14 November 2010

Blooming After The Frost

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day
What's blooming in the garden on the 15th of the month.

The frost came on Tuesday morning of this week. There was no warning - the temperature forecast was for lows above freezing, but upon waking in the morning, there was frost on the grass and on the cars. This was not heavy, and plants near the house and in the backyard with a bit of tree cover were not harmed. Still, it was time to continue with the fall cleanup.

There are a few hardy souls still blooming and loving the cool weather. Rudbeckia with its large blossoms makes great cut flowers for indoors at this time, and punctuates the barren side yard where annuals have left.

Nicotiana is now on its third blooming cycle (or is it fourth) in the back. The plants are now enormous with leaves large enough to resemble real tobacco. I would not be surprised to find them there come spring if we have a mild winter. This has happened in the past.

The Coconut Lime echinacea, I am happy to report, has bloomed consistently throughout the summer after being deadheaded. The foliage is none too pretty in late fall, but new blooms still appear, albeit smaller. The plant ends up shorter than its native parent, at only about 1-foot tall (30 cm), but the blooms extend above the plant well.

Last, and certainly enjoying the coolness as always, is the calendula. This roughneck will stay blooming into December. Frost doesn't affect it, although a hard freeze will. As with the nicotiana, the plants will sometimes overwinter and fully bloom in early spring. Otherwise, new spring seedlings germinate and begin to bloom in later spring.

Overall the fall has been mild and dry, but not hot. The cool temperatures are coming gradually.