October 15, 2016

Warm Days After Flirting With Frost

autumn pot

We’ve escaped the icy grips of Father Frost in our garden, which means an extended season of flowers. Yippee. In the countryside and along the roadways, few nectar sources remain except Asters, White Snakeroots, a few Goldenrods, and the occasional reblooming wildflowers--confused, perhaps, that a restart of warmth means it could be spring.

Of course, we know better.

So the autumn march begins ... stuffing front porch pots with hardy kales and cabbages, decorating the house for Halloween and Thanksgiving, planning for upcoming family gatherings, and preparing our psyches for that season of white and gray and brown.

But not quite yet ...

cut flowers

Since we had a threat of frost recently, I clipped the brightest Zinnias and some Coleus foliage for a floral arrangement.

zinnnias

But after two nights in the mid-30s F (~2C), followed by a warm-up, the Zinnias (Z. elegans) are popping into bloom again.

sedum

Of course, Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is in its element.

lantanas

The Lantanas (L. camara) are budding and blooming as if it's May.

pentas

Same with the Pentas (P. lanceolata 'Graffit Violet').

cosmos

I didn't clip the remaining 'Sensation Mix' Cosmos (C. bipinnatus), thinking they could take a light frost. Turns out, they didn't need to fight for life anyway. I'll have a few more for cuttings next week.

salvia

'Cathedral Sky Blue' Salvia (S. farinacea) looks straggly. I could trim it to encourage more blooms, but that would be silly since it's living on borrowed time. Might as well let it bloom for the straggler pollinators.

lamium

The Lamiums' (L. maculatum) little hoods also welcome any pollinators still hanging on to the last warm days of the growing season.

fuchsias

'Marinka' Fuchsias in hanging baskets are like ever-bearing shrubs. I overwintered them last year in the sunroom, and I'll do the same this year. Why not save a few bucks? The hummingbirds do seem to enjoy them so!

mistflower

Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) has been blooming since August, adding clouds of soft blue to the garden.

mistflower critters

I haven't seen as many bees on the Mistflower lately (unlike earlier in the season when they were busy buzzing around it), but I did notice a stink bug and a lady beetle, among other insects.

asters and mistflower

My vision for this part of the garden is starting to take shape: Mistflower makes a pretty backdrop for the 'Vibrant Dome' Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae).

The days are shorter and the light is lower in the sky. Autumn is with us, but it's a mild one this year.

How about you? What's blooming and brightening your garden this October?

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day
Foliage Follow-Up

57 comments:

  1. So much beauty, Beth! I love your Blue mistflower--mine doesn't bloom for quite as long, but it's a winner! I'm amazed that the lantana is still blooming--I don't grow any (I must be the only one in Texas who doesn't), but they're usually gorgeous here in autumn. Hope you don't get a hard freeze too soon!

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    1. Hi Tina. Thanks! This was definitely a good year for the Mistflower! Yes, the Lantanas bloom continuously from planting time until the first frost, and sometimes a little beyond. They're great annuals for Midwestern gardens, and the butterflies love them! We don't have frost in the 10-day forecast, but of course that can change. The downside is that our fall foliage isn't as vibrant as it normally would be, but oh well ... it's nice to be comfortable out in the garden and for various other outdoor activities.

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  2. your planter is a reminder to turn attention to foliage - the backbone of the garden! still what a vision of loveliness are the feather boas of mistflower - not one we have here. Here this time of month is perfect for fuchsias which in London garden stop blooming in summer thanks to predations of capsid bug which evidently dislike these colder days. Wishing for more rain

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    1. Thanks--I was happy with the way the planters turned out. The Fuchsias do seem to thrive in your London climate, don't they? I've seen examples on various blogs, and I remember the Fuchsias being incredibly vibrant and healthy when we visited London a few years ago. They like my climate (and shade) too, except during the summer's hottest days when they go a little dormant.

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  3. Japanese Anemones, Asters and annuals. This crazy weather has the climbing rose setting blooms again. Happy GBBD.

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    1. Oh, I'm imagining your climbing roses in bloom--that must be so pretty against the backdrop of the colorful autumn leaves. Sounds like you are having a mild autumn, too?

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  4. We did get some frost here, but not close to the house, where most of my flowers are. Marigolds, zinnias, cosmos, and four O'clocks are all still blooming, and there are still quite a few bumblebees on them. I did take in my hummingbird feeder, and I've been removing some annuals to get bulbs into the ground for the long sleep :-)

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    1. My hummingbird feeders are still out because the level is still decreasing. But I'm thinking it might be the resident Red-Bellied Woodpecker, because I just found out they use HB feeders, too. I've been planting some bulbs, as well, and I need to get going on that. Thanks for the reminder!

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  5. Gorgeous, Beth. I love that Blue Mistflower. Must add it to my garden next year. Enjoy your beauties while they last!

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    1. Thanks, Lynn. I will enjoy the blooms as long as possible. :) The Mistflower is awesome. I'm so glad I added it to the garden a few years ago. It's taken a while to establish, but we're getting there. :)

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  6. Beautiful photos, Beth. We dropped down to 'ice on the rain barrel' temps for two nights, so I have to pull the plug on the garden. I'm so happy to see you have flowers to enjoy for a bit longer.

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    1. Thanks, Karen. Yikes, that sounds cold! But now you're warm again, too, right? So you have the added benefit of not having mosquitoes. We still have the biting bugs around here, but they're not as bad as they were. It is nice to have the flowers for a little longer.

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  7. Oh, I like your kale pot a lot! And, the Blue Mistflower is intriguing. I think it looks a lot like a taller version of Ageratum, which I just discovered looks great with Little Bluestem grass in its fall colors. I'm sensing a future combo trial here... Happy GBBD, Beth!

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    1. Thanks, Anna. I've heard the Mistflower referred to as Hardy Argeratum. They have similar flowers, and are both in the Aster family. Yes, I think it would be lovely with Little Bluestem! I'll look forward to posts about this new combo in your garden.

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  8. You're quite a writer - loved this post.
    I hope you disposed of the harlequin and the stinkbug [in a humane way of course :-)]
    jo
    http://bloomday.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/october-bloom-day.html

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    1. Thanks, Joanna. No, I was a little concerned about the stinkbug because we've had some non-native, invasive species of stinkbug moving in. But I think this one is a native insect and it offers the birds some tasty treats. I would never dispose of the lady beetle--they eat the aphids and other harmful insects off my plants. :)

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  9. I am surprised how resilient plants can be. The first frost is always hard because it's like reality hits you in the face. The transition into winter is always hardest for me but once it is in full swing I can embrace it. I like how you cut the blooms to savor them indoors.

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    1. Yes, they're resiliency is amazing. I know we've had a killing frost when the Hostas collapse. So far, they're really hanging in there. When the Hostas are mush it really changes the character of the garden because we have so many. But, as you say, there's something special about winter, too--a little of it, anyway. ;-)

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  10. Every time I see your blue mist flower, I make a mental note to add some to my garden next year. Otherwise, we do have many of the same blooms, and I'm enjoying them for as long as they last, just like you. This is the time of year when we know everything can change overnight. I do love and envy that fuschia, too!

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    1. Oh, yes, I think you would like the Mistflower. It does tend to spread, which some people complain about. But if you have rabbits as I do, it's actually hard to get the Mistflower going. Yes, indeed, before we know it all the plants but the evergreens will say so long for the year. :(

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  11. Oh, lucky you to still have such wonderful, colourful blooms in your garden! I did have some zinnias still going but the plants had basically keeled over and I needed to finish cleaning up the tomato bed (which is where they were planted), so I pulled those up this past weekend. The sedums are still blooming as is the borage and a very showy plant which I believe is a late blooming Joe Pye Weed (Bartered Bride perhaps?).

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    1. We lucked out this time. Believe it or not, the Zinnias are actually blooming better now because the trees are losing their leaves allowing more sunlight in. Oh, I really need to try growing Borage. It's a pretty little bloomer and it sounds like it's somewhat cold-hardy?

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    2. It dies back in the winter, but it self-seeds like crazy. I planted it once and have had it pop up in the garden ever since..just a bit of a warning on that!

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  12. While Father Frost can visit us any time now, he often waits until later in November. You still have many beautiful blooms hanging in there. Your kale and grass planter is especially nice and will keep going through winter for you yes?

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    1. I was thinking that you guys didn't have frost until much later than we do. Our average first frost falls in early to mid-October. Some folks around here have had frost, but I think our location here by the lake, with trees, on a hill, and other factors protects us a bit from the first icy nights. Thanks--I was happy with the way the planters turned out. Yes, I think they should be in good shape through December or so. They actually look more colorful in the colder weather.

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  13. Your garden is still so colorful! I love all the bright colors of fall; it's the last great fling for nature before the winter sleep.

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    1. I enjoy fall, too. A "normal" autumn with tons of bright, colorful foliage takes my breath away with its beauty. A mild autumn like this one is just so darn comfortable--I want to be outside all the time! I'm not ready for the winter sleep yet!

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  14. Beautiful! And the first picture is really inspiring me. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Endah! And you are welcome. The garden center where I bought the ornamental kales and cabbages inspired me, so I'm paying it forward. :)

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  15. You have a lovely garden, I bet the bees and other insects love all the blooms!

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    1. Thank you! Usually the pollinators are pretty busy and happy here, but I think some of them have hibernated already. I haven't seen any Monarch butterflies in my garden since I released the ones I raised from the egg stage. I think the garden was too shady this year with all the extra precipitation in August and September. But, yes, in a "normal" year there are tons of pollinators around.

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  16. You still have so many gorgeous blooms. I love that pentas. Oh and the powder blue mist flower. Lovely. Well they are all gorgeous. And I like your winter pot, you can always eat it if you fancy a change.

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    1. Thanks. I really like the Pentas, too. They seem like the perfect little nectar vessels for hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. The Blue Mistflower is starting to fill in nicely. Ha! The kales and cabbages are fun to play with in pots. I hope they'll hold up until the holidays.

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  17. We had a nipping frost, and I did bring in the best dahlias, but I think we also will have continuing blooms now that it has warmed up again. Your garden is much more floriferous than mine at this point. Beautiful photos.

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    1. Thanks, Pat. This has been a weird year for weather! We had so much rain in August, September, and early October. And it's so warm now--nearly 80F today! Usually, our Octobers are cool and dry. It feels like we're living in the south. But we're supposed to cool down later this week and get a little break with the rain. That will be nice.

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  18. Everything is still beautiful and colorful. Glad you're enjoying an extended bloom time.

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    1. Me, too. It's awesome to have Zinnias and Cosmos into the end of October! Thanks!

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  19. So nice to see all those beautiful colors!

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    1. It's unusual for us to have so many plants still going strong this time of year. The Goldenrods are even starting to re-bloom!

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  20. Lovely post.

    Enjoy the colorful flowers and hope you have a gentle autumn.

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    1. Thanks, Aaron. This next week is starting to look more normal, with cooler temperatures (but not too cold) and dry weather which will be nice. I hope your autumn is pleasant, too.

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  21. Hi,
    I am so thankful for this Wisconsin October, it has been so nice. All of my marigolds are still in full bloom. It is so nice to see the bumblebees that are still visiting.

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    1. Yes, I agree, Carla. The weather has been awesome. I haven't seen as many bumbles lately--maybe because it has been so rainy. Perhaps I'll notice a resurgence this next week. Enjoy the beautiful October!

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  22. You have lots blooming still! I am so loving this weather.

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    1. Yes, and even a week later many are still going strong. It looks like the squirrels and rabbits dug around the Mistflower, so it's starting to fade now. The weather is awesome, isn't it? I couple of cold days this week again, but then more mild weather. It's so comfortable.

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  23. Great photos. We're not even flirting with frost here. We're just sneaking glances from across the room. Lows expected to remain in the 50s through October.

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    1. Ha! We've had several nights in the low 30s, but no frost here. Crazy. My Hostas have never lasted this long in the season!

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  24. this morning grey gloomy and lovely 5 mm of rain. Now the sun shines.

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    1. The sun after the rain--so rewarding! Enjoy!

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  25. Your post was a treat and a reminder to add more late bloomers. Wind and rain have made short work of all but the Fuchsias here.

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    1. Thanks, Ricki. This is late for a first frost for me. The Zinnias, Cosmos, and Lantanas are still going strong! Crazy.

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  26. No frost for us, the weather has been too warm. I still have flowers in bloom and bees are still visiting, but like they say, just a day is all you need for a drastic weather change in WNY. At least we are finally getting rain.

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    1. Yes, all it takes is one killing frost. I'll be saving the Fuchsias in baskets, so I bring them inside on cold nights, but the annuals in the ground are still going strong. I'm not seeing many pollinators, though. Our nights in the low 30s must have convinced them it was time.

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  27. We are still wishing for rain, even though over the past 36 hours we got a whole half inch! And just about the only things in bloom are the asters and sheffield daisies which are blooming rampantly. YOur photos are beautiful and show how different climates are even though we may be in the same Zone. Endless mysteries.

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    1. Thanks, Pat. Yes, geography and the tracking patterns of weather can make a big difference, for sure. This is unusual for us. Most years, the flowers would be kaput by now, or at least showing damage from frost. I'm glad you got a little rain, and here's hoping for more in the weeks ahead.

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  28. Crazy weather this month, yes? Two nights near freezing again last week, then Indian Summer again over the weekend. Hope you were able to get out and enjoy it!

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    1. It's been a crazy growing season, overall. It's hard to put into words. More mild weather ahead after a couple of cool days and nights. Weird.

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