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.


  1. Wow, where to start... I am envious of your 'Green Envy' echinacea, and when I saw your Tradescantia, I thought, oh, yeah, I have those blooming, too, and forgot to mention them in my own post. They've been blooming for so long, I don't even see them anymore.

    I really enjoyed this tour of your garden, there's a lot to see! Thanks for joining in again for GBBD.

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  2. Great tour of your garden. You still have so many plants blooming! My Clematis 'Josephine' stopped blooming some time ago so it was joy to see yours! And, like you, I have a Coppertina that I love (as well as two Diablos and a plain old ordinary ninebark). Actually, we have a lot of the same plants Hahaha. That will make seeing you garden unfold next spring really fun for me...to see how much our gardens are the same yet different.

    Since you have already posted your Garden Bloggers Bloom Day I guess I'll do the same. ;-)

  3. I love the blue accent pieces in your garden. I also really like the purple and orange color combination. Your plants look so healthy and happy.

  4. You make me discover some plants I did not kow. Thanks for that

  5. Ah, Jodi, you've got Coppertina Ninebark! When I was shopping with Kim, I was looking for that! No luck, though, so I'll try to find it next spring.

    We do have a lot of the same things in our gardens. I forget which zone you're in - same as I am? (5)

    Lovely, lovely things still going on in your gardens!

  6. Lovely October tour of your garden, Jodi. Such a wonderful palette of colors and textures.

  7. I thought Clematis 'Josephine' was supposed to always bloom double. (That's why I didn't suggest it as a possibility.) I guess individual plants react differently to different gardens. I'm glad you know what it is now. Is Penstemon 'Sour Grapes' hardy for you? I'm thinking I might have to find a place for that. The virginia creeper is spectacular. Mine doesn't get any sun, so it doesn't turn that fantastic red. Aren't you afraid it will take down that arbor?

  8. The color and variety of your October garden is amazing, Jodi- and it's fun to see 'Black & Blue' salvia popping up all over the garden blogging world. Happy Blooms Day!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  9. Gorgeous, Jodi! The 'Green Envy' echinacea sure is cute--like a little buttony zinnia almost. And you almost have me convinced that I need some of the 'Sweet Kate' spiderwort... especially since it's on clearance at the local nursery.

    btw, I am definitely no expert but that Sweet Potato Vine looks more like 'Black Heart' or 'Purple Heart' than 'Blackie'... I think that 'Blackie' is the one I have whose leaves look more like a maple leaf. (Maybe?)

    In any case, they are easy to overwinter. I had some of these and some coleus in a pot of water on the window sill all last winter because I kept forgetting to pot them up. Took some more cuttings this spring and potted them up--no problem. :)

  10. I have thoroughly enjoyed browsing your lovely blog. Your photos are beautiful!
    Helenium is a flower I hope to grow next year. Do you have a favorite type? Green Envy Echinacea looks cool, will have to try that one. I bought a gal. size Black and Blue salvia last fall for 1.00 at a nursery sale and lost it overwinter even though it was in the greenhouse, so didn't get to enjoy it. :-( I am zone 6b.
    I have heard you can dig the tuber of sweet potato vine and keep in a cool dry place and plant again in spring...another option vs. cuttings.

  11. Hi all and welcome to the bloomin' fun at Bloomingwriter!

    Carol, aren't tradescantias great? They DO bloom for a long time, and if you've got the clump forming type, they don't cause any fuss or muss.

    Dirty Knees, it's fun that we do have so many similar plants and yet rather different climates. I'm looking forward to next spring too.

    Hi Robin's Nesting Place, nice to see you. We like to think our plants are healthy and happy here...except for the ones who go to sleep, of course.

    Verobirdie the fun of reading blogs from all over gives us this wonderful chance to peer into other gardens. I love visiting yours for the same reason.

    Kylee you should be able to find Coppertina no problem next year. It's definitely a hit in our garden. I'm zone 5 b more or less, though temperatures do fluctuate here in the winter somewhat.

    Hi Carolyn Gail, a little cooler here and lots of wind but yes, still quite a bit of colour. No frost yet, either.

    Mr McGregor's Daughter, I didn't know about Josephine either, but several other clematis fanciers have confirmed its weird tendencies; now my understanding is that it blooms double first and then single, but ours wants to be different! I don't know yet whether Sour Grapes is hardy--it's supposed to be, but this is its first year. Ask me in the spring... As for the arbour--my spouse built it tough (to withstand the winds, especially--and I'll keep the creeper a bit pruned if it starts to get TOOOOO big for its britches.

    Annie, Black and Blue salvia is just so gorgeous, isn't it? It doesn't like our cool springs so I keep it in the greenhouse until the cold spring winds slack off, but since then it's been a nonstop star.

    Kim, you're probably correct about the sweet potato vine being Black Heart--it's suffering from Lost Label syndrome and since Blackie was the only name I could remember...thanks for that! And thanks also for the tip about overwintering. I'm going to go take cuttings now, because if the wind stops blowing tonight we might get frost.

    Hi Connie and welcome! My favourite Helenium would be Bruno and Moerheim Beauty, both of which do the bronze to red end of the spectrum, but they're all pretty splendid; we have some that are orange and others that are pure yellow along with the deeper wine-rust-bronze shades.

  12. I loved to look at your garden :) pictures and garden are great. This combination of blue elements and orange flowers is soo beautiful. It makes October garden a real explosion of energy.
    Very very inspiring. Thank you :)
    Do you mind if I link your blog?

  13. Lovely long post on the blooms in your garden Jodi. I finally had the time to read and enjoy it all. Love the first pic of Tigger (it's Tigger, isn't it?) in the garden next to that lovely picket fence. Love that blue colour, it works so well in the garden. Here we have had no frost yet either but will probably have some night frost this weekend.

    If I were you I would take cuttings of that lovely Osteowhatsit. Better safe than sorry.

    That penstemon of yours looks great, love that colour!

    A lily in bloom in October? Mindboggling!

  14. Hi Ewa, and welcome! Of course you may add my blog; I've done the same with yours, and your cat is just toooo adoreable.

    Yolanda Elizabet, yes, that's Tigger, my able assistant in any and all gardening chores. Yes, I'm going to take cuttings of the Osteo daisy, and I'm also going to try with the gorgeous venidiums I got this spring--they're still flowering like crazy but I would say by the weekend frost will come.

  15. Jodie, your blog is fabulous and congrats on being a blog of note. love your photos. And you've identified a plant - Leonotis or Lion's mane - that i've been photographing incidently on my little obsession with the insect world!
    In Melbourne, Australia, this plant blooms like crazy and horehound bugs love it!

    there is a photo of the plant in full bloom on my blog:

  16. Even me, a non-gardener is fascinated by your photos of flowers, which I feel you should bring to the notice of followers of Euro-origin wife,(called respectfully, The Mother) of Indian philosopher Aurobindo;these followers have to have different flowers in their meditation sessions, as flowers were dear to 'the Mother'.
    What about your 'bad habit' of reading books?Obviously u read only gardening books.Read my blog on Pre-Muhamadh Makka in-http://dhaamu.blogspot.com-for a new view of Islaam,from the eyes of this Hindu indian.


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