Frost Is Not The End: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

– Posted in: What's up/blooming

Frost is not the end, just the beginning of the end

We had our first frost on Monday, 26F (~-3C). And another frost this morning, 27F (also ~-3C). We often seem to skip the light frosts altogether and go straight for the hard stuff. Buh-bye, dahlias, cannas, and cosmos. But there are plenty of plants still blooming.

Salvia koyamae

A good gardening friend gave me a piece of Salvia koyamae this fall. This salvia from Japan prefers shade.

Salvia koyamae flowers

Here’s a close-up of the flowers. It’s hardy to USDA zone 4.

Heterotheca villosa Ruth Baumgardner

Heterotheca villosa ‘Ruth Baumgardner’ grows to 4-5 ft (1.2-1.5m) in my garden and is blooming its head off right now, frost or no frost.

And let’s not forget colchicums. I was recently called “the crazy cat lady of colchicums” but if someone had this many different daffodils no one would blink an eye:
19 different kinds of colchicums

1.’Rosy Dawn’ 2. ‘The Giant’ 3. ‘Lilac Wonder’ 4. ‘Nancy Lindsay’ 5. ‘Poseidon’ 6. C. giganteum 7. C. speciosum 8. ‘Waterlily’ 9. ‘Zephyr’ 10. ‘Harlekijn’ 11. C. cilicicum 12. C. autumnale ‘Album’ 13. C. autumnale 14. ‘Glory of Heemstede’ 15. C. x byzantinum 16. C. x byzantinum ‘Album’ 17. C. x agrippinum 18. C. autumnale ‘Alboplenum’ 19. ‘Spartacus’ all blooming October 7, 2016.

In the image at the very top, ‘Poseidon’ colchicums are blooming behind the foliage of ‘Dark Towers’ penstemon. I cut down its flower stalks shortly before the colchicums bloom.
Sheffield chrysanthemum

This is the first bloom of my patch of Sheffield mums. They will bloom into November, depending on how cold the nights get.

Several plants are on a second flush of bloom, brought on by cooler nights and a smidgeon of rain.
pink phlox

This phlox was a deeper pink when it bloomed the first time in July and August.

Flower Carpet Pink Supreme

All of my roses are blooming again. This is Flower Carpet Pink Supreme, which has more of a orange cast to its flowers with the cooler temps. It was a lot pinker earlier in the season.

At Last rose from Proven Winners

And I have to put in a good word for the At Last™ rose from Proven Winners.

It is just a gorgeous apricot color and has grown vigorously from the trial plants I was sent from Proven Winners early this summer. It’s called At Last™ because “at last” there is a disease-resistant, easy-care rose that’s also fragrant. I agree it has all of those qualities, but I think the David Austin roses in my garden are also easy-care and perhaps more fragrant. Of course, they might be easy-care for me because I am supposed to be doing things for them that I am not. At any rate, At Last™ is certainly the best apricot rose I’ve grown, and I just swoon with the beauty of it.
fall-blooming foxglove

Some foxgloves are putting out a few new spires.

forget-me-nots in October

Actually, these forget-me-nots are blooming for the first time. I started them as seedlings and planted them out quite late–in July, I think. They somehow think they’ve been through winter and have started blooming. Are they in for a surprise!

But hey–true blue flowers in October? I’ll take it!
golden feverfew and sweet alyssum

And the cool weather annuals are making a comeback. I particularly like this combination of golden feverfew (somewhat perennial) and sweet alyssum.

So, yes, there are still a lot of plants that look good after a frost. In fact, frost brings out the best in some plants, a deepening of color and a sharpening of contrasts. But each succeeding frost takes its toll, and every week the foliage looks a little more ragged, and finally the ground freezes hard and snow blankets the earth. I won’t pretend that winter isn’t coming, but the first frost does not create a bleak wasteland.

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. Check it out at 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.

If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It’s a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it’s time to reflect on what’s come before.

~Mitchell Burgess in Northern Exposure

Comments on this entry are closed.

Garden October 26, 2016, 8:43 am

We have no blooms because we are under water restrictions. I’ve lost all my perennials and I’m fairly sure they will not be returning next year. The local police are actually patrolling neighborhoods looking for water violations.

Kathy Purdy October 26, 2016, 9:10 am

I am very sorry to hear that.

latif October 22, 2016, 3:59 am

wow nice article you’ve got there. very informative.

Malek October 20, 2016, 4:03 pm

great work!

commonweeder October 18, 2016, 10:46 am

I forgot to post on bloom day, but I loved seeing your garden. I have more than I thought after the frost, but enjoying them, and all the GBBD posts. I love your rose and have been surprised by my Lion’s Fairy Tale rose still in bloom.

Kathy October 16, 2016, 12:30 pm

Beautiful! I love the garden in Fall! I actually prefer Spring and Fall gardens to Summer. They somehow are just more interesting to me. It’s the tough guys out there now. I am patiently waiting for Monkshood to bloom. Also Turtlehead is still going strong. And of course, I am in love all over again with Panicum ‘Dallas Blues.’ We have had two frosts now as well, but today it is surprisingly warm and rainy. We could use that rain. The Autumn colors are extremely beautiful which surprises me after such a dry summer. I love that sweet little Salvia! And, once again I am so impressed by your Colchicum collection.

jo [england] October 16, 2016, 11:55 am

Oh dear – I have to confess that 12 of your Colchiums look identical to me, sorry.
But all your blooms look so fresh and Spring-like. I like your apricot rose and would appreciate it not being a D.A. one for a pleasant change. I wonder if we can get it from that grower of yours over here.

Kathy Purdy October 16, 2016, 5:26 pm

When they are all bunched together like that, a lot of the differences inside the flower go unseen. Also, the camera doesn’t distinguish between colors as well as the human eye does. But you would not be the first person to find that many colchicums don’t look different enough to make a difference. I am that way with snowdrops. The rose is marketed by Proven Winners here. I don’t know if they sell in Great Britain or not.

Barbara Bell October 16, 2016, 11:22 am

My twice-blooming dwarf lilac has one enormous stalk with a huge fragrant lilac. And my twin mandavillas sre still blooming furiously as are the impatiens which “died” during the summer heat. This is zone 5.

Dan October 16, 2016, 4:23 pm

I think your impatiens had impatiens downy mildew disease. The timing and dying plants sounds right for it.

Kathy Purdy October 16, 2016, 5:28 pm

Yes, I believe you are a little warmer than my garden here, but you are seeing the same kind of effect: plants getting a second wind after the hot, dry summer.

Judy Goodell October 16, 2016, 6:01 am

Very creative and clever of you to cut back the penstemons, leaving a ruffled border in front of the penstemons, And nice of you to share your idea!

Linnae October 16, 2016, 12:38 am

What you say is true! Despite our first frost this week, there are still quite a few blooms in my garden, too. It’s good–eases me into the idea of winter a little at a time. Happy Bloom Day!

Beth @ PlantPostings October 15, 2016, 9:21 pm

Gosh, you do have quite a few amazing blooming plants considering how cold it was. Your Colchicum selection is impressive–love the nickname! 😉

Denise October 15, 2016, 8:58 pm

I’ve never seen Colchicums. Lovely. I used to have pansies in the fall, but the rabbits are them all this spring. Drat.

Leslie October 15, 2016, 8:15 pm

You do indeed still have a lot of blooms!