Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Late October in Our Garden

A few overview photos, just because I happened to take them (and am not sure how prompt I'll be about taking November's "survey")...

The lingering morning glory vine on that "rustic obelisk/tripod" has turned out to be the blue type.  Not a great show of flowers, but every bit of blue counts.  Next year, if I use similar obelisks, I think I'll try to get the plants growing in the ground instead of pots.  Maybe we'll get healthier, fuller, less thirsty vines that way.

October Garden

The viburnum isn't looking its best, but that probably has a lot to do with the arrival of autumn.  (Sometimes it's hard to remember that many plants are already going dormant.  The Curcuma elata in the semi-shade area, for example, is rapidly turning yellow and drooping its stalks.)

October Garden

October Garden

October Garden

October Garden

October Garden

October Garden

Now for a few plant close-ups...

The long-awaited flowers of the Mexican purple sage (Salvia purpurea) have finally begun to appear!

Salvia purpurea

They aren't quite so large as I was picturing, but measured by the whole spike, they're not bad-- and if the whole plant ever gets blooming at the same time, I can imagine it making a bigger impression.  Also, the color is very rich and vibrant.

Salvia purpurea

It's extremely easy to start from cuttings (with very little effort, I multiplied our one plant into a handful in one growing season)-- but not very cold-hardy.  I'll try my best to give the plants an adequately heavy winter mulching, but I'll also take some cuttings before the first frost.  I'm still not sure I can keep cuttings alive over the winter, but I'll give it a try.

Salvia purpurea

The Knock Out roses continue to do well.  I'll probably cut back most of the roses (with the definite exception of the new 'Joseph's Coat' and a gentler hand on the other climbing rose), this late fall/early winter.  I'm a little nervous about the Knock Out roses, but it should be fine.  Mom prunes hers that way, and Granny did, too.

The KO roses take a lot of abuse from some quarters-- they don't have perfume (except for the yellow); they're everywhere and therefore lacking in "rose mystique"; they're "charmless"-- but they've been effortless bloomers for us, so far, and they're beautiful, even if they are everywhere, at the moment.  

Red Double KO Rose

The swamp daisy is another plant (like the Mexican purple sage) that takes its time to bloom, but it comes at a time when a shot of bright color is greatly appreciated!

Swamp Daisy

I don't have a great photo of them, but we've been surprised at how long into the fall these new azaleas have been blooming.  They're Encore 'Autumn Sunburst', and we're planning to put them in as foundation planting along the front of the house.

'Autumn Sunburst' Azalea

These self-seeded coleus have been impressive and easy, this year.  I never knew before that they could grow from seed, but now that I do, I'd be interested in starting some on purpose, sometime.  I'll try to overwinter some cuttings of this year's volunteers, but I don't have high hopes.


There are some new plants awaiting placement in the garden, too.  (This is prime planting-time for perennials, trees, and shrubs, in our climate.)

In the photo below there's purple muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) and Japanese shrub mint
(Leucosceptrum japonicum 'Golden Angel').

Purple Muhly Grass and Japanese Mountain Mint

This is forsythia sage (Salvia madrensis).  When it's established, it can get pretty big-- like 8-feet-tall big-- and sports foot-long spikes of yellow blooms.  I think the highly textured leaves are interesting, too.

Salvia madrensis (Forsythia Sage)

Here's Salvia leucantha 'Waverly'.  I hope it'll be happy in our garden.  The fuzzy white blooms make a nice contrast with the plummy purple calyxes.

Salvia leucantha white

This unusual-looking little flower is a toad lily bloom.  (It's a variegated toad lily, though the foliage is so blurred in the background of the photo that you can't really see it.)  Tricyrtis formosana.  I've read that these are easy to grow from seed.  No idea if it's true, but if this one does well, it might be interesting to try, if I could find a reasonable source for seeds of other types/colors.

Toad Lily

And for our last photo, here's the Alabama ox-eye daisy (Heliopsis helianthoides).  It's supposed to be a fast spreader, but it's native to this area, so it can't technically be "invasive". (g)  It doesn't look like much right now, but I'm predicting it will be more impressive this time next year.

Alabama Ox-Eye Daisy