Thursday, October 29, 2009

October in the Garden

October is a month of radical change in our upstate NY garden. If we've been lucky enough to avoid a killing frost, there's quite a nice variety of plants still blooming during the first half of the month.
Our first damaging frost zapped the Dahlias and several other plants a few days before Bloom Day in the middle of the month, but a few of the hardier plants held on for a while afterward.
Even though I dread seeing the frost come, it can create a magic of its own.

It put a ruffled lacy edge on the blue bells of dwarf Campanula, seen here with white Alyssum,

sugar-coated the snapdragons,

Obedient Plant/False Dragonhead (physostegia Virginiana), which is still blooming,

Lamium (also still blooming), Posted by Picasa

.....and Wax Begonias.

A few honeybees have been spotted, still at work on the petunias earlier in the month,

And this little fellow on the Anemone de caen/Dutch Windflowers last Sunday.

Verbena "Homestead Purple" continues to bloom.

This is one plant I never want to be without. I usually find a few self-sown seedlings in the spring, and I also buy new plants in six packs at a local nursery.

I recorded my last sighting of a Juvenile Ruby Throated Hummingbird on September 23rd and couldn't resist putting its picture in this post. I'm completely amazed at their uncanny ability to find their own way on the long journey south, leaving a week or two after their parents. Nature is extraordinary!

Just before that frost we still had beautiful Dahlias blooming. This one is Eveline. Posted by Picasa

And here's Park Princess.

The multiple flowers of Bonny Blue in the New Rock Garden were covered in bees on this sunny day.

And a Monarch enjoyed the flowers of the still blooming Phlox.

The seeds for this Castor Bean plant were given to me by my friend, Marie, who generously passes along so many interesting plants and seeds. If I'd managed to plant it earlier it would've grown much bigger, but it grew quickly once in the ground and I loved those gorgeous big leaves. I hope to do better with it next year. You can see that there were still a few blooms on the Butterfly Bush during the first part of the month too.

Here's that same spot after the hard frost.

And the Clematis in the Lily Garden which blessed us with such late blooms this year.

Hannah explores near the Hydrangea Limelight, its lovely blooms now browned by the frost. Posted by Picasa

And look what she saw outside on the morning of October 16th!

Here's the view out the back door, looking across the snow-topped Cosmos to the Pink Garden.

That Friday actually turned into a beautiful day when the sun came out about mid-morning and melted the snow away very quickly. It was one of the few lovely sunny days we've had this fall. Posted by Picasa

Lately though, we've enjoyed a few more beautiful days, although they've been interspersed with some very wet days. Yesterday we had an inch and three quarters of rain, and an inch and a half last Friday night and Saturday.
In the photo above, taken last Sunday (October 25th), the Spirea glows in its autumn colors, while Lamium and Obedient Plant (on the left) are still blooming bravely, even after being cloaked with snow.

The Obedient Plant is past its glory stage, but still pretty. This is a real bee magnet.

If you click to enlarge this photo you can see it behind Tink and Isabelle, who were keeping me company on that cloudy afternoon.Posted by Picasa

Here's the New Rock Garden, still brimming with color near the beginning of the month. Dahlia Bonny Blue and Zinnias were putting on a wonderful show, amid other pretty annuals.

But that hard frost zapped the Dahlias, Zinnias and Coleus, and damaged most of the other plants. Only the pansies were unphased, and are still blooming today.

The yellow mounds are Lemon Gem Marigold. It hung on for a day or two, but quickly faded. I've saved seeds for next year.

So sad to see the Zinnias go. They made such a bright, cheerful display. Do you see the Sunflowers behind them?

They are self-sown from bird seed. Sprouting later than the earlier "volunteers", they gave us a lovely splash of late color, and now the birds are enjoying their seeds.

Sedum Autumn Joy kept its color well into the month. This photo was taken a week ago, on October 22nd. That Thursday won the prize for the most beautiful October day this year. The temperature reached a sunny 70ºF/21ºC. It was a glorious day to be outside in the garden! Posted by Picasa

Here's what the front yard looks like now.
I missed out on getting photos of the prettiest part of the Autumn because I kept waiting for a sunny day to take the camera out, when I wasn't working or running around doing other things. We've had a very busy month. Our fall foliage was rather disappointing this year, and most of the leaves fell quickly in the windy, rainy weather.

The red spot on the right is the dwarf Burning Bush.

These photos were taken last Sunday in the late afternoon light, hence those long shadows. Posted by Picasa

Green, gold and brown are the predominant colors now.

The large Silver Maple holds on to its leaves much later than the big old Sugar Maple in front of the house.

I think that little tree is a Sugar Maple too, but being much younger and healthier, it holds onto its leaves longer than the old one too.

And so the days dwindle down to a precious few.... and every opportunity is taken to soak up those glorious rays of warm sunshine, between the windy, rainy days, before Old Man Winter comes to stay.

I hope you're all enjoying whatever season you're in at the moment, be it fall or spring.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - October '09

Blooms are sparse once again in our frosted October garden and
unfortunately, my hopes for a long, warm fall have not been realized. Wet, windy and cold days have followed one upon another, and the occasional sunshine has had very little warmth in it. Dreary to say the least, and snow is in the forecast for the next 4 days. Much too soon! It's a hard pill to swallow, but all is not lost, so let's have a look at what's left in the garden.....

Plenty of orange and brown....

But there are other colors in the Pink Garden. The large Spirea shrub is turning its lovely shade of dark red. There are a few snapdragons still blooming, and plenty of alyssum. The dainty Gaura continues to bloom, and the Dwarf Campanula (blue bell) has been blooming all summer. Only one blue flower is visible at the left front, but there are more out of the picture (Click for a bigger view). At the far end the large clump of....

....Obedient Plant or False Dragonhead (Physostegia Virginiana) is blooming bravely in spite of the fact that we've had 2 or 3 killing frosts this week. Posted by Picasa

Snapdragons are hardy little souls and will last a while yet, as will Alyssum. There's Heuchera "Key Lime Pie" tucked in amongst them.

The lilac pink flowered Lamium lives on, surrounded by the frost darkened foliage and dead blooms of Dahlias, as well as the lovely dark red Spirea. Posted by Picasa

There's more Alyssum in the Rose/Clematis Garden and a few other flowers still surviving....Pansies, a few Petunias and pink Verbenas.

"Homestead Purple" Verbena will withstand some pretty cold temperatures before it finally succumbs. And Gloriosa Daisies are tough too.

Hannah enjoys the pale sunshine on the now empty window box shelf between the "Queen Elizabeth" Rose and Clematis Carnaby. The rose blooms are looking sad, but Carnaby's few flowers are still pretty .

Hannah follows me around the corner to the container which brightens the old stone steps. It must be carried into the garage each night now. Posted by Picasa

Only a handful of Fairytale pumpkins and less than a dozen small gourds grew in our squash patch this summer. And 2 butternut squash. I suppose the ground was too cool and wet for most of the seeds to germinate. It was a sad year for the vegetable garden, but we did enjoy some fresh veggies.

The yellow Chrysanthemum brightens a corner of the Spring Garden.

In the New Rock Garden pansies are a little worse for wear, but still hanging on. There are a few snapdragons surviving here too.

A few self-sown Sunflowers are still colorful beside the bird feeder tray.

In the Lily Garden the Nicotiana are looking ragged, but still showing a little color. Gloriosas and snapdragons are holding their own. Posted by Picasa

Calendulas can survive a bit of cold. We'll see what's left of them after the expected snow showers. Morning Glories and Zinnias are well and truly zapped.

Cleome still shows a bit of color, and the Phlox over in the Driveway Garden are still offering a few blooms.

The Rock Garden annuals are mostly zapped....Posted by Picasa

But there are still Gloriosas, and the Verbena bonariensis has a little life left in it. The green plants on the left are Cerinthe Major (from seed shared by Kim of A Study in Contrasts) which unfortunately didn't have time to bloom. Kim, I'll try again next year and get them planted earlier!

Salvia farinacea is still looking lovely. Posted by Picasa

I planted Anemone de caen/Dutch Windflowers in a pot and this is probably the last pretty bloom.

These pink Tuberous Begonias are now on the covered side porch. The tubers will be stored in peet moss until late March and then started again indoors in trays. The Ivy will overwinter in the cellar under lights.

The side porch also now houses a lot of the Ivy Geraniums. They'll be moved upstairs to bedroom windows when the temperatures drop even more. Posted by Picasa

The two Abutilons have been brought inside as well. They do well as house plants. Posted by Picasa

Abutilon "Gold Dust" has such beautiful variegated leaves.

The Angelwing Begonia has lovely blooms at the moment.

I've brought in several Wax Begonias to overwinter as well. Molly likes to sit on the plant shelf and watch the birds at the feeders outside.

I move the Chrysanthemum around to add some color to different spots. Posted by Picasa

Sometimes by the back door....

Sometimes on the front porch.
Cleo was keeping me company this afternoon....braving the cold. It was a long underwear, winter jacket day. Brrr! Perhaps there's an Indian summer somewhere in our future before Old Man Winter really sets in. I keep hoping....
Posted by Picasa

Happy Bloom day everyone!
Be sure to visit Carol of
May Dreams Gardens to see what's blooming in other gardens near and far. Posted by Picasa