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Color in October

  Fall color - makes you think of colorful leaves in all kinds of fiery shades, doesn't it? But as I was walking through the garden today (October 27th, 2007), I was surprised to see how many plants were still showing their flower colors. Earlier this week, we were treated to several days of drenching rain (much needed!), and now that cooler temperatures have arrived, my mental image of the garden is of fall, with leaves strewn about and blazing red burning bushes. But frosts have held off till late this year; many of the plants we've been enjoying all summer are still showing off their stuff (a bit shabbier, sometimes, but that's part of the season's charm), and they are joined by the late arrivers. This page contains a few of today's impressions.

This is one of the true fall bloomers: Crocus sativus, the source of saffron (those blood-red stigmas sticking up beyond the petals). Sure brightens up the rock garden!

This one, on the other hand, has been going all summer. Nobody told his Melampodium paludosum that summer ended some time ago. Shhhh....

Another fall bloomer of renown, Anemone 'Andrea Atkinson' usually grows upright. The little gal here is one of several small divisions I stuck in a few places earlier this year; tiny as she is, she's blooming away, finally taking the spotlight.

Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina' seeds itself all around (actually, this Generation X specimen probably shouldn't be called 'Zebrina'). Consequently, I merely tolerate the plants, pulling them out where they don't belong. But they really are star performers, going on all summer long - with straggler flowers going well into fall. I liked how this one flower, already a bit worn, adds just a bit of floral color to the fading scene around it.

Clematis 'Ramona' has earned herself a place in two of my other fall impressions pages - because she just won't give up, and her flowers immediately attract your attention as you walk through the garden. We put up a new trellis (actually, Lily's old bed) earlier this year to replace its dilapidated wooden support, and Ramona wasn't too happy about this change for a while. But she's gotten over herself, and uses her mum neighbors to nice effect as a color contrast.

Most of the purple coneflowers are well into their dark seedhead state - but these two youngsters in the orchard holding bed have just arrived. The flowers are held by first-year plants, seedlings grown from named cultivars. It's clear that some will look just like the regular old echinaceas, while others may resemble their fancy parents a bit more. That's the fun of growing from seed!

Truly a star of fall, salvia leucantha merely sat and waited through the summer months, only to show its true splendor as autumn arrived. I'm afraid the plants won't be hardy here, so I'm going to get some new seed to start - this is a show I wouldn't want to miss...

Meanwhile, the mess of annuals we euphemistically call our cutting garden is in a state of disarray. The once splendid amaranths are sad gray fluffs, the stately gladioli all gone. But color keeps on coming, courtesy of the strawflowers, tropical milkweed, and summer poinsettia.

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Last modified: November 12, 2007
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