Sunday, October 16, 2016

October Bloom Day

It's time for another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  Although I don't post as often as I used to or would like to do, I always try to participate in this monthly meme because it's a great way for me to keep a record of what is blooming each month.  It's interesting to compare a month to previous years as well, especially in a month like October.  Some years we have had a frost by this time and there's very little left in bloom.  But unseasonably warm weather this year has kept the garden plugging along.

The garden is definitely winding down, however, There are still many green leaves on the hostas, but most are in the middle of their fall decay.

But there is still quite a bit in bloom.  
What is more appropriate for this month than 'October Skies' Asters?

The New England Asters, which I have the most of, have long since turned to seedheads, but besides the later Aster oblongifolius I have a few others, including some Aster tataricus, a tall aster that somehow found its way into the back of my butterfly garden.  And yes, I do know the botanical name has changed to Symphyotrichum, but that is such a mouthful and I am getting older and stuck in my ways, so they will always be asters to me.

There are also some large clumps of Aster pilosus, known as Frost Aster or Hairy Aster, that escaped the weeding tools this spring.  This is not an aster for everyone, because many consider it a weed and it tends to spread pretty aggressively.  Still, the bees love it, which makes it worth keeping a few.  If you would like to know more about this plant, you can find it here.

Speaking of bees, one thing you won't see today are any flying visitors in my garden.  There are still some bees around, but I think many have started making nests for the winter. There are few butterflies as well.  I have a seen a Monarch or two floating through the air this past week, but I think they, too, are sensing the change in seasons and starting their migration south.  And Tuesday was the last day I spotted a hummingbird at the feeders.  I only wish he had said goodbye!  I wish them all safe travels and a warm winter and look forward to seeing them again next spring.

Autumn days have brought a fresh flush of blooms on the Knockout roses. 'Radsunny' adds some cheerful color to the Lily Bed.  

One of my favorite flowers this time of year is the Japanese Anemone.  I think this is 'Honorine Jobert,' but the tag has long since been lost.

The vegetable garden is pretty much done for the year except for green tomatoes that will probably never ripen.  But on one end closest to the house, I always plant a few marigold seeds, and this fall they have taken over four to five feet of the garden!  I'm not sure why they have spread so much this year, but I don't mind since they are choking out any weeds and certainly add a bright spot of color to this area.

Autumn also means the 'Victoria Blue' Salvia has come into its own.  This is one of my favorite annuals, and I have it planted in many places.  While other annuals have faded or will turn brown at the first hint of frost, 'Victoria' will keep going until a killing frost.

'Wendy's Wish' isn't as hardy and won't last past the first touch of frost, but I do enjoy this larger, fuschia Salvia, and it's a favorite of the hummingbirds.

The past two weeks I've been thinking about fall chores and slowly starting to prepare for the winter.  My bulb orders all arrived this past week, and I've made a little headway in planting bulbs.  Soon it will be time to put things away and dig up tender plants.  I know you can't tell from this photo, but this caladium leaf is huge!  A friend gave me a few bulbs this summer, and I put them in a pot, having no idea how big they would be.  I want to make sure to pack these safely away before winter--these are going directly into the shade garden next year, instead of being crammed into tiny pots.

Looking around the garden for a few photos on this breezy, rainy day, I found a few surprises.  There are a few new coneflower blooms, and the white phlox have a few fresh blooms as well.  But most surprising of all was this--a bloom on my huge lilac bush!  This is not a re-blooming lilac, but an old-fashioned shrub.  The warm fall must have it confused.

And, in case you're wondering, yes, I still have zinnias!  Some of them are even taller than I am.

'Zowie's' are blowing in the wind, but still standing strong, with a few new blooms opening up every few days.

It really has been a great year for zinnias, and I had to show them off one more time, because I'm sure this will be the last Bloom Day for them this year.  The first frost will bring them to an end, so they remind me every day to enjoy each and every moment of this fall.

The leaves on the trees have just begun to turn, and with the warm weather we've had for most of this month, it's hard to think of winter just a few weeks away.  If you'll pardon the pun, it's been a "berry nice" fall.  Viburnum 'Cardinal Candy' above is full of little berries to tempt the birds.

My non-gardening daughter asked me one day if these were blackberries, and I told her she was close, but I wouldn't recommend eating them.  I enjoy this stage of blackberry lilies as much as I do their earlier blooms.

The crabapples are full of fruit this year--enough to keep the birds happy for awhile.

And one of my personal fall favorites--the Beautyberry.

The weatherman has promised warm weather through the end of the month.  I certainly hope he's right, not only to finish all my fall chores, but also to enjoy the remaining beauty of the garden for as long as I can.  I hope you are enjoying Autumn as well!

To see what else is blooming around the world on this mid-October day, be sure to visit our hostess Carol of May Dreams Gardens.