A Few Fall Surprises

– Posted in: What's up/blooming

Much to my regret, I missed Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day this month. For the most part, the same things that were blooming last September were blooming this September. (No mums yet, oddly.) But I did want to share a few things.

Malva  and zinnia

Serendipity! Who knew these zinnias would perfectly match the mallow?

The mallow is a descendant of Malva sylvestris ssp. mauritiana that I originally grew many years ago from Thompson and Morgan seed. A self-sown plant, you just never know where it will show up. It may have already sprouted when the zinnias were planted, but the zinnias were from a mix, and the colors an unknown. But at least some of the zinnias have turned out to perfectly match the mallow blossoms. I can see this from the kitchen door and it pleases me every time.
Nicotiana langsdorffii

Nicotiana langsdorffii 'Variegata'

I swear this plant grew up and bloomed overnight. One day it was a rosette of leaves, and the next time I was in this part of the garden, it was in full bloom. I first grew this plant many years ago from seed obtained from the American Horticultural Society’s seed exchange. (You have to be a member to participate.) The seed must have survived in the compost pile, because I haven’t seen this plant self-sow for a couple of years at least, and I figured I’d lost it for good when I forgot to save seed. By the way, the variegation is nothing to write home about, as you can see if you click here. But the chartreuse flowers lend a little zing to any flower bed they show up in.

Speaking of zing, take a look at what bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea cyanus, also known as corn flower) does for this flower arrangement.

zinnia and bachelors button

That little bit of blue cornflower makes a big difference

My daughter Cadie grew all these flowers and put them in this arrangement. She only had enough of the blue-flowered annuals for one vase, but plenty more of the zinnias. I was impressed with how much better the zinnia and bachelor’s buttons combination looked than the vases with zinnias alone. I’ve never thought bachelor button’s was that great as a garden plant, but I forget that flowers sometimes make their homes in vases, and it seems to me you can’t have enough of this blue for bouquets. Don’t you agree?

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.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

Layanee September 29, 2010, 5:44 pm

Love that nicotiana and it is nice to get surprises once in a while. It looks a bit misty in your cold climate.

Frances September 29, 2010, 3:42 pm

That view from your kitchen window is wonderful, Kathy, a perfect match of long lasting blooms. Cadie certainly inherited her mother’s green thumb, and eye for color. The blue makes it sing! How fun about the Colchicums traveling all over, you must be so proud! 🙂

Mr. McGregor's Daughter September 29, 2010, 2:11 pm

I so rarely cut flowers to make arrangements that I forget about planting flowers for that purpose. The bachelor’s buttons really do make the arrangement.

kerri September 29, 2010, 11:31 am

Kathy, I have that same self-sown mallow blooming in my garden right now. What a perfect match with the zinnias!
I agree that the cornflower blue gives a lovely touch to the zinnia bouquet. I love both flowers.
Those chartreuse nicotiana seeds are definitely worth saving! Maybe you’ll remember this year after having that welcome volunteer show up 🙂
I wanted you to know that your Colchicums are growing here on our farm in our daughter’s garden. They arrived via Lynn, who shared them with Kylie this past summer. Neat, eh? I’m excited to think that I’ll eventually have some in my own garden when Kylie’s multiply enough to share – my very own Cold Climate Colchicums 🙂

Kathy Purdy September 29, 2010, 12:48 pm

Kerri, that is fascinating! Those colchicums sure are traveling.

Ilona September 28, 2010, 12:31 am

At least you had some very nice showings- it was so bone dry here that even things in bloom looked pretty rank. Finally got some rain the past couple of days though.

Clayton September 27, 2010, 10:38 am

Other things are still blooming here but they are getting fewer and fewer. Little pansy and viola plants of course carry on till snow. My thrill is in the Clematis still blooming here. See my post on Gardenbuddies.

robin larkspur September 27, 2010, 7:57 am

Bachelor buttons have been a long-time favorite, along with zinnias. I love blue flowers of any kind, but also love bachelor buttons in its other splendid colors of pale blue, white, and even the dark reddish ones. I love that nicotania, tiny and pale green….a sweet little thing. Thanks for the lovely picture of the zinnias and bachelor buttons.

Hydroponics September 27, 2010, 5:56 am

Hey dude……….its really beautiful…………..I lov to do gardening………….nd I love flowers too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Carol September 26, 2010, 10:08 pm

I agree! That’s a great blue flower for a vase. And it is never too late to take stock of the garden, whether it is bloom day or not.