Friday, October 15, 2010

October Bloom Day

Here in zone 5a, our first average frost date is October 15. The last two years we haven't had frost until mid-November. Although we're on borrowed time and the weather has taken a chillier turn, there's been no frost yet. The hardy cyclamen is still blooming, and its foliage is up now too. Aren't they pretty!

We have good luck with mums coming back year after year if we plant them in spring. These were added in spring 2009. This year they were pinched in May and July. A few new ones were started by sticking a few of May's cuttings in the ground. Six cuttings rooted, and they're blooming now too.

Pansies are quintessential cool-weather blooms. We're enjoying their sunny faces.

Here's another mum planted in spring last year. This one flopped as mums are prone to doing, in spite of being pinched in May and July. The blooms are still welcome even if the plant isn't perfectly shaped. This year, Liquid Fence is doing a good job keeping the blooms coming. Last year the bunnies ate them as quickly as they opened. Love 'em or hate 'em, mums add color to the garden at a most welcome time of year. They're easy-care, easy to start from cuttings, drought-tolerant, and bloom well in full or part sun. Ours get less than three hours of sun a day and still bloom beautifully.

Here's another pansy just opening up.

The nasties seem to like the cooler weather. They still aren't blooming very prolifically, but look - two blooms at once! I've given up on removing the yellow foliage.

The tropical hibiscus has a lot of buds, and this one opened just in time for Bloom Day.

It's been about two weeks since we've seen a hummingbird. The fuchsia helped attract them all season. Fuchsias have been challenging to overwinter, but I'll try again this year. I think I tend to over-water them after they come indoors. They like moist soil, but not too moist.

Last but not least are this month's most magnificent blooms. The patio smells like heaven. Last year the angel's trumpet didn't bloom at all. This year it was moved around until a spot on the patio was found where it got almost full sun. This is the second time it bloomed since finding this spot. The first time it had seven or eight blooms. This time it has thirty - more blooms than ever. In the past two weeks as the sun drops lower in the sky, it's getting just a little sun in the morning, but it's ok. The buds were formed while it was still getting lots of sun, and it will soon be coming indoors for the winter.

There are still lots of annuals blooming here, along with 'Autumn Joy' and 'Matrona' sedums, 'Happy Returns' daylilies, calamint, 'Rozanne' geraniums, 'Autumn Bride' heuchera, and a few sporadic phlox, coneflower, aster, and rudbeckia blooms.

To see more October blooms in gardens across the country and around the world, please visit our gracious Bloom Day host, Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. Hi Garden Girl, you are really lucky with the mums coming back. I had two come back this year that i had wintered over in the veggie garden. One I moved into the border and it became huge and flopped (even after punching).

    I am hoping we have another couple of weekends to get everything done in the yard.


  2. Linda, Hello! I've had good luck with mums be perennials here, too. I try to get the smaller ones and they tuck nicely in the garden. I can plant them in the fall~a zone 7 advantage. Love the angel's trumpet and agree they have the most magnificent blooms. Gail

  3. Wow, Linda, I love the canopy of angel's trumpet--I can almost smell it from here. I also like mums no matter how floppy (mine are suffering from really dry foliage as I never watered them through the summer--oops). My pansies are also making a comeback.

  4. Your cyclamen is wonderful... I find them very intriguing ... and that's a great color in the brugsmansia... love it! L

  5. Anonymous10:06 AM

    Beautiful, Linda -- I have both a cyclamen and mums *inside*. The mums I managed to bring back from a supermarket plant -- it's loaded in buds, so I hope they open. You've still got lots of life in the garden, for sure!

  6. Your Datura is stunning. Its interesting I have noticed that a lot of the US blogs are featuring Mums this month but they arent that popular here in the Uk at the moment though I dont know why.

  7. Hi Eileen, they always seem more likely to come back for me if they're planted in spring.

    Thank you RR.

    Hi Gail! It's definitely an advantage in your warmer zone to be able to have fall-planted mums come back. There are so many more varieties available in fall than in spring.

    I'm so glad the angel's trumpet decided to bloom one last time this year!

    Monica, it does make a nice canopy to sit or stand under. The fragrance is intoxicating.

    Glad your pansies are coming back! I don't usually plant pansies, and I hope these so-called sub-zero ones will be back again next spring.

    It's been very dry here too, and we have broken down a couple of times and dragged out the sprinklers. As usual here there are so many seedlings, young plants, and newly-divided things, with the maples sucking all the moisture out of the soil we've had to water to keep stuff alive.

    LC, I fell in love with the hardy cyclamens at a garden show last year, and had to try them here. I love how the blooms suddenly appeared, and later the really pretty foliage emerged. I hope they come back again next year, and maybe even seed themselves around too. I love how the brugmansia blooms' color matures from pure white to sunny apricot.

    Thank you Nancy! I'm afraid I may have killed my potted cyclamen (again.) I hope it dropped a few seeds in the pot like the one I killed last year did.

    I think your mums will bloom - that's really cool that you revived your supermarket mum!

    I won't mind at all if frost holds off until mid-November again this year. I've really enjoyed the extended season the last two years.

    Thank you Helen - I love it! I look forward to those blooms more than just about any others here, especially since it's been a challenge finding a spot here that's sunny enough to make it bloom. I'm glad this one has variegated foliage, since it's pretty even when it's not blooming.

    Mums are popular in the US, and people here seem to have strong opinions about them - some really love them, and some people seem to dislike them rather passionately.

  8. Hi Linda, You have so many things still blooming. The hearty cyclamen is really pretty. I'll have to try. Have a nice weekend...Hopefully we'll have a couple more to get things done in the yard. Balisha

  9. Hi Balisha, we've avoided frost 'down south' here so far. I should probably start bringing in some of the tender stuff soon. The weather's been so nice I'm still in a bit of denial about how late in the season it's getting!

    I think you'd love the hardy cyclamen in your garden (if you do try them, be sure to mark them - I
    misplaced one under a pot of impatiens(!) - good thing I accidentally moved the pot. I'd been wondering what happened to the third cyclamen when I ran across the other two starting to bloom last month.)

  10. Nice post...I'm with you on the mums...I've never been able to keep them from looking a little leggy and sprawly, in spite of various pruning efforts, but once they start blooming, all is forgiven :-)

  11. Anonymous7:08 PM

    Nice selection of blooms.The Datura especially.

  12. Love the hibiscus! And it really does feel like we're on borrowed time with the weather!

  13. A lovely post, Linda, and can almost smell your heavenly patio. It's so hard to say goodbye to these beautiful friends that give us such great joy. Autumn Garden hugs :)

  14. The angel trumpet is a beauty! I can just imagine how wonderful it must be sitting on your patio, taking in that fragrance.

    We had a light frost this morning covering the lawn, but nothing has really touched the garden...yet. Hopefully, we'll be able to enjoy all these lovely blooms a little while longer.

  15. Thank you Scott. I like mum foliage too - nice intricate shape, nice color, and adds good textural contrast.

    Thank you GWGT. They're my favorite bloom right now!

    Me too Rose! I may try letting it go dormant in the below-grade landing between our garage and basement with the brugmansia and elephant ears this fall, since whiteflies came in the house with it last fall.

    My fingers are crossed for a few more weeks of frost-free weather. We're still getting tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and a few other odds 'n ends from the veggie beds.

    I marvel at the scent every time it blooms Joey! To everything its season, and I mind winter a lot less since I don't have to get out and drive in it every day. Hugs to you!

    It's big-time aromatherapy Rose.

    Wow - frost two hours south before it made it here - glad it didn't get your garden.

    As long as our late-falling silver maples hold onto their foliage, we have a nice protected microclimate, Our first frost generally comes days or even weeks behind our neighbors', and I'm still in a bit of denial that it won't be long before I have to lug stuff in.

  16. You are right about those angel trumpets. Simply magnificent indeed! I wish I could smell them. Your patio would be the spot to be!

  17. I am crazy for that Hibiscus bloom. If I could get my nails painted that color, I would be happy.

    Your mums are great performers. I enjoyed seeing your late season flowers, especially the Nasties.

  18. Anonymous8:34 PM

    The cyclamen is a small stunner isn't it? Love all your blooms and your last post on George. It is difficult to watch dogs age so much faster than humans. Perhaps I should look into your new doggie diet. I hope he continues to improve and lives a long life.

  19. Beautiful, Linda! And seeing your Brugmansia reminds me that mine is blooming better right now than it has all summer! I forgot to include that in my post! Don't they just smell WONDERFUL?

  20. Hi Garden Gril
    Wow, the angel's trumpet is just fantastic! About Fuchsia: I started with 10 mini-plants for about 4 years, only half of it survived my nursering :o). At least 3 of them I forgot during a frost periode. But now it works well with the over wintering thing. I take them into our atelier which is not heated in winter time. They nearly got no sunlight in there and I water them only when the soil is dry. I take them inside when temperature starts falling into minus and then I cut them back. In spring time they get a new pot with fresh soil and that's all.
    Thank you for the wonderful photos! The mums look just great.
    Take care

  21. It's definitely the place to be Tina!

    I love the color too Rosey. I'm glad I tried the nasties, and next time I'll try to find a variety that's tougher and blooms better in hot weather.

    They are lovely little wonders Layanee!

    I'm still doing more research on healthy diets for dogs. The more I learn, the more I realize how important it is for our pets' health to be a lot more knowledgeable about how we're feeding them.

    We can't keep them forever, and it is kind of tough seeing them age. What I realize now though, is there is so much more we can do to keep them healthy in every stage of their lives, and that it's not too late to give our sweet George a new lease on life and health.

    Thank you Kylee! Maybe our brugs are enjoying the cooler weather as much as we are!

    Hi Alex! Thank you for the fuchsia tips. It sounds like you let them go dormant, is that right? We have a non-freezing spot just outside our basement door that leads to a staircase to the garage, and I experimented with overwintering the angel's trumpet and a few other tropical plants. I was thinking of putting the fuchsia with that group and letting it go dormant. Last year I watered out there about once a month, and the plants survived and did well outside this year.

  22. Anonymous8:50 PM

    Your Brug is amazing. I've grown them from seed before, but usually get rid of them because I don't have the space for them and because I'm worried about the kids being near them.

    If I was a hummingbird I'd probably stick around longer in the fall for a chance at those fuchsia blooms. Your plant has gotten huge.

  23. My pansies seem to have died. I think it's because I haven't watered them. We seem to have had rain on one side of the house and none on the other and I didn't realise how much they were suffering until this morning.

    I'm not usually a chrysanthemum fan but I very much like your deep gold ones.


  24. It's pretty amazing to me too, MBT! It's a thrill seeing it with so many blooms.

    The hummingbirds did seem to hang around here a little longer - heard reports from other area gardeners that they hadn't seen one in a couple of weeks while they were still here. They LOVE the impatiens in the fall too - makes sense when you get a good look at impatiens' nectar spur. (cross your fingers I don't kill the fuchsia. again.)

    Sorry about the pansies Esther. You're fortunate you're getting rain on one side of the house, at least. Here we've had no rain to speak of since July. It's very dry here.

    I like the golden mums too - a perfect color for autumn. I'm not a huge fan of mums either, but do really like having their late-season color.

  25. Anonymous8:39 PM

    Your cyclamen has way more interesting foliage than mine!

  26. I love the foliage MsRobin!

  27. These are very beautiful flowers.

  28. Linda, your October blooms are beautiful, especially that glorious brugmansia. Wow! Your heavenly scented patio must be a wonderful place to linger and breathe deeply :)
    Your fuchsia looks gorgeous - so healthy. I've successful overwintered them a few times and will try again this winter. Our very hot summer (those heatwave days) nearly killed mine this summer, but thankfully, it revived with the milder temps.
    You have great success with Mums. I'm inspired! Glad the Liquid Fence is working for you.
    Love that vibrantly beautiful Hibiscus! Oh my..what a color!
    Enjoyed reading about George and am so glad his health is improving. He's a lucky pooch to have such a caring "mom" :) Love that photo of him.
    The wedding sounds wonderful and what a glorious setting. Glad it was such a beautiful day for your family. We have a wedding coming up too :)
    It's been fun catching up with you this morning.

  29. Thank you Kerri!

    I know what you mean about the fuchsia and the heat - ours held out, but didn't want to bloom much during some of the hottest weather. It's blooming like crazy now, just in time to bring it in and hope it will make it through the winter.

    George seems to be feeling better all the time, and boy does he love his new diet! Today we had the gas company putting in new pipe around the neighborhood. George followed the tech down to the basement and he was amazed how well he got up and down the stairs for an old Lab. Six weeks ago he could barely get up and down the stairs, and even fell a couple of times trying. Now he bounds. It truly is amazing. I'll never feed kibble to a pet again.

    Wow, you really did get caught up! Congratulations on the upcoming wedding - how exciting! Best wishes to the bride and groom, and your entire family for a joyful, beautiful day.


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