Sunday, November 15, 2009

November Bloom Day

It's hard to believe it's already November 15th, and time once again for Bloom Day. Frost finally arrived here nearly a month later than average, covering the front and back lawns but sparing the shade garden. In its protected microclimate, even with a low of 29 degrees earlier this week we still have outdoor blooms.

This is the same mini-rose bud shown on October's Bloom Day post. With our cool weather, a full month later it's just beginning to open.

Renamed Actaea by the official plant-naming powers-that-be, I still prefer Cimicifuga. Ours is a late bloomer in its third year. With a late frost last fall too, we enjoyed blooms for the first time. This plant is a slow grower, but has twice the blooms this year as last.

Geranium 'Rozanne' blooms May to frost in our garden. They've slowed down, but are still blooming in November.

The last three years, I've become a heuchera nut - can't seem to get enough of them for their colorful foliage. Most of ours are evergreen. I love the year-round color and interest they add to the shade garden. Some become rodent food over the winter. By early spring the rest begin to look tired and are cut back to stimulate fresh new growth. Heucheras are grown in our garden primarily for their foliage. The tiny, airy blooms are a bonus. Most of the them are done blooming for the year, but Autumn Bride and Mocha, both villosas, are still going. This one's Autumn Bride. She began blooming in August. Mocha has bloomed continuously since June.

Even a few tender annuals are still blooming, like impatiens,

and wax begonias.

Calamint is a long bloomer in our garden. It started in June and still has a few tiny blooms in November. The plants grow naturally into a beautiful round shape. They have a pleasant scent, a profusion of these tiny blooms, and the glossy, dark green leaves stay fresh and unbothered by pests all season.

Ok, I admit it's a shadow of its early spring beauty, but the fact that this hellebore, budded in February, blooming in mid-March, has retained its blooms through Mid-November is nothing short of remarkable. It has earned its place in this Bloom-Day post. The hellebore was added to the garden two springs ago. This year two more varieties were added. Being my first hellebore, I'm curious dear readers. . . Is this one unusual holding its blooms so long, or do yours retain their blooms so late in the season too?

Discovered growing in the wayback wilderness just a few weeks ago, the jury's still out on pokeweed. I love the red stems and the blooms. Being a native plant doesn't necessarily mean it won't become invasive though. Will I regret leaving it there to drop seeds? I'd love to know your views on this plant - leave it or dig it out?

Holding on for over a month in our cool weather, this yellow mini-rose bloom has aged gracefully.

This mum was covered with blooms a couple of weeks ago. All but these two were eaten by varmints.

Last but not least is one of our favorites. The Lawn Man likes yellow flowers. Susans churned out blooms since July in our shady garden. While most are now seedheads providing late-season food for suburban wildlife, a few fresh blooms are still adding color here and there.

By next Bloom Day it's unlikely there will be any blooms left in the garden. Hopefully overwintering indoor plants will pinch hit until spring returns to the Chicago area next year. Happy Bloom Day everyone, and thank you Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting the monthly parade of garden bloggers' blooms.


  1. My goodness, what a lot of color left this late in the season - even impatiens! How cool that you found a hellebore too. What we think of as the petals are actually sepals (modified leaves), so it's not unheard of for them to hang around for quite a while; I don't recall ever having seen a bloom retaining its form this long, though.

    You'll probably get mixed opinions about the pokeweed, but if you like it, I'd leave it, especially since it's not right in your garden. I don't find it to seed aggressively right around itself, anyway; the birds usually snag the berries and do the job of spreading out the seeds.

  2. I agree with Nan, the birds will take care of the berries for you and the next hard frost will take care of the plant. Just make sure you pull the roots completely out when cleaning.
    I too have hellebores hanging on...those petals are so tough they'll probably still be there come spring; but deadheading will energize the clump and give it more oomph next near...tough love!

  3. Linda girl ! Hello there : )
    I still refer to my actaea as cimicifuga .. I have about 5 cultivars and I do love the dark ones as Hillside Blackbeauty and Brunette (spelling is off this morning ? LOL) .. they do take a little time to grow but they are gorgeous : )
    Yes !! I don't have flowers on my hellebore now of course, but when they bloom early Spring they stay a very long time .. thanks to a friend I have added 5 more to my collection (a couple are a bit tricky so fingers crossed) I do love them .. they are so pretty and the foliage is so tough !
    nice to see all of your flowers this time of year : )

  4. Hi Linda, Once a Cimicifuga, always a Cimicifuga! LOL. I also don't like the long new name for some of the asters. My Cimi blooms much, much earlier int he season--do you know what cultivar you have, because I'd love another that blooms late int he season. Thanks also for the birthday card, which arrived yesterday. Because of my birthday, I actually remembered about, and posted on time for, GBBD myself, yayyyyy! :)

  5. Hi Nan, thank you for weighing in on the hellebore and pokeweed! I do like the pokeweed, and really like having all the berries and seeds on shrubs and perennials providing food for the birds. The size of the one growing in the neighbor's unkempt yard gives me pause, although that alone isn't a concern because of where it's growing.

    Hi Joy, I don't mind change in other areas, but I don't like all the nomenclature revisions in recent years! It's not that I can't learn new names, it's sort of like associating people with their names. A name, to me, becomes part of a personality and identity, and that applies to plants too!

    I'm sold on hellebores, and now I wonder why I waited so long to try them.

    I agree Monica! I don't like the new name for asters either - they'll always be asters to me.

    We have Cimicifuga ;) simplex 'White Pearl' (otherwise known as Actaea matsumurae. . . ) According to the tag that came with it, its bloom time is September-October. Here, it's November. Maybe it will bloom earlier as it matures, but I'm doubtful about that. Maybe it's due to how little sun it gets, but since it's preferred placement is part sun (partial shade according to the tag,) that seems unlikely to me.

    Happy Birthday my friend! I'm so glad the card arrived on time.

  6. Hi Linda! Every bloom in November is precious, but that blue geranium is absolutely gorgeous. Such true blue color!

  7. That Susan bloom is amazing! Mine stopped blooming quite a while ago, but I do share some other blooms with you--the "Rozanne" and the heucheras, for instance. I agree the heuchera blooms are an added bonus to a plant I've grown to love.
    I planted my first hellebores this spring, so they haven't bloomed yet. I'm encouraged to see yours--I hope mine bloom as long next year!

    I do hope the powers-that-be stop re-naming plants; I'm still learning the original names:)

  8. Enjoyed your parade of late fall color, Linda. Unlike last November, we've been blessed with a beautiful Indian Summer.

  9. Hi Tatyana! I agree - November blooms are precious. Rozanne is a pretty blue, but in person it does have more purple tones in it than in the photo. It all depends on the way the light hits it - some days it photographs more purple, and some days more blue. I've noticed it tends more towards blue even in person when the weather's cooler.

    Hi Rose, there are still a few susans blooming here. Maybe it's all the shade slowing them down a bit that keeps them going a little longer.

    I hope you have hellebore blooms next year too - I think you will. I'm so pleased with how sturdy and trouble free they are so far.

    I've forgotten far more plant names than I care to mention! Sometimes I know them, but it takes time to retrieve them from the memory bank. When I stop trying they'll often pop up in my head later, seemingly out of nowhere.

    Thank you Joey. We'll see how the rest of the month turns out, but so far this November has been similar to last year's with it's mild temperatures and abundant sunshine. (It's overcast today though.)

  10. It's great you've got so much blooming at this point! Around here everything is pretty much done for the year. And I prefer the name Cimicifuga too!

  11. Hello Linda, thanks for visiting my little blog! <3 This is my 1st visit to yours and I think I love it already AND you're friends with my girl Joy!. My GBBD seems so small and pathetic now but that's N Ireland for you, harsh wee place to live xxx

  12. Nice to see you blooms. My Cicumfuga stopped flowering a good month ago. Its one of my favourite flowers, the scent is lovely

  13. Lots still happening at your garden!

    I still call it Cimicifuga, too! And it starts slow but once it reaches maturity, you get quite a show. I also love the seedheads.

  14. The colour of the red rose is really vivid. I love it! The blooms you have are really pretty. So, I still hope they stay a little longer for you. Otherwise, enjoy your autumn :-D

  15. Thank you Linda for a most lovely tour! It is so fascinating to see what's going on in all the gardens and I do agree you did save the best to the last.


  16. Linda, Congratulations on all your November blooms. My hellebore hung onto its blooms far longer than usual this year -- one of the positive effects of our rainy summer. As I often judge plant names by their musicality, I prefer Cimicifuga to Actaea, too. Cimicifuga racemosa; now that has rhythm.

  17. Hi Rose, the microclimate in our shade garden definitely helps keep things going longer. I've noticed that here, and in several previous homes where neighbors, especially those without trees, or with less trees than I've had, have frost days and sometimes even weeks before our gardens get hit. I think being a little bit further south, and a little closer to the lake makes a small difference too.

    Hi Carrie, thanks for visiting! I enjoyed visiting your blog too. I don't remember now if I followed a link on Carol's Bloom Day post, or on Joy's blog to find you.

    Keep gardening, and over time you'll have many more blooms to show for your efforts! I've always aimed to add plants with long bloom periods, and also to add plants with different bloom times so several things are blooming successively. It takes time, especially with a limited budget. This garden is only about six years old, and being so shady and full of maple roots, it's slow growing. But the longer I work at it, the better it gets, and I'm confident you'll find the same with your garden. Five or six years ago mine seemed pathetic, and it was hard to be patient and wait for it to mature over the years I knew it would take. In garden years it's still very young.

    Just one of the many wonderful things gardening teaches is patience. :) Another is that attaining our goals takes time and effort, and that the journey is just as important, (maybe even more,) than the destination. What we learn along the way, and how we come to understand how important process is, are immeasurably valuable and enhance our lives beyond the boundaries of our gardens.

    Hi Helen, I think I will add an earlier-blooming cimicifuga to assure I can enjoy it before frost - we were lucky the last two years having later-than-average frosts. Being so cool when ours bloomed, I haven't noticed the scent. Thanks to your comment I went out and sniffed! I didn't detect any scent, but picked one of the 'bottlebrushes' and brought it inside to warm up. You're right - it has a lovely, light, sweet scent! When I googled it, I read that 'White Pearl' doesn't have a scent, but that's clearly inaccurate. Thank you!

    Interestingly, your comment ties in with your post about blogging making you a better gardener. I've found that blogging also makes me a more observant gardener, and I'm delighted to learn our cimicifuga blooms have a lovely scent!

    Hi Stephanie, I love our mini roses. They struggle with black spot some years, and I'm so glad they keep coming back. They tempt me to add more shade-tolerant roses to our garden. Maybe next year!

    Hi Linda, I've seen 'White Pearl' in a friend's garden - her plant is a few years older than mine, and it's quite impressive. I'm looking forward to seeing mine get so large and showy!

    Thank you Tyra! I agree - it's so fascinating seeing what's going on in other gardens. There are such variations in how plants perform and bloom under varying conditions.
    Gotta love those susans! I'm thrilled they bloom so long here.

    Thank you Helen! I appreciate knowing your experience with the long-lasting nature of hellebore blooms. I'm so glad to have these wonderful plants in our garden at last! I've known of them for many years - don't know why I never thought to plant some of my own before.

    I love music in names - plant names, animal names, and people names too!

  18. Simply wonderful - thanks for your awesomeness!

    Shawna Coronado

  19. Anonymous8:57 AM

    Pokeweed - so *that's* what that is! I have one poking (heh) up at the edge of the pond, and was appreciating the late-fall color while wondering what the heck it was.

    I'm impressed that you still have Rudbeckia blooms!

  20. Still a lot going on in our Chicago gardens this November, eh Linda? An incredible week with temperatures in the 60's and 70's but we will be getting back to reality soon.

    Enjoyed your November bloom post. An El Nino winter is predicted this year so we may get lucky.

  21. Thank you Shawna!

    LCS, it took me awhile to identify the pokeweed - I almost gave up, thinking I'd do another 'name that plant' post. Before doing that I searched again and found it. I'm still not sure whether to leave it there or dig it out.

    This is the 2nd year in a row with rudbeckia blooms well into November. I'm impressed too, and enjoying the late-season blooms while on the other hand worrying about climate change.

    Carolyn, reality seems to have today, which looked and felt very much like November!

    We can sure use a break with the weather this winter, especially after the last two being so snowy and colder than usual.

  22. That geranium is electric - so gorgeous! I've let a pokeweed grow for two years in my garden. I am finding seedlings popping up, not near the main plant but elsewhere in the garden, and they're not so easy to pull up. The main plant has a trunk bigger than my wrist. I think it's a wonderful plant, very dramatic, so I'm willing to put up with some seedlings. This year I cut the plant down once the fruits matured. I wanted to see if the birds would flock to it but they did not, and I didn't want all those seeds falling.

  23. Linda, Fantastic garden blooms for November...and if I might ask...Have you dead headed Mocha or Autumn Bride?
    Both are in my garden and have been a delight~~I find the villosas the better plants for hot, humid summers.
    I vote you keep the pokeweed...The color and form are wonderful on the edges of a wildflower garden...It pulls out easily, so you can get rid of it whenever! gail

  24. Hi Diane, It's hard to pick favorites, but Rozanne is definitely one of my favorite geraniums, and for that matter one of my favorite plants thanks to it's profusion of pretty blooms and long bloom time. Thanks for the input on pokeweed. I'm leaning towards keeping it, especially since not much self-seeds in our dry, shady conditions.

    Thank you Gail! I haven't deadheaded Mocha or Autumn Bride. . . I figure the rodents will probably do that soon enough! If they happen to miss them, it might be kind of fun to see if they seed themselves, although that's probably unlikely.

    Thanks for your input on the pokeweed! It's a pretty cool plant, and I'm very tempted to leave it. If it gets to a pest I can always take it out whenever, as you say. The soil where it's located is so soft and crumbly thanks to the leaves we pile up back there, it shouldn't be too much trouble to get rid of it if necessary.

  25. Ah you are a kindered spirit, I have only been working on my flowers since the spring this year! They are all taken from the allotment, I gave myself a little flower section when we expanded. Nothing much happening in our garden as the house is for sale. But, yes, gardening is much more than just growing things, I believe we grow too. Ecotherapy Rocks.
    Just put you on my blog list x

  26. Hi Carrie, I agree - gardening grows us as well as flowers and vegetables!

  27. Hi Linda,
    It always amazes me to see 'flowers' in northern gardens after a frost. But plants are like that... doing their very best to produce even under the worst circumstances. I'm convinced impatiens much prefer the cooler weather in a shady garden... mine have come to new life since we finally got a little drop in temps at night.

    I like your white flower, too... always partial to white. And I'm with you finding plants for foliage (coupled with ease of care)now days is my main interest.

  28. Hey Ms. Linda, first let me thank you for the friend on Facebook. (Did you know the 2009 Word of the Year is "Unfriend?").

    You're blooms are lovely, especially this late in the season. This "Bloom Day" thing Carol started sure is popular. I'm guessing you knew that the 2008 Perennial of the Year was 'Roseanne.' I told myself I'd get one but procrastination got the better of me. Maybe I will next year. Or maybe I'll plant Baptisia australis, the 2010 Perennial of the Year. What say you?

  29. Thank you Neil!

    Hi Meems, . . .there's a lot to be said for microclimates in northern garden - especially before the leaves come down. Alas, the impatiens are gone now - the leaves are down and the impatiens succumbed to the chill.

    I love white flowers, especially when they're fresh - they really light up the shade. One of the nice things about that cimicifuga is the foliage is so pretty. Even if doesn't bloom, it's still a very nice plant.

    Hey TC - thanks for the friend invite! LOL - 'unfriend' as word of the year really shows how influential Facebook has become.

    I love Bloom Day - it's the only meme I participate in regularly.

    Oh yes, two years in a row I've done Valentines Day odes, posts on the perennial plants of the year. Last year it was Rozanne, a favorite of mine for a few years.

    Decisions, decisions. . . I'd plant both! I have some Baptisia australis seedlings I hope will survive the winter. That's another favorite plant of mine. It's a nice bonus that it's native. They're such different plants - baptisia is nicely architectural - beautiful shape, about 3'x3', kind of shrub-like.

    Rozanne's much shorter - about a foot or less tall, and a sprawler. Baptisia's blooms are lovely, and last a couple of weeks with the seed pods persisting well into the fall. Rozanne blooms her little heart out all season - here she blooms from mid-to-late May until frost, non-stop. Both are great plants - I wouldn't be able to choose one or the other!

  30. Anonymous2:28 PM

    It is rather interesting for me to read the article. Thanx for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more on that blog soon.

  31. When you told me about the new name I couldn't believe it.I don't like it. I too prefer Cimicifuga.

    Love all the blooms you still have going.

  32. Anonymous, glad you enjoyed the post.

    MBT, I wish they'd quit renaming plants! I can't keep them straight, and in most cases I prefer the old names.

    I've been enjoying the mild weather. Blooms seem to last so much longer when it's on the cool side. Hope you had a wonderful birthday!

  33. Linda,
    Fabulous photos, fabulous November garden! By the way, there's an award waiting for you on my blog! Happy Thanksgiving.

  34. Thank you Avis, and thank you for the award!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  35. I like pokeweed, and it's not really the type of plant that is freakishly aggressive. It's persistent, but controllable. And a very sculptural plat. I have seen a stand of it, with lower leaves removed--stunning!

  36. Thanks Elizabeth! When googling pokeweed I came across your Garden Rant post showing it with lower leaves removed - very cool! It's one of the reasons I'm considering leaving it.


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