This has been a very mild fall. We’ve had the occasional skin-of-the-teeth frost, which means some frost on the back lawn, but not enough to touch the plants in a raised bed, or the stone floor of the front porch, or the back deck, which is a floor above ground level. As a result, a lot of plants that usually would have been long gone are still blooming happily.I blame the relatively cool summer for the reason my ‘Mingus Toni’ dahlia didn’t even start blooming until the third week of September. I’ve gotten to enjoy several blooms since then. I had thought that growing them in pots would help provide some of the warmth dahlias need to thrive. My other dahlia never did bloom. Maybe they need bigger pots, or more consistent feeding. Maybe dahlias just don’t like me. My sister gave me two delphinium seedlings from her surplus seed-starting. I really didn’t think I’d see them bloom this year, but the mild autumn gave them time to set buds and bloom. I know the dark one is ‘Bellamosum’ and I think the lighter blue below is ‘Cliveden Beauty’. They are both from the Belladonna group of delphiniums, which don’t get such tight spires of bloom but are more perennial in the garden. So far that one ‘Bellamosum’ has produced five spikes of that gorgeous blue! In early May I discovered a bunch of seeds I had meant to broadcast in a flower bed weeks before, when they would get exposed to a long period of frost. I figured I had nothing to lose so I sprinkled them on all the bare ground. I guess they got enough cold to germinate, because they started blooming in mid-August, filling out the front north bed in a very cottage garden fashion. I think many of these annuals can tolerate a light frost, but by now we’ve usually had some hard freezes, which mars all but the toughest plants, if it doesn’t kill them outright. Somehow, I don’t think you would see all of these blooming together in a typical October. Okay, the Crocus speciosus is supposed to be blooming in mid-October. This is my first year growing Heterotheca villosa, false goldenaster, thanks to Frances of Fairegarden, so I don’t know if it would typically be blooming now. The Candy Oh! Vivid Red rose is as tough as they come, and it was blooming after a hard freeze last October. Well, maybe they would all be blooming in a typical October. I’ll have to see how that Heterotheca does next year. ‘Spartacus’ colchicum is new to me this year. It emerged later than most of my other colchicums, but is looking good when the earlier bloomers are all but a memory. Can you believe all those flowers came from one corm? The pink flowering tobacco was another seedling from my sister. I’m not clear whether it’s ‘Cranberry Isle’ or ‘Bella’. Maybe it’s both. Flowering tobacco self-sows for me, but never takes off until late summer/early fall. That’s okay. It looks great while so many other plants are past their peak. Arum italicum ‘Marmoratum’ is another gift from Frances, who lives in Tennessee. It is not reliably hardy in Zone 5, but I have planted it in between the house and a stone walkway in the hopes it will get enough reflected heat to squeak through. Stay tuned.
I feel very blessed to be enjoying such mild October weather. It’s really been a great gardening year.
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 Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.