Friday, October 21, 2011
It Ain't Over Till It's Over!
Looking from a distance, it appears that the garden season is over. I headed out with the camera to look for a few remaining flowers to photograph. This still green vine caught my immediate attention. Sheltered by the stone wall, this determined moon flower clings to life even though it's already way too late for it here. The frost that has visited here has been light. The stream of cold that pours downhill across our garden is deflected by the stone wall. Warmth radiated by the wall has kept these leaves from freezing. The vine above the wall was frozen dead some weeks ago.
Of the plants that are usually gone by now many still have one or two flowers blooming. I chose this photograph of a somewhat less than perfect 'Stardust' chrysanthemum to represent the group. Some of them like the evening scented stock or rose campion have a single flower on plants that have pretty much gone to seed. Meadow sage, dianthus, gloriosa daisies, catchfly, goldenrod, and even a pathetic pink poppy are giving it one more try. I even saw a couple of yellow nasturtiums flowers peeking out of the compost pile where the plants have been already been tossed.
This sedum is normally one of the late bloomers in the garden. This year it has been gorgeous for a long time. These slow moving bumblebees have been on this plant for days. I don't think they even leave to go home at night. Every time I pass by they are there and I take their picture again. If you can find a flower without a bee, and you get your nose really close, you can still enjoy the delicate fragrance of these pink flowers.
This pink Emperor of China chrysanthemum is usually the last plant to flower here. It is really hardy. Even after a frost turns the leaves to burgundy, pink flowers continue to open. With the foliage still green this plant looks like it is just getting started.
But the real surprise are the plants who seem to think it is still summer. Planted this spring and stalled until now, this Jackmani clematis is blooming like the summer is just beginning. It has plenty of buds still ready to open.
This Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun' plant is also working on new flowers. The catalog said " blooms June to October", but I'm still amazed! The freezing night temperatures that we are so accustomed have not happened. Normally a beautiful clear blue sky day is followed by plummeting temperatures . What we have been getting this year is a little sunshine early in the day, followed by clouds and rain or just rain. Instead of a quick frozen death, the garden is slowly ebbing away. It is not what we are accustomed to, but flowers in late October are a nice extra innings bonus!