Saturday, November 15, 2008

GBBD November 2008

It's that time again--the 15th of the month when garden bloggers post what is blooming in their gardens right now. But it's also November, which means the "pickins' are pretty slim" here at the "Prairie." Ten days ago we were in the middle of Indian summer, and I was outside in short sleeves planting bulbs under a bright, sunny sky. The maple tree hit its peak of color and lit up the front yard.

Then . . .the cold set in and the rains came. The wind blew the leaves from the trees, one by one, until now the maple stands with only the hem remaining of her autumn ball gown.

The garden is in much the same state. It took some hunting to find any blooms at all yesterday.
And I apologize ahead of time for the quality of some of these photos. By the time I downloaded them and realized they were blurry, it was raining again and too late to re-take them.

Even the faithful autumn bloomer, the chrysanthemum seemed to shiver in the cold rain yesterday, refusing to pose for me.

A few stray petunia blooms in the porch planter valiantly hang on, but their days are numbered.

The verbena "Homestead Purple" that I showed in a recent post is still blooming, though, one reason it received such high marks from me this summer.

One plant that has had a second wind and is blooming once again, though, is the yarrow. I guess that it's appropriate that it should be on what is probably the last post of the season of real blooms, since it was the only plant on my first Bloom Day post last March.

Some of the salvia "Victoria Blue" have already shed their purple petals and turned silver for the winter, but a few hardy ones still refuse to give up the fight.

Also hanging on are a few galliardia blooms. These first year "Oranges and Lemons" impressed me all summer with their abundant blooms. Along with a few salvia, they are the last flowers standing in the roadside flowerbed.

Finally, a rather ordinary bloom I've never highlighted before--the sweet alyssum. I plant it as a border every year on the edge of my main flowerbed. This year it was the only annual there, and I didn't even have to plant all of it--some of last year's crop actually reseeded itself this year.

Do you spy a theme here in my November garden? That's right--the one thing that is really blooming right now is . . .


By tonight these may be the only blooms left in the garden. As I sit here typing this late Friday night, I am watching the forecast for Saturday carefully. "High's in the 30's with freezing rain or snow showers likely." Besides thinking that this may be the last day for the garden, I have another dilemma. It's the last home football game of the season for Illinois against tough rival Ohio State, a game my family has looked forward to for weeks. Should I be a true blue (and orange) fan and go to the game, walking a mile each way from our parking spot to sit in the stands, huddled in my parka and layers of clothes, cheering the team on while the cold wind and rain/snow whips through the stadium? Or should I be a fair-weather fan and stay home to watch the game on high-definition TV with instant replays and announcers who explain what just happened in the last play? Sigh. At least the garden doesn't expect me to go out in the cold.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is brought to you each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens; be sure to visit her to find other Bloom Day posts from around the world.


  1. At least you have some blooms even though they are soggy Rose. That Maple tree is outstanding, such a pretty shape. It is wonderful to have so much room that you can let them grow naturally, not cropped by power line or other enthusiastic, misguided pruners.

  2. Hiya Rose,

    That tree on your title is so... powerful. You will miss it once it is over.

    That has been a quick transition for you from fall to winter.

    The rain affected me too when I wanted to find some berries for one of my pictures to complement a white flower: I was chicken and substitued plastic ones ;-)

    Your verbena and alyssum at least don't let you down.

  3. Rose,

    I am completely surprised that so many of us still have bloom! I do think your verbena is a keeper plant and the yarrow has caught my attention..must investigate a plant that bloomed in March and then in August.

    I hope your team wins..whether you are in the stands or warm and cozy at home! Have a delightful weekend!


  4. I'm afraid I would have to be the fair weather fan. That just sounds too miserable to be sitting outside. Whatever you chose have a great day and try to stay warm.

  5. I love that line about the hem of the maple's ballgown!

    You do have a dilema about the game. It's a pretty miserable day out there!

  6. Lisa, The maple tree was just gorgeous this year, and no, it's never been pruned, which shows what a beautiful natural shape it does have.

    Joco, We really did have a sudden change from fall to winter. The warm temperatures a week ago were unusual and spoiled me.

    Gail, I am surprised too that there are any blooms at all. I'm not sure what I will do in December! The yarrow is indestructible; in fact, it needs to be planted somewhere where it can be contained, unless you don't care if it takes over:)

    Susie, I wouldn't care if it was cold with a few snowflakes, but it looks like rain/freezing rain today. The TV sounds more and more inviting.

    Joyce, it was interesting to see the maple change color--from the top moving down slowly. It lost its leaves in just the same way.
    On the radio yesterday they were saying how worried they were too many fans would stay home today, but in this weather? I'm still debating.

  7. I love the photo of the Chrysanthemums! It's much more interesting than if they were perky. Some of my bloom photos also feature soggy flowers. This weather has turned really rotten. I'm laughing at your photo of your Sweet Alyssum. It looks the same as mine, blooming happily away with fallen leaves in it. I don't think you'll ever have to plant it again. I planted mine once over 10 years ago & have never been without it.

  8. You are right-that sweet alyssum is as sweet in your garden as mine. I will check out MMD's too. I am with you, standing in the cold and rain to take pictures? Not my cup of tea. I was digging around in the garden and noticed on my Homestead that everywhere the plant touched the ground it rooted. I have tons of offspring now and I am moving it around. I love this plant too. Glad to see yours. I never knew Homestead did this so I was happy.

    P.S. I am a fair weather fan, I'd be home and warm watching the boob tube.

    It was you who said your dad grows gerberas? Any tips? I got some marked down the other day. I am seeing they should not be planted out in freezing weather. Houseplants then?

  9. It's that time of the year for sure. I love the first and second photos.

  10. MMD, I laughed this morning, too, when I saw your alyssum--and Tina has much the same picture:) Everybody I know has told me that their alyssum reseeded itself, but this is the first year that mine did. Hopefully, it won't be the last.

    Tina, It's been decided--no one else wants to go to the game, so I'm staying home, too. The Homestead verbena has been such a winner this year--it has spread and even crawled up the large rocks where I have it planted.
    Yes, my Dad is the one who kept Gerberas through the winter. I'll have to check with him, but I know they don't like to dry out and need plenty of light. Definitely a houseplant over the winter.

    Darla, Thanks for stopping by; yes, the trees have been beautiful this year and until this week have looked much better than my garden.

  11. That's a good showing of bloom for mid-November. It is a miserable day here, so I would opt for watching the game inside... though those stands will be full as the Illini fans are a tiny bit crazy...

    Thanks for joining in for bloom day!
    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  12. There is still something to see in the garden and every day that goes by gets us to the point when the spring bulbs will start to peep up.
    I like to watch the birds when the garden seems dreary, We have had chaffinches, sparrows, bluetits and a robin. Not bad for a city house pocket sized garden!

  13. And I thought our weather was irratic! I'd stay home Rose, but then I'm not at all 'sporty' and find it hard to get enthusiastic about that sort of thing!

    You do still have quite a bit in bloom though,for now!

  14. Hi Rose, you have some courageous plants there that can grow and bloom in your weather. Homestead purple sounds like it should join your home and the yarrow is a stout hearted perennial. So glad you were allowed to stay nice and warm to watch the game. It looks pretty cold up there! Go team!

  15. Dear Rose.......your weather does not sound too great.....we had a warm and mild day....I worked in the garden for most of it.....

    I love yarrow.....I must get a plant or two next year....
    I like the petunia photograph, it is very artistic

    Stay warm and have a great weekend.....

  16. Rose, I love that you have bright autumn color and blooms all at once. Add snow to that and you've got a year of seasons in one yard.

  17. we are having our blustery day here too. cold and rainy but i am inside sitting by the warm fire.

  18. Hi, Rose--I love your shy mums--I think it's a great photo. I'm amazed at how much you have blooming, given your recent weather--WE don't have yarrow right now. And that maple is magnificent even in its skeletal form--a really lovely Blomm Day posting.

  19. Lovely photos! Love seeing the tree with leaves and without!
    Sandra Evertson

  20. Carol, It was a pretty miserable day here, too. I wimped out and stayed home, but lots of "crazy Illini fans" did fill the stands to watch us lose:)

    Maggie May, I like your optimism! I have been watching the birds a lot here, too. If I had a better camera I might be able to get some decent pictures of them.

    Suburbia, This is typical Illinois weather--from one extreme to the other. I love watching sports, and the atmosphere at an actual arena is so much fun. But I decided it was much too cold today and stayed home. The "blooms" are a bit of stretch; they won't last long. I'll have to start writing about something other than gardening soon:)

  21. Frances, Yes, only the stout-hearted are still standing in my garden. The Homestead verbena is definitely a keeper!

    Sarah, We didn't get snow after all yesterday, but I like your idea--it could be a four-season garden:)

    Marmee, Sitting by a cozy fire sounds like the perfect place to be!

    Cosmo, I noticed a "shy mum" on someone else's post as well. The maple tree was just spectacular this year; I couldn't resist showing it.

    Sandra, Thanks for stopping by! It was amazing to see what a difference a week made in the trees.

  22. I have to admire blooms that stand up to wind, rain & other elements. Sweet Alyssum is one of my favorite reseeding annuals for the front of the border. It smells very nice. Your Maple was glorious and really shined this year. I had to brave the rain to get my pictures this month too! :)

  23. Rose, just as well you stayed home yesterday. :( You do have several things blooming in your garden yet, but maybe not today. I'm sure mine are gone after our cold night. Your tree was beautiful this year. It was a great year fora lot of them. Woner what we are going to post for next month' GBBD?

  24. Hi Rose, thank you for leaving me a comment on this sweet GBBD day :)
    I added you to my blogroll - will u do same?
    It looks like we have last warm day today - they said it is gonna to snow :(

  25. Lol... I think that leaves are blooming in all of our gardens, too, Rose. *grin* We're just not all creative enough to highlight them like you did--very funny!

    I love the 'Oranges and Lemons,' and really wish that those colors would go well with the rest of what's in my garden. And the yarrow, how cool that it was in your first and last bloom day post of the growing season... I think it gets a Gold Star for that!

  26. Your Maple is gorgeous and you are fortunate indeed to have a few blooms left to photograph!

    I ventured out into my garden to try and take a few last pictures, but I had to delete most of them. They were either blurry or not worth keeping. The only thing looking decent is my yellow leaved Choisya ternata Sundance. It isn't flowering, of course, but its leaves are wonderfully golden and it is a good shape, at the moment.

  27. What a contrast in those first 2 photos!

    You still have lots of colour in your garden though. It looks lovely.

  28. Rose .. I am totaly in love with that tree and its beautiful leaves .. I would make an art print from it and hang it in my office (kitchen that is !) haha.
    I am still very jealous you have the "Oranges & Lemons" Gaillardia I can't seem to find here .. hoping next year for sure !!
    We had tiny hard little snowflakes today .. freezing rain type of thing going to happen too . ugly winter weather .. BIG sigh !
    Your pictures are great !

  29. Before GBBD I never realized New England (at least at my 1700 foot elevation) said good bye to autumnal blooms so much earlier than places I thought were equally cold. All you bloggers are really giving me an education. Thank you. I really liked the golden 'hem' on your maple.

  30. Hi Rose, you still have (maybe had, by now?) so many blooms in your garden! I just love sweet alyssum. So pretty and delicate, so floriferous, smells so sweet, bees love it, and it reseeds so nicely. I've tried it here but it likes more sun than we have, unfortunately, and tends to languish, staying small and blooming little.

    Like Gail, I'm surprised to see how many blooms are still left in everyone's gardens for November bloom day.

    Your maple tree is gorgeous - I think it might be the same kind we have in our front parkway. I love the fall color on this variety. Ours has been bare for over a week now. It rained leaves for a couple of days. It's kind of fun to watch trees shed their leaves within a few hours or a day or two.

    It's mostly bare around here now, and the leaves do look pretty in the garden now that most other blooms are done or on their way out.

  31. Rose, Brrrr... sounds like things are changing very fast around there. I know you always say you couldn't take our summer heat but you might like our winter heat??? We sat through the FSU game (in North Florida)last night in the blustery cold with blankets wrapped around us. Not as cold as your game but cold for us.

    Now back to blooms... you were a brave soul getting out there and capturing the pretties hanging on in your garden. The petunias are doing their best to still give you color and even though the alyssum is white I still think it is very worthy of display. Loved the contrast of the two maple photos, too.

  32. It made me shiver just looking at the before & after tree pics. Somebody give that poor tree a sweater!

  33. I'm surprised you had so much to share and think your photos are great, Rose, especially that burning bush header. We had a cold snap here also, with much still to accomplish outside ... leaves still on some trees (one Norway maple likes hang on 'til December) and now we have snow (still orphan bulbs to find homes for). Oh well ... tomorrow is another (frosty) day!

  34. PG, I think many of us had to brave the rain this Bloom Day--I noticed raindrops on many photos.

    Beckie,I've noticed a little snow "spitting" several times, but the verbena and the alyssum are still hanging on. I liked Gail's idea of buying some plastic flowers before Dec. 15:)

    Zoe, You are so welcome:)

    Ewa, That's so kind of you; I will add you, too:) We've had droplets of snow, too, but nothing sticking yet. I wouldn't be surprised if we had snow for Thanksgiving.

    Blackswamp Girl, I planned one flowerbed around the orange gaillardia because they didn't fit in anywhere else either:) The yarrow looks pretty when blooming, but can get a little unruly. But I think it deserves an award for longevity, too.

    Mean Mom, to be honest I've spent more time admiring the trees this fall than my garden--much more colorful!

    VP, this is the time of year when a week can make a huge difference--most of the leaves are gone now...well, they're on my ground instead.

    Joy, Thanks for the idea--I might have to make a print of that tree! I hope you find some Oranges and Lemons next spring--they really were hardy plants and big bloomers.

    Pat, Thanks for visiting...I've had the same reaction. I've seen flowers blooming north of me that quit long ago in my garden. I'm learning about microclimates, too.

    Linda, I really don't have much blooming anymore, but I do have geraniums blooming in my garage--I forgot them! I hope to move them down to the basement soon.

    Meems, Yes, I think I could stand your winter heat:) My oldest daughter lives in Arizona now, so I will be finding excuses to visit her this winter. Not quite as much blooming here as at Hoe and Shovel, LOL.

    WWW, A sweater sounds good to me...I think it's officially winter here now.

    Joey, We've seen a few snow flurries, but nothing that lasted yet. I'm glad I'm not the only one with orphan bulbs:) I've decided the few that are left might just get put in a pot this winter.

  35. Rose ~ even cold and soggy you still have beauty in the blooms you have. That yarrow is a stalwart isn't it?

    I would be home in the cozy warmth but I can understand the excitement of wanting to be in the stands.

  36. Some of these plants are amazingly tough. I don't blame them for not wanting to give up and just go for that long sleep.

  37. I loved the two tree photos, Rose - like a sylvan Gypsy Rose Lee dropping an essential article of clothing right before the curtain closes. (Wonder if anyone even knows who Gypsy Rose Lee was?)

    Alyssum used to reseed for me in IL but my seed-grown efforts have failed down here. It only grows if I buy plants and plug them in.

    If your daughter reads your blog she's probably getting the guest room ready now ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  38. The maple has a lovely shape, even without its leaves. I love alyssum--it's so hardy!
    ~ Monica

  39. Cindy, it takes a little more searching, but the beauty is still there.

    Marnie, I'm amazed, too, by the toughness of some of these plants.

    Annie, Oh yes, I remember Gypsy Rose Lee! Actually, my full name is very close to hers, and I used to be bothered by that:) Daughter likes to tell me every time she calls how warm it is in Arizona; of course, in the summertime it's not very enticing!

    Monika, Hi! It is a lovely maple, indeed.


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