste of garden space. And yes, a cutting is safely tucked away in the greenhouse right now.
Also in the greenhouse/sunroom is snail vine, Vigna caracalla. It set flower buds very late after growing outside in a container all summer and was brought inside to better enjoy the blooms. Nearly all the foliage has turned yellow and fallen off even as the first flowers open. I can’t give this one passing marks unless it makes a big turnaround while inside.
New this year is hardy Cyclamen hederifolium. I didn’t realize it bloomed in the fall. Also added was C. coum that has already bloomed and disappeared. I hope it isn’t dead, but this one seems to be doing well.
Added last year were three pots of toadlilies, Tricyrtis hirta ‘Empress’. I was worried that it was too hot and dry here for them to thrive, but they seem to be doing well enough without extra water and the late blooms are welcome in October as foliage fades to pale.
One of the very first shrubs planted here was Camellia sasanqua ‘Chansonette’, the name means little song. Foolishly planted, that is, for they are totally hidden from view by larger shrubs under the tall pines at the eastern edge of the property. But they are well protected and once I figured out that they bloom in fall rather than winter, the blooms have been cherished. There are many buds on all three bushes, this is the first open flower. I won’t forget to check for them periodically as the cold covers the land.
A spot of red was noticed where it shouldn’t be in the Gravel Garden. Walking over to see if this was a petal that had blown over from the Zinnias or Dahlias, it was with delight that I realized it was a little Cuphea llavea of the bat face sort. I didn’t plant it but there must have been germination from the seed bank when a few mums were stuck in for some fall color. Hooray!
To see who has what blooming all over the globe this October 2012, go visit Carol of May Dreams Gardens, the founding mother of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.