By mid-October, the flowers in the garden seem to be merely hanging on, much like the gardener, waiting for the inevitable “killing frost”. In many ways, the frost is welcome. It answers the question as to when it will happen. It is the cue to begin the final act of the garden.
And for this final act, the Endless Summer® Hydrangeas have changed from their girlish pink color of summer to a more mature mauve of fall.
The ‘Earthwalker’ sunflowers no longer have petals, but are just seed heads left for the birds to eat.
In a few days, I’ll cut them down, and if there are any seeds left, I’ll put those out for the birds and compost the rest of the plant.
The Asters, a passalong plant from my aunt, are still blooming, though they’ve clearly seen brighter days.
Soon I’ll cut them back, too, to avoid their inevitable self-sowing, though as I cut them back there are always clouds of seeds that escape into the wind, giving me plenty to weed out in the spring.
Elsewhere in the garden, I see many of the same blooms of the October bloom days of 2008 and 2007, including mums, toad lilies, verbena, sedum, hydrangeas and a few errant roses from the two or three roses I have.
A new bloom this month is Kalimeris pinnatifida ‘Hortensis.’, also known as the Oxford Orphanage Plant or Double Japanese Aster.
I planted this in early September and it is fully blooming now, as fully blooming as the tiny plant can bear. I like it and think of Elizabeth Lawrence when I see it, and I always will, giving it my own common name of “Elizabeth Lawrence’s Oxford Orphanage Double Japanese Aster”. It is welcome in my garden, adding more bloom to October, a month that needs more blooms.
By this time next week, I expect the real color in the garden will come not from flowers but from leaves, as they turn to all shades of yellow, orange, and red. They will be the final curtain call of this year’s garden. And while this final curtain call goes on, I won't just be standing there clapping and heading for the exit. Instead, I'll be on my knees, planting bulbs for the new blooms of spring and the beginning of a whole new show.
How is your garden blooming this month? Are you ready for a killing frost, the end of the show, or is fall the beginning of your second gardening season?
Whatever your circumstances and however your garden looks during these October days, I hope you’ll join us for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day this month. All are welcome!
It's easy to participate. Just post on your blog about what is blooming in your garden on the 15th of the month and then leave a link in the ‘Mr. Linky’ widget below and a comment so we can find you and visit your garden to see what you have blooming. If you don’t have a blog and would just like to share what is blooming, feel free to leave a comment.
“We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” – Elizabeth Lawrence