October GBBD is here, and with it my favorite time of year...Autumn! While the leaves in Portland are just starting to turn vibrant shades of red, orange, yellow and purple, the rains have been in full force for several weeks. While I actually like the rain, I have to admit it's a mixed blessing in my garden. Fall planting is such a no-brainer in PDX, mild temps all winter and plentiful rain means the plants aren't stressed by summer heat and I don't have to traipse around the garden in a bonnet with my wooden bucket. The flip-side, however, is that tall, top-heavy plants just topple over as their blooms get waterlogged. As a result, the garden looks a bit rough this year...but whatcha gonna do? It's almost comforting to know that soon the garden will be cut down by frost and I can start fresh and new a few months later...now I just have to remember this feeling in January ;-)
Blooming at last! I bought this vine at Cistus Nursery last fall after covetously eyeing this vine in their gardens the year before. It was just a sprig, and so fragile-looking I was afraid it wouldn't make it through winter. It popped up this spring, however, and hasn't looked back since. It's practically covering an entire wall of our house in the back yard. I love the thin, wiry stems, which change in color as they age, from a deep plum-purple to a warm rust color. The foliage is so finely divided, it's almost invisible from a distance. The blooms are reminiscent of a quartered lemon peel...thick and succulent-looking. I was so excited to see a few flower buds a month or so ago...feeling please to get any blooms...then, weeks later, I realized there were probably hundreds more starting to appear...love 'em!
Agastache 'Purple Haze'
This Agastache wins the award for durability this year. It's been blooming since June and is still going, it has also managed to stay fairly upright throughout our rains...although, admittedly, a few branches have snapped from the weight. The color is less vibrant than a few other Agastache, but is still a nice foil to it's brighter neighbors, plus, it adds mass and height to that part of the garden.
'Ava' is still going strong, many of these plants collapsed almost entirely, but I propped them back up and they just keep on blooming! I'm probably going to cut them back a bit this weekend so I can at least walk along the pathway in back...and the formation of lateral buds along stems that already snapped let's me know they'll probably be blooming again in a few weeks (barring frost).
Persicaria 'Lance Corporal
Ok, ok, I know it's practically verboten to let this one blooms, unless you really want a million seedlings the following year, but I can't help it, there is something intriguing about those wiry, scarlet tapers! Plus, the seedlings are easy to spot and uproot if you don't want them.
|Verbascum 'Album'||Persicaria 'Golden Arrow'|
Helenium 'Mardi Gras'
I was a bad gardener this year and didn't deadhead the Helenium, not even once. In the past, with regular deadheading, it has bloomed from July to the first frost...but it's in a very hard-to-reach spot, so I decided to just let it go this year. It rewarded my inattention with continuous blooms...apparently, I'm not as necessary as I thought!
Sedum 'Autumn Joy'
How can you have an Autumn post without the stalwart 'Autumn Joy'. Ubiquitous it may be, but for good reason! It's dependable and offers a really long season of interest. I actually appreciate it most in the winter, when it's skeletal silhouette remins a point of interest until I chop it down in spring.
Agastache 'Blue Blazes'
This Agastache, by far the tallest, also suffered the most from our recent rains. I woke up a few weeks ago to find most of the stems completely snapped. I actually wasn't surprised after I went out to cut them off...heavy with rain, they really weighed a lot! Next year, I'm resolved to cutting them back as they are growing, to keep them busher...well, most of them...I rather like the ginormous size they attained!
Agastache 'Blue Blazes' new growth
This is the new growth appearing at the lateral buds beneath the snapped stems. I can't believe how vigorously the Agastaches are still growing! I guess I always think of them as heat-lovers, but they seem to really be responding to our recent cooler temps and ample rains with a surge of new growth.
Symphyotrichum (Aster) 'Prince'
Yikes...this name change will take me a while to remember (and longer to pronounce). I suddenly realized, which typing this post, that this is my ONLY Aster...crazy! I think I've avoided many of them because they are so nondescript during most of the year...and having a small garden, I try to maximize interest as best I can. 'Prince', however, has wonderful, dusky purple foliage all season long...which makes it a no-brainer for me. I actually bought it out of bloom, just for the foliage, a few years ago, so was pleasantly surprised by how wonderful it is in bloom. I love those little raspberry-centered white blooms...which are absolutely tiny, but borne is such profusion that they (like most Asters) completely cover the plant. Seeing it in bloom these past few weeks makes me realize I'd really like to add more of these around the garden...such a great plant!
Geranium 'Ann Folkard'
Oh, 'Ann Folkard', you just don't give up, do you! This year, 'Ann' managed to completely avoid getting defoliated by rust, so I got to enjoy her awesome foliage all summer, and now with cooler temps moving in, she's putting out new, fresh growth. She flowers constantly until frost, although the amount of flowers decreases during the hottest part of the summer. Her wandering ways means I get to enjoy serendipitous combinations like the one above.
Agastache 'Desert Sunrise' and Vebena bonariensis
After this year, 'Desert Sunrise' may have become my "go-to" for smaller Agastaches, replacing A. rupestris. While I will always have a few rupestris in my garden, 'Desert Sunrise' has better color and more flowers...plus it still has that amazing silvery foliage that I love in rupestris.
|Salvia 'Black & Blue'||Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'|
Eutrochium (Eupatorium) rugosum 'Chocolate'
Another name change that I keep forgetting! This poor plant was smashed up a bit earlier this year when the neighboring Joe Pye toppled over onto it...eek! Next year, I'll be sure to brace the Joe Pye just in case it happens again. Luckily, 'Chocolate' is as tough as it is beautiful and formed an arching mound. This is one plant I could probably never have enough of...the foliage is just beautiful, sultry and lovely. The flowers are just a bonus, with their frothy white caps floating around the garden.
The flowers get smaller and fewer, but they just don't stop! I must admit, Knautia has become one of my top plants for it's wonderful, rich reds...but in blooms small and charming enough to avoid being overbearing...great for a dash of warmth without setting fire to a border ;-)
Verbena rigida and Muhlenbergia capillaris
You can hardly beat a Verbena for durability and lenght of bloom. This one, a smaller, lighter version of another I have elsewhere, really captured my eye, even though I don't know if I would have bought it had I known it was such a light color....still, it's a happy accident, I now love it...plus, how can you not look smashing when you're enveloped in a gauzy pink cloud of Pink Muhly blooms!
Another gift from seed-starting champ Ryan Miller, this little climber surprised me with it's vigor! It grew to over 6' in a little over 2 months! It's already taller than the Panicum 'Northwind' it's planted between!
Persicaria 'Firetail' and Miscanthus 'Purpurascens'
Persicaria are probably classified as "summer-blooming", but I think they are at their best in the fall...maybe it's just that their wild-looking nature speaks of gone-over pastures and opulent meadows. Then again, maybe it's that their fiery blooms look amazing popping up between the fading foliage of other plants.
Oh, 'Rozanne', how could I ever garden without you? I am constantly reminded by how much I love this plant...such a long bloom season, and she always manages to look fresh...a winner in every way.
Salvia 'Purple Rain'
This Salvia really surprised me this year by blooming almost constantly...what a work-horse. Of course, the fact that the flowers are pretty much the most gorgeous, rich purple ever makes it even better!
I bought this Geranium mainly for it's fall foliage color, which is supposed to be warm reds and oranges...so far it's looking like it will just be yellow. Oh well, I stil got the flowers :-)
How can you have a garden without this amazing flowers...you just can't!
While the Echinacea blooms coming on now aren't as richly-colored as those of summer, they are still a nice treat...and I actually like this sort of faded color almost as much...seems very fitting for fall, somehow.
Another plant that just keeps pumping out the blooms! I'm not sure how hardy these are, but we'll see...I hope to see them come back next year bigger and better than ever.
The Vernonia that was just starting to bloom in last month's GBBD post is finishing up. The other two plants near it were the victims of a spring cat-stomping, so were stunted a bit and are just now starting to bloom...which,happily, extends the show!
Vernonia missurica in BLOOM!
This is what the Vernonia looked like a few weeks ago, just before I left for Nebraska...what amazing color! I love that rich, saturated reddish-purple. Sadly, these were pretty top-heavy and were toppled over when I got back from our trip...I'll have to remember to stake them next year, just in case.
Persicaria 'Firetail' with Panicum 'Blood Brothers' and Calamagrostis 'Overdam'
So there you have it, a taste of what's blooming in my garden today...head on over to May Dreams Garden for more!