Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - October 2009

Welcome to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day for October 2009.

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


Lots more happening in your garden than here in southern Wisconsin. Alas, our flowers are gone so it will be nice to enjoy them in everyone's GBBD posts. Thanks as always for hosting.
Liisa said…
I love your asters. I just love asters. Mine came early and left early, so all that's left really are the mums... and the roses that are always there! Thank you for sharing!
John said…
Hi Carol, It does surprise me that even when I think the flowers are just about done, one just needs to look at little bit closer. It seems like there is always something new happening like your double Aster. I'll have to add that one to the plant for next year list...
Mark Disero said…
Thank you Carol for having 'Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day'. It is great fun to participate.
Kylee Baumle said…
How did it get to be October so soon, Carol?? Lots of blooms still going though, in spite of the cooler - no,colder - than normal weather.
VP said…
Yes, we have that inevitable slide into autumn here too Carol. However, like you there's still much left to enjoy in the garden, especially as we're having an Indian summer this week :)

Happy Blooms Day everyone!
Alan Pulley said…
Love the asters! Thanks for hosting & happy GBBD!
Thanks for hosting again Carol. My bloom day scans are here:
Hey Carol! I've discovered another plus to this GBBD lark - you can compare what you have in the garden this year to what you had last year... what a great idea. Thank you!
Yes, I feel the same way, merely hanging on...but when the frost comes, I need to kick in gear and those bulbs wont get planted by themselves! For now, I get to look at pretty flowers all over the country and abroad. I love this monthly tribute. Asters are some of my faves in the fall garden. Thank you Carol. H.
Carol, you are the one who inspired all of us for Garden bloggers bloom day. This is one lovely post by you and i love all the blooms specially the asters and sunflowers.
Les said…
It all sounds so melancholy until you get to the part about planting bulbs for next year. Gardeners are ever the optimists.

My post is here:
It Was a Dark and Stormy...

Thank you once again for hosting GBBD.
chaiselongue said…
I love the asters and the stark silhouettes of the sunflowers, still beautiful. You're right, it's the end of one season, but planning, planting and sowing goes on for next year - I find it exciting, which makes up for the slight sadness at the end of summer.
Marie said…
As I went out to take some pictures of my garden, I hoped there would be a few blooms to photograph. I was surprised to find so many colorful flowers. Every month I apprecieate the garden because GBBD makes me slow down and take a close look at my garden. Thank you for hosting!
Your blooms are looking good for the last of the year Carol. I will have to get out and see what might be hanging on here. HGBBD.
I love that Kalimeris! I'm always on the lookout for late bloomers, and a small one is doubly welcome, as most of my late bloomers are towering plants.
As for your question, it's too late. The frost was actually a killing freeze, but that doesn't stop some plants from blooming. Thanks for hosting Bloom Day and making it into such a fun event.
Caroline said…
I'm here - broken hand and all -- and I'm on time for once!
baltogardener said…
Your asters are lovely. We don't seem to have too many around here this season. Thanks for organizing this monthly post.
Kathy said…
Our leaves have already turned color and are maybe a quarter of the way fallen. Already had our killing freeze, but it didn't kill everything. I have some nice colchicums blooming, and a mysterious blue plant.
You still have a considerable amount of blooms in your garden, Carol. The early cold snap has left us with one of the coldest Octobers on record.

The hardy perennials and annuals are still going strong in my garden and Sunday and Monday promises the return of October-like weather which will find me out in the garden again.
In a way I'm ready for that frost since it means a little break. But in another way I know I'll be wishing for color in the late fall and winter. Time to add more evergreens and berry plants!
Hi Carol! I love the color of your hydrangea and how your asters grow in mass. My asters don't spread by seeds. They grow in the tough soil covered with mulch, under the big trees. Thank you for hosting GBBD.
Lee said…
Well mine are not exactly blooming anymore, dying is more like it.
Alexandra said…
Bloom Day has just made the fall gardening so inspiring. I can't wait to see what I still have in November, or what's moved inside! Thanks so much for this wonderful moment in time each month.
Despite the storm that blew through there are still blooms in Davis. I'm going to be planting bulbs soon too...whenever they get here!
Carol, I have been growing Japanese Asters for a number of years now. They are reliable and pest free. They bloom from early spring to frost for me in zone 7b.
My garden is still doing pretty well. We probably won't have a frost for another month. I love how Endless Summer changes, even the leaves look pretty.
Anonymous said…
I love bloom day! And now I have my own blog for it. Was cool to meet you at GWA! I never connected Indygardener with you!

Hope you are hanging in there, and you still have grass to mow :)

Rose said…
Love your "Endless Summers," Carol--the foliage is almost as pretty as the blooms. And I will have to check out those Japanese asters; my garden could certainly use more color in October.

I am hoping for warmer weather before a killing frost, but it doesn't look promising. Right now I'd just like a day of sunshine to get some gardening chores done! I finally have my Bloom Day post up after working on it all morning--it's 10:45 and I'm still in my pajamas, though:)
That new aster you have is quite pretty. I can see why you like it. I'm not ready for a killing frost yet, and don't expect one for a while. But I'm so exasperated by the rain that won't quit. I want to plant the bulbs I bought a few weeks ago (although first I need to amend some soil). I imagine your wait for frost won't be long now!
Anonymous said…
The rainy season has started here in Seattle. I'm glad. I'm heartily sick of watering, especially the pots. I have hardy cyclamen, pansies, asters, mums, dahlias, wallflowers, fuchsias, and abutilon, as well as assorted annuals which will bloom until we get frost sometime next month.
Jan said…
The Japanese Aster is a picture! I'm just going now to post a link to your blog!
I love “Elizabeth Lawrence’s Oxford Orphanage Double Japanese Aster" glad you have a new treasure to share! I love GBBD, even more so now that we've met in 'real' life. Enjoy some bright blooms from California...
I bet it is fun to watch the birds with those sunflower seed heads! One of these years, I'll plant sunflowers just for that reason. Preparations around here is to get more thermal mass in the greenhouse next month before the real cold sets in for December.
Martha Eskuchen said…
I'm enjoying joining your garden explorations! Thank you!
I really like that Japanese aster, I must find some for the Havens. I have places that need filling in, and that looks like just the ticket.

I finally got my post up, and I have to say that down here in this zone we have a lot more going on still. That is due to change soon, we have been promised a killing frost by the weather guessers for this weekend. So we have a lot of preparation to do still. We need to deploy the cold frames and harvest the chard. Meanwhile it is very pleasant to have all these gardens to visit on this rather cold and wet day.
After I reminded others to comment here, I failed to post a comment before I left for the Optician's this morning.

Thank you for hosting GBBD once again. Winter is nipping at the heels of many members already. Cool air is moving our way, but no frost predicted.

Happy Bloom Day, All. I'm loving the asters and mums and other fall beauties.
Sally said…
Thanks for encouraging me to go out there in the 40 degree F weather and see that there's still blooming. We're heavy on the asters here, too.
HappyMouffetard said…
Hi Carol,
It's great to see the changing seasons in peoples posts. My post is now up.
Thanks for hosting GBBD!
Rock rose said…
Thanks for hosting bloom day. Joining you in your fall garden brings back memories of when we lived along the St Lawrence. I rather enjoyed the getting out in the garden with the kids, raking up leaves and then going inside for hot chocolate and a fire.
I love asters but had no idea they self seeded. I thought they just sent out runners under the soil. That explains why I have them all over the place only mine seem to bloom in the early summer. Climate difference I expect. Your Oxford Orphanage plant has a very pretty flower.
Nancy said…
Hi Carol! I'm back after missing two months, and back with a vengence. Hope you enjoy the flame lilies!
Iris said…
Oh how I love your hydrangeas!
Thanks for hosting and Happy Bloom Day.
Kat Wolfdancer said…
I am such a dork! Anytime someone says "name", I immediately think "OH! My name is..." NOT 'OH! the name of my Blog is.... What a doofus!

I must cheat, because I have been working on my vege garden rather than my flower garden at home, and working at work rather than at home... *bah* SO! I used my Garden Center pictures, where color is still rampant, and I can still feel that Summer has not quite left us...

At home, my flowers are gone, and left standing as seedheads for the birds.

Happy Gardeninng!! & thank you, once again, carole for such a lovely venue!

My photo's will be posted shortly! This is my 2nd month doing Garden Blogger's Bloom Day and I'm having so much fun!
donna said…
Carol, I always enjoy my visits to your blog but especially so on the 15th of every month. When I was younger, it bothered me to have the frost take so many pretty blooms but now I think of it as a rest for me and the plants. All my containers are emptied except for some snapdragons. Still have bulbs to plant and a few bargain perennials.
My honey did a painting that looks something like your sunflowers. He loves to work with dead flowers...says the colors are more interesting, and last long enough to accommodate his slow methods. Makes me look at fading blooms with new appreciation.
Thanks, Carol, as always.
I LOVE that kalimeris!! And it's got a great name too so obviously I have to have it. Thanks as always for hosting bloom day!
cheers, kris
Gail said…
Happy Bloom Day! The Double Japanese Aster is a cutie pie? It looks like a coconut(ala echinacea) tartar aster! gail
Claire Brown said…
Wow I have to get some Hydrangeas, they look great still, - i'm amazed at how many flowers are still out.
Anonymous said…
I think I may have the same aster volunteering in my garden - anyone who likes to ID plants is invited to stop by my Bloom Day post and see if they can tell which aster it is.

Darn this whole work thing, though: I completely forgot about bloom day until the end of the day!
I am amazed to see all those sunflower blooms. The squirrels have long ago taken ours off of the plants. Your aster looks like mine. We've had our first frost already this year, earlier than usual. There area some survivors that I was able to get photos of. I really don't like winter, and cold. I am full of thoughts of spring.
Dee Nash said…
Happy Bloom Day my friend. Glad to see you still have some blooms in your garden in spite of this late date. I personally am looking forward to the rest during December and January. I'll need to plant bulbs soon.~~Dee
Helen said…
What a community you've created here with GBBD. It's as much fun reading the comments as looking at the gardens. Thank you again for acting on your inspiration.
chuck b. said…
I really like your asters. So nice this time of year. I have the weedier, unimproved native version in my g.
Jan said…
Carol, my post is up now. My asters are already finished blooming, just a few scattered flowers left. I don't mind if mine reseed since I have lots of spaces for new ones.

Always Growing
Congratulations on your gardening column Carol, especially in a time when many publications are dropping garden writers. I am lucky to be in my ninth year writing weekly columns for our local newspaper.
I love your idea of GBBD and will have to start participating.
A happy bloom day to you. Hope your new job of writing in the newspaper goes well. I'd be so pleased to see a link to some of your articles.
It has been a long wet bedraggled bloom day here in NC. I am reporting for bloom day duty as scheduled. Did I mention it was a wet bloom day? It is raining again here and the snow may be coming next.
JGH said…
Well, I made it into GBBD by the skin of my teeth! A few dollops of color here and there, but some things are just so hideous looking that I'm procrastinating even touching them. But it's really time to dig the annuals out now! Thanks, as always, for hosting, Carol!
I'm always sad to read about the end of your gardening season which comes when ours is kicking into high gear. And we live in the same hemisphere!

This has been a great October for Austin gardeners as it's been raining since mid-September almost without let up. Every once in awhile you'll hear someone start to complain about the rain and then catch themselves. My first October GBBD, the drought was just beginning and I was discouraged. Last October, I was too depressed even to write a GBBD post. Finally, our reprieve has come.

I wish our deadly summers had a concept like a "killing frost", something that would provide a sense of finality and enable us to get on with planning for the next season. But then I don't live in your reality--I can't really imagine how hard it must be for you to put the garden to sleep for the winter.
littlewing said…
Your Hydrangea is still very lovely and I hope you have better luck with the Kalimeris than me. I've tried it more than once and lost it overwinter. I think voles may have been the culprit.
I am -not- ready for the first frost since I still haave a couple of perennials that have yet to bloom.
Lee17 said…
Your asters are very pretty! My garden just came back to life after some much needed rain fell, so I have quite a few blooms this october. My sunflowers are also mostly done though, and I also leave out the seedheads for the golfinches :)
Kerri said…
Yes, that first killing frost puts an end to the anxiety of expectation, doesn't it? Now comes the emptying of containers and lots of other clean-up. Not my favorite job, but as you say, we'll be planting bulbs and dreaming of next spring :) I love those Japanese Asters. So pretty! It would be very welcome in my garden too. I must put it on my wish list.
Happy Bloom Day, Carol!
Another bloom day has come and already gone! Truly a miserable bloom day here... rain turning to snow, and very cold. I was so busy with other things, I couldn't get my post out until after midnight... I hope it still counts!
paul said…
if your readers are looking for more information on USDA plant hardiness zones, there is a detailed, interactive USDA plant hardiness zone map at
Carol said…
Hi Carol,

I do so love the colors in your first photo ... the hydrangea with the silver blue gray in the lambs ear. Lovely Photo! Have a good weekend. Carol
Unknown said…
Carol, I love the B&W image of the sunflower heads. It reminds me of some creepy Tim Burton backdrop. Your garden is lovely as always, thank you for hosting GBBD!
Rosemary Waigh said…
Beautiful photos, I especially like the hydrangea. Thanks for organizing Bloom Day!
Jan said…
Lovely garden photos. Here's mine:
Wendy said…
Asters are generally not my fave, but your double is really nice - I love the colors together on that flower. Here's this month's post -

It's somewhat of a cheat, but you've got to see my dad's chrysanthemums.

Most of what I have is going - like you, I have a errant rose or two... but I have high hopes for next month. I have several chrysanthemums in bed so if all goes well then next month...look out! I love GBBD.
garden girl said…
Nice post Carol. Your new Japanese aster is very pretty, as are the hydrangea blooms. The birds must be loving those sunflowers!

No frost here yet. This morning, for the first time in a week it's not raining. I took a break from building the Ark, snapped a few shots of what's still blooming here, and did a late post. Thank you for hosting GBBD!
Annie in Austin said…
Hi Carol- my GBBD post for October is late, but it's up.
Thanks for talking about the Kalmeris and adding the photo. I'd read about this little plant a long time ago -maybe via Allen Lacy? It was listed in the 1993 Montrose Catalog -all text, no photos - for $4.75. I wanted it then, but Zone 6 wouldn't work in IL and now TX would be too hot. So it's fun to see a friend enjoying Elizabeth Lawrence's treasure!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose
Unknown said…
Of course, things are so different down here in Texas. We're really just hotting our fall stride of blooms. I was at a BBQ tonight in our neighborhood, surrounded by blooming lantana and grasses. Just a gorgeous time of year to be here, and a welcome difference from our horrid summer this year.
What a lovely image of the Earthwalker seed heads against the sky. (I love the name for that sunflower)

Carol - apologies for being so very late with my post - but I am sure you didn't miss it as you have 119! What a fantastic amount of bloggers joining you on the 15th of every month.
Hi, Carol;
Found you through Frances! Can high mountain gardeners join in this fun? It's snowing outside but I have lots of pretty flowers blooming in the sunny window... Just wondered if those would count. :)