Friday, October 15, 2010

October Bloom Day: Enjoying the Moment

October is a bittersweet time in the garden.  A glass-half-empty kind of person would say that it's only a matter of time before the first hard frost brings all of this to an end.  A glass-half-full kind of person would breathe in every scent and be thankful for each lovely sight, no matter how transitory.  For today, let us be in that second group. 

There is certainly enough still to enjoy in the garden.  Surprisingly, there are even some new blooms amidst the dried seedheads and withered stems.  The biggest surprise for me was the new blooms on Hemerocallis 'Moonlight Masquerade.'  This daylily bloomed for the first time this spring, but I had no idea it was a re-bloomer. 

Though even the asters have mostly faded away, this one at the front of the butterfly garden surprised me with its pink, not purple, blooms.  Could this be the Aster tartaricus that Gail gave me last year?  If so, I won't feel quite so bad about all the plants I pulled out this summer, thinking they were weeds.

The pineapple sage is finally starting to bloom.  It's a late bloomer anyway, but this seems unusually late. Perhaps it needed the cool weather to finally put out some blooms.  And yes, I know it's blurry, but it's been rather windy here lately.

I was also excited to see some blooms for the first time this year on the lemon verbena.  This is an annual here in zone 5, but last year's plant never bloomed even though it grew very tall.  The blooms aren't that showy; the real feature of this plant is its fragrance.  I can't walk by it without plucking a leaf and rubbing it, releasing its fresh lemon scent.

Other new blooms come from a new-to-my-garden plant, a gift from Cheryl.  This 'Strawberry Vanilla' hydrangea is a new hybrid this year, and I was surprised when we found it in our local garden center.  Its delicate white blooms with pink centers are pretty, but I'm anxious to see if next year it will fulfill its promise of white to pink to nearly red blooms, looking like a double dip strawberry-vanilla ice cream cone.  

Another new plant was purchased at a clearance sale late in August.  Plopped in the butterfly garden and then promptly forgotten, this gaura apparently has suffered no ill effects from my neglect.

The Knockout roses have also put out a flush of new blooms, enjoying the cooler weather. 


While some annuals succumbed to the heat this summer, many others have been invigorated by fall temperatures.  The double impatiens have done well all year.

I had forgotten just how neon pink these geraniums in the old fern planter were.

After a near-death experience this summer, the verbena (name forgotten, but it's not 'Homestead' verbena this year) is finally coming into its own.

And, of course, you can't beat 'Victoria Blue' salvia for an eye-popping purple accent each fall.  It is one of those annuals that will hang on until the bitter end this season.

Sweet alyssum, usually overlooked, finally is commanding some attention.  I didn't realize how much it disliked heat; it looked nearly dead most of the summer.

The containers are looking pretty ratty, though.  If I were more ambitious, I'd start cleaning most of them out, but I did replace a few plants--pansies and violas take the place of the now-defunct petunias.

Flowering kale and a cheery mum add some fall color. 

The detritus of the vegetable garden is partially hidden by some fall color as well,
 including the purple ruffled kale.

It makes a winning combination paired with yellow marigolds.

But the real fall color isn't in my garden at all, but all around me. 

The golds, oranges, and vivid reds of autumn can be seen by looking up, not down.


Even the ash trees, not normally the showiest in my yard, are putting on a show.  Their time is brief, though--this photo was taken two days ago, and this afternoon I noticed that the wind has already helped half the leaves to fall.  If ever there was a time, now is the time to go out and enjoy every moment, or as the oft-quoted line from Elizabeth Lawrence says,

"Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn."

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is hosted each month by the ever-entertaining Carol of May Dreams Gardens.  Do stop by to see what is blooming all over the world right now.


  1. Rose, your garden is filled with beautiful color. I am always amazed at how they continue to flourish even after a frost.

    There was one year I recall a rose in bloom in February; we had freezing rain and the ice encapsulated the blossom. Really neat stuff still happens.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend. I'm headed to the kitchen to take care of more tomatoes from the garden.

  2. Absolutely gorgeous shots. So much is blooming on the prairie.You daylily is very pretty. Our Stella are blooming now, but I did not picture them on my post. To ordinary a daylily I guess.

  3. Love your post. I've been doing a lot of sitting and watching lately. It's so nice this time of year. Definitely a glass half full...

  4. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. It led me here, where I feasted on all of your lovely photos.

  5. Bittersweet beautiful, Rose. A lovely post with thoughtful autumn thoughts.

  6. That kale is great! I had to give up on my containers after they were ravaged repeatedly by chipmunks. I've cleaned out the pots and will be putting bulbs in them for forcing this weekend, so that made me feel better.

  7. My glass is more than 1/2 full Rose. I just love this time of year!

    Beautiful color in your October garden.

  8. That's a really attractive daylily! L

  9. A lovely colourful post Rose! All your blooms are beautiful and so Summery looking, I could smell the rose (that variety may not have a scent of course) and when I saw it I immediately smelled the roses of my childhood and remembered making rose petal scent...happy memories!

    I loved the colour combination of the kale and the yellow marigolds, very pretty.

    Lovely photos throughout and the tree at the end is really beautiful.

    I was writing a comment here last night when your comment came in on my blog, it was nice to know we were visiting each other at the same time :) It did alert me to the ridiculous time it was here though so I abandoned it in a hurry and went to bed rapidly!

  10. Hi Rose, love everything still in bloom in your garden. I really love guara--I also got some on sale last year--they didn't make it through the winter, but I didn't care--they bloomed so much all season, and I enjoyed them a lot. Also, a half-full person might think "Thank goodness, a break from working!" about upcoming winter. Fall has always been my favorite season and I look forward to winter. Until Feb. Then I'm done.

  11. Wow! What a lot of color you still have. I love the daylily; I've always been partial to the ones with those showy centers. The ash trees around here have been spectacular this fall.

  12. Your Moonlight Masquerade is lovely. It's one of my favorite daylilies.

    I'm not normally a glas half full kind of person, but thankfully am with what is left blooming in the garden. Especially with the beautiful fall weather.

  13. Looks like alot is still going strong in your garden this October Rose. Not being a glass half full kind of girl myself, I decided to look at my garden this way and realized it still looks pretty good inspite of the dreadful summer we just endured. Love that Hydrangea, it's a pretty one! :)

  14. Looks like a really colorful time of year for you with those late blooming flowers and the leaves on the trees starting to color up. Happy belated bloomday!

  15. What beautiful fall colors you have! Both in and out of the garden. Nice variety of blooms.

  16. The kale is so pretty especially with the marigolds. And I do love asters. They remind me of my childhood garden.

  17. Wow, Rose you still have so much color in the garden to enjoy! I agree, the yellow marigolds and purple kale are quite a match :) Happy Bloom day to you too!

  18. Thanks for sharing your blooms Rose. Wish I had some to share.

    At work we have some beautiful alyssum blooming right now. Looks and smells so pretty.

  19. It is wonderful, Rose, all of it! You have many flowers, or so the photos make it appear. We have brought our lemon verbena inside for the first time, trying for the winter vacation in the greenhouse. Those leaves are beyond lemon-y. Your fall is fabulous! :-)

  20. Rose, you have a rainbow going on in your garden/yard. How pretty it all looks. Looking at your photos, was like getting a shot of happy.

    Seeing your 'Moonlight Masquerade' photo reminds me that I still have a few pots of lilies waiting to be planted. Bought them in July:(

    It's true that Sweet Alyssum takes a backseat to other blooms in the heat of summer but when the cool temps return, they shine.

    The trees around here also put out a beautiful display of color. A few weeks ago we went to Michigan's UP for the weekend just to soak up the beauty.

    Hope you and your family are all doing well.


  21. Thanks for visiting, everyone; I've been trying to make my rounds of Bloom Day posts instead of writing individual replies here. It's surprising how much is still blooming here in October; I'm going to enjoy this beautiful fall for as long as I can.

  22. what a beautiful october garden. so much color <3

  23. Your blooms are looking awesome! I was surprised when I read that your daylily photo was current. I thought that was part of your glass being half full.

    I got a different kind of pineapple sage this year, and it probably won't bloom at this point, because I'm not watering much, and it shrivels every time it's a bit dry. I don't think I've had lemon verbena bloom before, either.

    I like that verbena, and your fall foliage is beautiful!

    Yes, soon it will freeze. It's supposed to get down to 37 tonight. I'm not ready, but at least we've made it this far.

  24. My GOODNESS, Rose! You've got an amazing number of fabulous, beautiful blooms! I'm so surprised at the daylily! Love it!

  25. I love that Daylily, what a neat bonus. If you want to know whether that is Aster tataricus, look at the basal foliage. A. tataricus has large (like a foot long), undivided basal foliage. If you don't see those, then that's something else.

  26. Dear Rose,
    It was a most enjoyable garden tour! You have lots in bloom. Thank you.
    For me, October is all about the leaves and saying goodbye to the butterflies...
    I am outside as much as possible it is just gorgeous!


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