Love October Bloom Day

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.

Some annuals, like the Zinnias seem to come alive in October, even as their existence is jeopardized by the threat of frost. This is my favorite from a mixed packet of Z. ‘Giants of California’.

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.


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23 Responses to Love October Bloom Day

  1. Mark and Gaz says:

    You’ve got so many gorgeous blooms in your garden! I’m especially taken by the Trycyrtis hirta ‘Empress’, lovely!

    Hi Mark and Gaz. There are quite a few flowers still in bloom this late into the year. The toadlily, Tricyrtis has been a pleasant surprise, I thought it was too dry for them here.

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Happy GBBD. I just love those hardy cyclamen. I have some started in my garden too. Do you dig up your dahlias? I have a couple that have been blooming all summer and as you say more profusely this fall. I am wondering if I should dig them up even though they aren’t supposed to survive our winters. I just wonder if I might try them outside. I usually forget to plant those things I dig up the next year. Have a great week.

    Hi Lisa, HBBG to you, too. I leave the dahlias in the ground. It is a raised box and so far they have wintered over just fine for the last few years. If you decide to leave yours in the ground, add some straw or mulch after they have died back. Also, make sure the stem is gone or bent horizontally, water and rot can enter the tuber through the spent stem, I have read. Good luck!

  3. Lea says:

    Lovely colors for Autumn!
    Happy GBBD!
    Lea’s Menagerie

    Hi Lea, thanks so much and Happy GBBD back to you!

  4. The diversity of plant material in your garden never ceases to amaze and impress me. Besides being such a good steward for things growing in the ground, I notice your generosity of spirit also extends to our feathered friends as evidenced by the birdhouses on tall poles in the vicinity of the blue chairs.
    Looks like a good 10 day forecast for east TN with no imminent early frost so all your October beauties should continue to thrive.

    Thanks Michaele. The diversity amazes even me, the results of lifelong plant collecting. They may not look all that good as a whole, but individually, they shine. There are lots of bird houses and feeders here, not to mention the millions of berries, seeds, etc. being grown for the critters. Thanks for the head’s up about the weather. The Dahlias shall enjoy every minute before the killing frost brings them to their knees.

  5. Gail says:

    Frances, It’s lovely in your garden! The Empress is gorgeous, I have her and if she can survive our gardens she can grow most anywhere! Ahh.. Salvia elegans~I moved it to a spot behind a new bench and covered it when frost threatened….I see buds developing now! It really is a long wait! We could never be sick of Muhly….that would be like folks getting tired of PPPP! xxxoogail

    Hi Gail, thanks so much. The Empress is much better this year than last, so there is hope that she can survive without extra water or moist soil. The Salvia takes forever to bloom, often flirting with frost, which will strike it down without cover. The muhly keeps my spirits up until it is cut down at the end of the year.

  6. pbmgarden says:

    So many interesting plants. Really like the huge leaves on that Cyclamen hederifolium (and the flowers too of course).

    Thanks PBM. The Cyclamen leaves are so attractive, there are two plants and both have different coloration.

  7. Linda says:

    Beautiful as always, Frances! Snail vine is new to me – what interesting buds and blooms! Happy Bloom Day!

    Hi Linda, thanks so much. The snail vine was from seed sown last winter. It took nearly a year to produce a flower bud. I brought it inside the greenhouse where it dropped every leaf. And bloomed. Not sure what will happen next, but the flower is unique. Happy GBBD to you!

  8. I’ve been meaning to plant cyclamen for ages, even since I learned they were dry shade tolerant. The foliage is beautiful on yours. And the snail vine is fascinating. Lots of good stuff happening in the Fairegarden! Happy Blooms Day, Frances.

    Hi Helen, thanks. I have wanted the hardy cyclamen ever since I found out there were hardy types but didn’t feel I had the right place for it. Now, underneath the Daphne odora where nothing else will grow has been perfect, so far. Try some! Happy GBBD to you!

  9. Beautiful photos, Frances! How large is the toad lily bloom? I have some toad lilies that are very tiny blossoms, less than 1/2 inch in diameter, but they are great to have this time of year. Best to you,

    Hi Shenendoah, thanks. The flowers on the toad lily are maybe two inches in diameter, so much larger than yours it sounds like. They are subtle but pretty, especially interplanted with ferns for a textural contrast. The best back to you!

  10. Leslie says:

    I would love October too (maybe) if I had as many beautiful bloom as you!

    Hi Leslie, you would love October here, I am sure. The roadsides are alive with flowers, birds, pollinators and gorgeous colors of flowers and fading foliage. It is a masterpiece out there.

  11. sonbaharın bütün güzellikleri bahçelerde çok güzel- from Turkish to English-very nice all the beauty of autumn gardens

    Thank you very much and welcome!

  12. gittan says:

    Hi Frances!
    Wow, you still have so much in bloom! Here fall came sudden, almost from one day to another. And Mr Frost have been here twice already, that made everything in the garden real sad. Now we can forget about those beautiful colours of fall, the leafes are falling still green. But there´s nothing we can do about it.. So I´ll enjoy every blogg sharing the beauty of fall even more =)
    Lots of Kramar gittan

    Dear Gittan, I am sorry that Mr. Frost has already been to your garden twice, but spring will come again. Thanks for visiting and your sweet words. Many krams to you!

  13. Aster oblongifolius is a favorite of mine. I doesn’t self-sow much in my garden. I like that it tends to stay a reasonable size and flowers so prolifically. The shorter orange cosmos are wonderful, though here they were played out by late August, even with deadheading.

    Hi Garden IAC, thanks for stopping by. I agree about the blue aster, it is quickly becoming a favorite here and I am looking around for more places to spread those babies. The cosmos seeds are scattered late here to have them in bloom until frost, around the middle of June.

  14. Lola says:

    Oh my, so much to see this Oct. Gotta love it. What a surprise with the bat face, I’ve been wanting to try it but haven’t just yet.

    Hi Lola, thanks. The hummers love all of the Cupheas, reason enough to grow them, but the flowers are so dang cute!

  15. a3acrefarm says:

    So much color remaining in your gardens. It’s a delight to see, particularly since we had snow here yesterday in northern Maine!

    Hi Marcia, thanks for visiting. I suppose snow now is the norm for where you live. I need a little more beautiful fall weather before winter arrives, one of many reasons we chose to live in Southeast Tennessee.

  16. Les says:

    I have to find a spot for that cyclamen, not so much for the flowers, but for that great foliage. Happy GBBD to you!

    Hi Les, and Happy GBBD back to you! The Cyclamen has been a pleasant surprise with the blooms and pretty leaves. I hope it is happy enough to spread around where it is planted, under the Daphne odora.

  17. Your October is our September, it sounds like. Your garden looks lovely!

    Hi Kathy, thanks. October is glorious, with our first frost usually coming on the very last day of the month, a Hallowe’en gift. There will be warm days afterwards but the summer annuals will be gone. The peak leaf turning will come in November.

  18. Loving your October blooms especially toad lilies and cyclamen…my cosmos are toast with the recent freeze

    Thanks Donna. I am happy with the toad lilies and cyclamen, the newer residents here. We will enjoy the cosmos as long as they last. It is the Dahlias I will miss when the frost zaps them.

  19. I like the leaves on that Salvia Elegans, nice bright green, a good contrast to the red flowers.

    Hi Karen, thanks. That particular cultivar has more golden leaves than the species, hence the name Golden Delicious. The combination is lovely, even if it blooms for only a short time before hit by frost.

  20. You still have a good variety of blooms. The October Blue Skies makes a good sized clump, and gets lots of flowers. I particularly like your Cyclamen hederifolium, with that nice spring-like colour and the great mottling on the leaves. Your blue chairs have nice view of the hot patch in the garden.

    Hi Shade, thanks for stopping by. Fall is wonderful here, and long lasting with many flowers, both natives and exotics. The aster gives just the right shade of blue to all the yellows and white. The Cyclamen is wondrous!

  21. Dahlias, Zinnias, and Crocuses…oh my! I’m jealous! Your garden is still incredibly full of blooms! I have to be content now with colorful foliage and the few remaining blooms that haven’t succumbed yet. Beautiful photos, Frances!

    Thanks Plant Postings. There are not as many flowers as in summer still hanging on, but the ones that are become prized even more.

  22. Rose says:

    Your garden is still a vision of color, Frances! I love the cheery faces of the zinnias and dahlias on the gravel path; my zinnias are now but a memory after the past week of frosty mornings. I didn’t realize that ‘October Skies’ reseeded so much–all summer I pulled out what I thought were weeds, until I noticed recently a few I had missed were blooming with those familiar blue/lavender blooms. Looks like I need to find a place for some babies:) The salvia elegans, toadlily, camellia…so many beauties in your fall garden!

    Hi Rose, thanks for visiting. The October Skies babies were treated the same here, until one bloomed, just like at your place. What a wonderful surprise it was, too. They have been spread all over, given away and taken over the mountain to the North Carolina Fairegarden. Such a giving plant! They have even bloomed in cracks in the pavement in the middle of the street!

  23. commonweeder says:

    No blooms here, and even the camellias in the UMass greenhouse are not as beautiful as yours.

    Hi Pat, thanks for visiting. I got lucky with the Camellias, they were not in flower when purchased and planted and I had never grown them before. I do suspect the UMass ones are quite lovely.

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