14 October 2007
Garden Blogger's Bloom Day--October!
Well, we've come around the calendar once again to another Garden Blogger's Bloom Day. Hard to believe that a month ago, I was romping around Gros Morne and the wilds of Labrador, and here we've been home for four weeks already. (Incidentally, the pink, white and green flag hanging from the fence is the unofficial flag of Newfoundland, and for some history on that, check out the Newfoundland Independent, a unique newspaper in my homeland..)
Of course, it's even longer since the heady bloom days of June and July, but interestingly, here we have had NO frost yet--and consequently, some plants that were flowering then are either flowering AGAIN or, in the case of some annuals, are still going at it. So without further ado, let's get to the show.
Leading the pack is a unique Osteo--it's called Astra Pink & Yellow, but right now it's more a coppery colour--perhaps a nod to the weather, which though frost free IS cooling down. This plant has never hesitated since being planted in a container in May. The secret? Seaweed fertilizer, regular deadheading, and occasionally a little shearing back. I'm tempted to take a cutting and keep this one going overwinter, in case I can't find it next year.
Remember how I wrote on Garden Blogger's Muse Day that Camus said autumn was a second spring, with every leaf a flower? Imagine my amusement when just a few days later, Lord Black of Crossharbour quoted the same line in his sketch on Rick Mercer's Report. (if you're not a Canadian, this reference will probably pass you by, but the sketch was very funny for many of us). Anyway, I present as part of our bloom report, the deep fall foliage of Physocarpus Coppertina, a ninebark that is rapidly becoming a favourite. Until a couple of weeks ago, the foliage WAS mainly copper coloured, but it's deepening now, and the shrub itself, planted in May, has done very well. Behind it, one of the PJM rhododendrons is also having some foliage colour change, while the variegated Calamagrostis has turned tawny gold.
Right in front of the Coppertina is one of my Echinacea 'Green Envy' plants--and yes, it is STILL flowering! Is it any wonder I've adopted this for the bloomingwriter masthead? (and for my computer desktop...and for a photo on my wall..)
We showed the rich colour of Sour Grapes penstemon a few posts ago, but given that the plant has about quadrupled in size this summer, and is flowering its little head off, I thought it was due an encore.
Tee hee. Speaking of sour grapes...these may never get ripe before a hard freeze! Of course, I planted the vine several years ago just for the sake of having it, and have never done anything with it much in terms of pruning. It's here mostly for the benefit of birds, but my wag of a spouse suggested we wait til a freeze then make Ice Wine. No...I think I'll leave that to Domaine de Grand Pre, and others with the skill. I love the look of the grapes out in the garden, though, whether they ever ripen or not.
This lamium is called Purple Dragon, and I quite like it and hope it spreads nicely where it's planted, near a collection of hostas and astilbes.
Along with the fiery red, orange and bronze helenium, we have this very tall and very yellow variety. It's just now approaching full bloom, and while it's not my favourite colour, I love heleniums and hope more people are learning to appreciate them.
The vibrant gold-green foliage of Tradescantia 'Sweet Kate' works so perfectly against the purple-blue of the flowers of this 'widows tears'. We have probably half a dozen cultivars here, and this is one of my favourites.
Mystery solved! How absent-minded am I. I bought this clematis a few years ago because its name--Josephine--is a nickname my father and mother sometimes called me. Not a name I particularly like, but when another gardener suggested the name to me in an email, the light came on, as it was a plant I bought not long after my father's diagnosis with Alzheimers. It's still flowering its head off, mostly with single blooms, but a few doubles to boggle the mind and delight the eye.
I hope these lavatera self-seed, because they have been marvelous. Pink isn't my favourite colour, but the flowers attract bees like crazy, and it was great to watch nectar-drunk and pollen laden bees stumble from flower centres even yesterday.
This is a weird plant, and still not really flowering. It's Leonotis, or Lion's mane, a real Dr. Suess plant, but I think we just don't get enough heat to make it flower well. The plants are huge and vigourous, and resemble a monarda--to which they are related--but are barely sticking out their eccentric flowers.
Care for a lily, anyone? Yes, that's a lily in bloom in mid October. It's one of the bulbs I got this spring from the Lily lady; some of the others have been a disappointment, not even sprouting, but I'll give them another season before I call them a writeoff. I might have planted them too deep, or broken the tips in planting; anything is possible with plants, isn't it?
A pause for some gratuitous autumn colour--the exuberant fall mum contrasts brilliantly with the deep purple of Ipomea 'Blackie' sweet potato vine. This plant has also performed superbly, and I'm sorely tempted to bring it indoors for an attempt at overwintering.
Yet another reason to plant grasses: spectacular, jawdropping autumn foliage colour. This clump of Miscanthus purpurescens hasn't gotten around to flowering yet, but the colour is better than the two clumps that ARE flowering, the same as last year (when it did flower eventually.) Why this plant is later than others, who knows?
We seem to be having a repeat flowering of our male Holly; curious, because the female is heavily laden with berries, and the female Ilex verticillata have their first berries too. Not sure what the cause is, unless being bumped by the scaffolding once too often during the painting project upset its sense of time.
Still on my list of star performers is Limelight Hydrangea. I'm sorely tempted to put another Coppertina ninebark near this plant--wouldn't that make a splendid colour combination?
Time for a little different colour: how about the sky blue of a delphinium--along with the foreground of a LOVELY demonstration of flowering wild mustard, kale, or rocket--whichever name you call it by, it's a bit of a pest, but the bees love IT too, so I've held my peace with it and let it be...for a few more days. The delphinium are reflowering in several spots, due to having been cut down promptly after their first bloom.
I know we haven't even really gotten close to a freeze yet because this Black and Blue annual sage is VERY cold sensitve, and here it is still throwing up flower stalks like there was no end to summer in sight. This has been a stellar performer this summer, and I've been pleased to see at least two magazines profile sages this season; annual or perennial, there are marvelous salvias or sages for every garden.
And finally, just as we started with the blue of my front garden's fence--a colour that recurs throughout the garden--we'll finish up with the Virginia creeper festooning the back arbour. The garden IS assuredly winding down, and looks like the vestiges of a party--in desperate need of a little cleaning up--but that will have to happen a little later in the week. Today we had rainshowers intermittently--just enough to keep me from doing anything outdoors--but I did buy new bulbs, about which we'll talk later on this month.