Tuesday, October 15, 2013

GBBD: Before the Frost

It can't be October 15 already!  Where has the month gone??  We've had so many warm sunny days since the end of summer that I have been lulled into a sense of complacency that it will last forever.  Fall clean-up chores have been put off--it's hard to pull up annuals when they're still blooming.  Spring bulbs arrived last week, but my habit of planting bulbs usually involves a biting wind and layers of sweatshirts, not temperatures in the 80's.  But the forecast for later this week indicates a change is in the air; it's time for me to stop procrastinating and get serious about gardening once again.  It's also means I need to take some time to enjoy the last blooms of the garden while I can.

One of the highlights of the garden this fall has been this Encore Azalea.  Both plants, gifts from Southern Living, have been covered in blooms for the past few weeks.  They're still babies, but if they continue to bloom like this as they grow in the coming years, I will be thrilled.

I've often complained sadly noted that my one Japanese Anemone, planted a few years ago, has never bloomed.  Much to my delight, I discovered that I was wrong!  Looking more closely at the arbor bed one day, I discovered it was doing just fine, just blooming later than I expected.  I'm not sure if this is 'Honorine Jobert' or 'Robustissima,'  but I really don't care--I'm just excited to see it finally blooming.  One thing I do know, however, is that it's hidden behind some taller plants--some moving around needs to be done so that it can be better appreciated.

The ubiquitous 'Stella D'Oro' lilies have put out a few last gasps.  I usually have a couple of re-bloomers in the fall, but this is the only daylily that has re-bloomed this year.

The days are numbered for the annuals, in particular, as a killing frost could come any day now.  Most of the containers are looking pretty shabby anyway.  I've replenished a few with fall annuals like pansies, kale, and mums, but I'm going to let most of them fade/freeze away so I can clean them out.  Say what you will about mums, I like them for their fall color.

The containers that still look the best are the ones filled with coleus.  Wish I could remember the name of this one because it's been my favorite with deep magenta leaves that turn almost black in the center.  I'm glad I remembered one of the lessons learned last fall and planted several containers focusing on foliage rather than blooms.

While the coleus are doomed to go with the first frost, the impatiens protected somewhat on the porch wall may last a little longer.  I've planted this living wreath with a bargain flat of impatiens for several years now, but it's never done as well as this year.  Even though it's looking a bit bedraggled now, it has been full of blooms all summer.

The Hyacinth Bean Vine has a few blooms and its distinctive purple pods, though it never turned into the monster it usually becomes.

While many annuals have seen better days, the lantana is looking even better than earlier in the season.  This is my favorite annual for hot, dry summers.

A volunteer petunia, whose origins remain a mystery to me, is still putting out some blooms in the arbor bed.

And of course, there are still zinnias!  While cleaning up the roadside garden one day, I got distracted by two Monarchs flitting about.  I was so in awe of two Monarchs at once that I completely forgot what I had set out to do. They floated from one flower to another, but always landed on the zinnias--reason enough to plant these old-fashioned favorites.

The arbor bed is full of 'Victoria' Salvias--the 'Blues' were mostly planted from seedlings this spring, but all the 'Victoria Whites' are volunteers. Probably my favorite fall annual--it will take a hard freeze before these pretties finally lose their appeal.  And in front of them, of course, is the annual I've bragged about so much this year, the 'Zowie Yellow Flame' zinnias.  These have been blooming nonstop--and with very little deadheading from this lazy gardener--since the end of July.

As if you need further motivation to plant these gorgeous zinnias, the butterflies love them.  The Red Admirals and a few other butterflies have made a late arrival here, and I'm enjoying them, too, for as long as possible, knowing that it won't be long before they head for warmer climes.

While it's only a matter of time before the frost claims all the annuals, there will still be some color in the garden for awhile.  'October Skies' asters are full of light blue/lavender blooms right now.  I don't often show a fuller shot of this late perennial--ignore the weeds, please!--but I wanted you to get the full effect of these mounds of blooms.

Love these blue blooms--and so do the bees!

Another late fall favorite--the Beautyberry--is full of lavender berries.

Late fall is also peak time for the grasses. 'Morning Light' Miscanthus will be waving in the breeze not only after the frost, but all through the winter.

How is your garden doing this fall?  Stop by May Dreams Gardens where our hostess Carol welcomes all to join in this monthly celebration of what is blooming on Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.


  1. It's looking glorious! Those lantana berries are really neat. The coleus beautiful! So glad your anemone blooomed. It's been a good year for them.

  2. All so very beautiful!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
    Lea's Menagerie

  3. Gorgeous...love the monarch..I have been seeing them a lot lately...happy gbbd!

  4. Another reason I miss my Zinnias! Why oh why didn't I plant them?! :( 'October Skies' ... hmmm, I should have gone with that one. But the Asters I found at the garden center were the only ones left. You give me ideas, though. Lovely blooms and lovely photos, Rose!

  5. I mainly have annuals blooming now too. That azalea is gorgeous. A perfect ending to the season. Happy GBBD.

  6. I love your asters. Our garden had many more little butterflies this year. It was amazing. They loved the garlic chive blossoms. All gone now. Happy GBBD Day!

  7. I love your living wreath and the butterflies and salvias.
    I have Japanese Anemones but they are pink. They are spreading everywhere and will have to be thinned out.
    I do love them though.
    Yes..... we have also been warned about frost tonight. I believe the clocks go back soon. Winter...... I don't like it!
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

  8. I love Honorine Jobert. I have had some trouble with it when I give it too much shade. In the right conditions it can get quite aggressive. Your Beautyberry is gorgeous. I just planted the dwarf cultivar 'Issei', which is exotic. Looks like you have the native. I want one of those too, of course!

  9. Love the zinnias and butterflies. Your garden is just beautiful.

  10. Things to add to my wish list:
    Beauty Berry and Hyacinth bean vine!! So beautiful Rose, and wonderful shots too.

  11. I need more sun so I can plant zinnias and make the butterflies happier! Love them and your asters. They make me smile. Happy GBBD.

  12. I think your anemone is Honorine Jobert. I believe Robustissima is more pink than white.

    Isn't it amazing how nice some of our flowers still look at this point in the season? I agree with you that some of them even look their very best now!

    I'll be sad when the frost comes and puts an end to the Zowies! I'll be bring in some huge bouquets that night! They really last a long time in a vase! Happy Bloom Day!

  13. Happy GBBD! Your garden is so lush late in the year. I've heard that some plants don't bloom the year after replanting since they use their energy to establish roots.

  14. Lookin' good there Rose. Is it possible that your mystery coleus is Gnash Rambler? It certainly looks like it and is one of the many I grow here. Happy Fall Rose!~~Dee

  15. Your photos are always so inspiring! And I love the asters shot you're using for your header --I need to get that aster :-)

    I definitely have some things I need to move around --I got an aster moved a week or so ago, but there are other plants that are just in the wrong place.

  16. Tina, I'm wondering now if my anemone bloomed last year and I just didn't see it. I think I need to move it where I can see it better.

    Lea, Thanks; always appreciate your visits!

    Janie, We've had so few butterflies this year, I was thrilled to see the Monarchs; they're my very favorite.

    Plantpostings, I have a feeling there will be zinnias in your garden next year:) I planted the 'October Skies' because of their color, but also because they're a lower-growing, more mounding type of aster. I also thought they wouldn't re-seed, but I've found out that part isn't true.

    Lisa, Isn't that azalea something? If it does that well as it grows bigger, I'll be thrilled. I just hope it survives the winter here.

    Pat, We had very few butterflies until the last few weeks. I think they've headed south now.

    Maggie May, Anemones can spread, but mine sure doesn't show any signs of spreading. I love autumn, but I'm not thrilled about winter either!

  17. Jason, So far my anemone is anything but aggressive:) I don't remember where I first saw a beautyberry, but I'm so glad I decided to plant one here--I love it.

    Dorothy, Thank you; the butterflies make the perfect accessory to zinnias!

    Suburbia, The hyacinth bean vine is fun and so easy to grow. In past years, it's gone crazy!

    Gail, Zinnias do love the sun, so I understand. The butterflies have been drawn to them more than any other plant.

    Cosmos, Thanks for the i.d.--I thought this was Honorine, but couldn't remember for sure. I must bring in some Zowies, too!

    Sarah, Things are looking much better than usual at this time of year, but it's also been warmer than usual. This is the third year for the Japanese Anemone, so I had about given up hope on it.

  18. Dee, Somewhere I have the tag for the coleus. Gnash Rambler doesn't ring a bell for me, but this was part of a major plant shopping spree one day, so it's no wonder I don't remember:)

    Cassie, My plan was to move lots of plants around this fall, but the way things are going, it will be spring before I get to all of them. The header is of the 'October Skies' when they first began to bloom.

  19. Oh the comment section is giving me problems....Love all your blooms especially those grass plumes.

  20. Rose, beautiful fall garden! All flowers are in bloom, herbs, nice wreath, asters. I think you'll have nice time before the first frost!

  21. I was just looking at my Southern Living gifts today and they are looking very well. I really like your Impatiens wreath even with less bloom. It gives it more a cottage feel. I like your butterfly shots very much. I now feel the same way when I see a Monarch. Easy to be distracted and a bit in awe.

  22. I've had a couple of Encore azaleas (Amethyst) for over 12 years and they are very nice. That particular cultivar isn't very cold hardy but no doubt a lot of work has been put into the Encore line since then. It's nice to have an azalea that blooms twice a year!

    Your asters are gorgeous!

  23. The weather has been unseasonably warm here as well and it has also lulled me into a sense that the mild fall will stretch on and on. I especially like the plants opening and closing your post Rose: the Encore Azalea- what a nice bonus to have a late flush of flowers and the 'Morning Light' Miscanthus- I like those feathery white plumes. The deep magenta coleus and the asters are also pretty. I would love to try my hand at a living wreath. Even a bit bedraggled yours is quite lovely.

  24. Like you I hesitate to pull any plants until they are well and truly dead from frost. I always want the gardening season to last just a little bit longer and it seems a shame to pull plants too quick. We've had our killing frosts already here, everything's a mass of black now and the clean up begins.

  25. Rose girl ! How are you ?
    I haven't been by for a while .. things are chaotic here with renos .. I swear when this is done it will be the last we do ? haha
    I so LOVE that living wreath with the inpatients !! I have not seen it done that way before .. what a great idea!!
    I did have any coleus this year for some reason .. I missed it because it is such a great foliage plant and that one you have is gorgeous .. I go for the darker ones to contrast with the light gray of our house.
    I really have to make myself get out in the garden and get some things done .. I don't know what happened this year, I really flopped .. could I be getting older? haha
    Very pretty pictures girl .. and I love the grass! I can't wait for mine to fill in more and look as good!
    Joy : )
    PS .. your zinnias and butterflies are beautiful!

  26. Aw, you have so much colour still! Gorgeous.

    I love your wreath.

  27. I see that we have some similar plants. I have the same Japanese Anemone...and also a pink one. They are mixed in with Black Eyed Susans. The susans really took over this year and I was afraid that the anemones wouldn't survive. But...there they stand in the cold air just blooming away.
    My Purple Hyacinth Bean did so well. A first year for me.

  28. Fall used to be my favorite time of year because of the cooler temps and colorful leaves. Lately, I've decided it's because of the many plants that shine their best at this time of year. The asters, the lantana, the beautyberry....We seem to have some plants in common, believe it or not. Your photos are stunning, Rose.

  29. Layanee, I don't have many grasses here, but when I see these miscanthus every fall, I think I really should plant more. I do hope if the comment section isn't working, someone lets me know via email!

    Nadeza, Our first frost arrived this morning, almost a week after posting this. I think the zinnias are done!

    Gardenwalk, I postponed getting my Southern Living gifts till this spring, hoping they would transplant better. I do hope the azaleas can stand up to our winter.

    Sweetbay, Thanks for this info; I plan to take some extra precautions with these azaleas this winter. I'd hate to lose them!

    Jennifer, The first frost hit this morning, so I've been given a good dose of reality...and I hope some motivation:) I like the living wreaths with succulents, but impatiens are far cheaper and look good during the summer.

    Marguerite, I think clean-up here begins today--my zinnias are brown:)

    Joy, Thanks for taking the time to visit--it's hard to keep up with blogging when there are lots of other projects going on. I've become a big fan of coleus--so easy and so dramatic. No worries about faded, spindly blooms:)

    Liz, Thanks; wish I'd taken a photo of the wreath in its prime. It's starting to feel more like winter today.

    Balisha, I wish the anemones and Susans would spread more in my garden. I have enough other plants that to muscle in on their territory, though. My Hyacinth Bean vine usually does better than this; I think I planted it when it was too wet. They're fun plants, aren't they?

    W2W, It's hard to believe we have some of the same plants, but I know lantana, for one, is a perennial in the South. Fall has become my second-favorite season, but I wish it would last longer!

  30. Oh I do love the bean vine and the beauty berry!

    Not much left flowering in my garden now, but more bulbs to plant so there is hope!

  31. Beautiful and so sad to say goodbye to such beauty. Love your living wreath and still hanging on too!

  32. Pretty, pretty, pretty, dear Rose ...

  33. Dee is right about the coleus, but, in addition to Gnash Rambler, it is also found as Hot Embers. If there is a difference between those two, I can't tell. It appeared as a sport of Twist and Twirl -- one of the early skirted coleus, named in homage to the first one, Tilt-a-whirl.


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