Garden Bloggers Bloom Day October 2008

– Posted in: What's up/blooming

The double colchicums, which are later blooming, are at their peak:

'Waterlily' colchicum blooms late enough for me that it is sometimes ruined by freezes. Never been very floriferous, either.

'Waterlily' colchicum blooms late enough for me that it is sometimes ruined by freezes. Never been very floriferous, either.

<em>Colchicum autumnale</em> 'Alboplenum' is very floriferous and looks fantastic growing through dark foliage.

Colchicum autumnale 'Alboplenum' is very floriferous and looks fantastic growing through dark foliage.

The larger colchicums, such as 'The Giant' or <em>C. speciosum</em> work well at the base of shrubs.

The larger colchicums, such as 'The Giant' or C. speciosum work well at the base of shrubs.

Here's a closeup of those colchicums in the lilac-forsythia hedge.

Here's a closeup of those colchicums in the lilac-forsythia hedge.

In cold climates, you're mostly likely to succeed with a passalong mum that you plant in spring. Fall planted mums don't survive winter.

In cold climates, you're mostly likely to succeed with a passalong mum that you plant in spring. Fall planted mums don't survive winter.

Black pansy, 'Lunar Glow' bergenia, and daylily foliage

Black pansy, 'Lunar Glow' bergenia, and daylily foliage

Our summer never got really hot for long periods this year, and the pansies kept blooming. These “black” pansies were part of a mix, so I wondered where the rest of them went to. Turns out something’s been nibbling them. Leaves are still there, but every bud is neatly snipped off. ‘Lunar Glow’ is a new introduction from Terra Nova nursery.

That’s about it for peak bloom. Dianthus ‘Telstar’ valiantly struggles on, one tardy aster is trying to put on a show, a few yarrow blossoms, the occasional mallow . . . it’s a good thing Carol at May Dreams Gardens said foliage counts!

This was one of my most successful winter sowing projects. Golden feverfew. It is just glowing.

This was one of my most successful winter sowing projects. Golden feverfew. It is just glowing in this cooler weather.

'Glacier Blue' euphorbia

'Glacier Blue' euphorbia

I love the ‘Glacier Blue’ euphorbia that Skagit Nurseries sent to me to trial. Even as a rooted cutting, straight out of the shipping box, it looked spectacular. Imagine my dismay when I read the tag and it said hardy to 0F (-18C). We occasionally have a winter where the lows never dip below zero, so I’ve got my fingers crossed–and I plan to mulch it well. In the meantime, I am enjoying it while I have the chance.
Another euphorbia, new this fall. What gorgeous color!

Another euphorbia, new this fall

This is a trial plant I received from Barry Glick of Sunshine Farm & Gardens. It is either Euphorbia ‘Jessie’ or Euphorbia ‘Autumn Sunset.’ I regret to say that when I opened the box, the name tags were no longer in the pots. I’m hoping this is ‘Autumn Sunset,’ but I won’t really know until next spring. Both of Barry’s euphorbias are supposed to be hardy here. If you have never been to Barry’s website, you owe it to yourself to take a look. Amazing hellebores, a diverse selection of native plants, and regularly scheduled bargains if you can go in with friends and buy in bulk.
Native sumac, planted by birds

Native sumac, planted by birds

Then there is the glowing foliage of the larger landscape. As at Ellis Hollow, the native sumac does well here. It grows in hedgerows and other neglected areas, and some consider its stoloniferous nature weedy. But it’s certainly not as weedy as the Japanese knotweed that surrounds it.

For masses of color, we look to the hills, where the leaves on the trees have changed color.

This is what we see when we look across the street.

This is what we see when we look across the street.

In our little valley, the color is past its peak and the leaves have started falling in earnest. I expect the next steady rain will take most of them down. But isn’t most natural beauty fleeting?

About Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

What differentiates a bulb from a perennial plant is that the nourishment for the flower is stored within the bulb itself.…There is something miraculous about the way that a little grenade of dried up tissue can explode into a complete flower.

~Monty Don in The Complete Gardener pp. 142

Comments on this entry are closed.

Sue Dawson October 25, 2008, 10:43 am

Hi Kathy,
I enjoyed viewing your garden and view. I want to explore your blog some more. I am in zone 5b, Nebraska. Thanks for visiting my blog on Bloom Day.

Shady Gardener October 21, 2008, 12:03 am

thank you for sharing your colchicum collection, as well as the great color that you’re seeing right now. I’d like to plant some colchicum (there is quite a selection, isn’t there?); guess it’ll be on my “wish list” for next year. have a great day! 🙂

Carol, May Dreams Gardens October 19, 2008, 8:43 pm

Your garden offers both wonderful views and flowers for close up viewing. It is taking me a long time to get around to all the bloom day posts this month! Thanks for joining in.

debra October 19, 2008, 1:18 am

I want to visit! You have given me a true taste of fall, autumn, the tapestry of foliage is amazing.
what a gift.
xoxo Debra

Anna October 18, 2008, 1:47 am

Just stopping by to say how beautiful it looks. I would like to plant some Feverfew. I love that green.

Kathy Purdy October 17, 2008, 9:41 am

Ok, true confession about the view: when I see it, there is a telephone wire going across it. I used the scratch remover tool in my photo program to get rid of that, because my eye automatically erases it when I look anyway. When I wrote my colchicum article, Russ Stafford of Odyssey Bulbs recommended “Colchicum bivonae, C. cilicicum, C. byzantinum, C. agrippinum, and hybrids such as ‘Disraeli’ (with checkering, thus indicating C. bivonae in their background)” as being the best to try in the South. But I don’t know if he ships them in July. I always get mine in late August. He might just ship them earlier if you asked him.

Ted, you are right. The double white doesn’t flop as much. Could be because it can’t be fertilized. I think I read once that they don’t flop until they’ve been fertilized.

Lynn October 17, 2008, 9:25 am

Those colchicums everywhere are sure lovely, but that black pansy is closest to my heart 🙂 The feverfew you gave me is doing great, and I can’t wait to see what it does next summer! It’s the only color like that in my garden, so it will stand out for sure. Nice bloom day post!

tedb October 16, 2008, 10:42 pm

The double white looks great – and I usually go for single flowers. They seem to stand up really well also.

Annie in Austin October 16, 2008, 9:12 pm

Lovely stuff, Kathy – and alboplenum is still my favorite. I never had a fancy kind in Illinois, just the common lavender-pink kind and red sumac and had gold feverfew seeding along the sidewalk.
But they all look better in your country garden with the hills and fields around!

Maybe Jenny and Icould grow Colchicum in Austin. On the Central Texas Gardening website, extension guy Skip Richter says to plant the bulbs in July.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Jenny October 16, 2008, 8:48 pm

Oh! How I miss the fall colors- and colchicums- I had never heard of them until this year when I was listening to Vita Sackville West’s diary in which she was praising them. Now I wonder if they would grow here?

Kim October 16, 2008, 7:20 pm

I thought I was going to comment on the colchicums, which are absolutely lovely. Then I saw your view and all I could think was WOW. How lovely, and how lucky for you to have such a lovely view. Thanks for sharing.

HappyMouffetard October 16, 2008, 3:28 pm

What a view! Beautiful colours.

naturegirl October 16, 2008, 2:55 pm

Holy Moly what a view for sure!!
I love the white Alboplenum and the black pansies that you grow! Great Bloom Day post!
A Canadian Bloom Day gal that must get into her car to see a view such as yours!

Kathy Purdy October 16, 2008, 12:54 pm

MMD, the quote changes all the time, so I’m wondering if you saw Don’s quote about colchicums? Kathy J, sorry about your colchicums. I know other gardeners in your area have success with some, but not all, species. All, the feverfew is Chrysanthemum parthenium ‘Aureum’. I got it from the American Horticultural Society seed exchange. I know Select Seeds has offered it in past years.

Nan, I’ll try not to be disappointed if ‘Jessie’ doesn’t make it.

Nan Ondra October 15, 2008, 6:36 pm

Wow. With a view like that, I admire you for even having a garden, Kathy. I think I might be tempted to just sit and gaze at those hills. And yet you still have some lovely things to enjoy closer to home, such as those colchicums (the ones you shared with me did great too, by the way!), and the gorgeous feverfew. I hope you have luck with those euphorbias, but I’ll say that ‘Jessie’ wasn’t hardy for me down here in PA.

Cindy October 15, 2008, 4:32 pm

I really like that golden feverfew. I’m finding myself more and more drawn to that color of foliage. I’ll bet it would look great with those black pansies!

Kathy J, Washington (DC) Gardener October 15, 2008, 3:26 pm

I’m so envious of our colchicums – those few I had last year seem to have utterly disappeared. Ah well, stillplenty of other things in bloom – will have my own bloom day post up shortly.

TC October 15, 2008, 2:29 pm

Those “weed” sumacs are gorgeous in fall. I wish my ‘Tiger Eyes’ cultivar would begin its winter rest as nice as its wild cousins.

I think I just might have to get me a clump of that feverfew, it’s stunning.

Views like your “across the street” one always remind me of a bowl of colorful Fruity Pebbles cereal. ;~)

Mr. McGregor's Daughter October 15, 2008, 1:20 pm

Now that’s a million dollar view! It’s just breathtaking. It’s a good thing I don’t have a view like that, I’d never get anything done, I’d be staring at it all day & then trying to paint it.
I love your large swathes of Colchicums, and that quote is too funny. I’m too afraid of Sumacs to grow them, but I always admire them whereever I see them.

Jessica October 15, 2008, 12:22 pm

I’m so glad I came across this post! I had seen colchicums at a park/garden, but had no idea what they were! They are so pretty and really add a great last taste of blooms before the cold!

eliz October 15, 2008, 12:01 pm

We have lots of nice sumacs here too. I like them, despite their ubiquity. Love those colchicums!

Leslie October 15, 2008, 11:18 am

So many colchicums! And I love your view…it really is beautiful.

Dee/reddirtramblings October 15, 2008, 10:47 am

Lovely, lively lavender. Happy Bloom Day, Kathy.~~Dee

Gail October 15, 2008, 9:04 am

Kathy, Let me sit here and enjoy your magnificent
view of the hardwoods dressed in their autumn finery! I love the cochicums and the feverfew but the changing fall colors are a treat for senses tired of hot weather! Remind me I said that in December and January, please! Happy Bloom Day Kathy!


joco October 15, 2008, 7:24 am

How elegant to have fieldfulls of colchicum.
And the far reaching views of red remind me of our time in the Southern Tier. My present red is striking, but not that striking 🙂

Couldn’t agree more on Solidago and we now finally have a yellow-free garden this Autumn. Red instead.