03 November 2014

Last Gasp Before Winter

Most of the garden has fallen asleep before winter arrives, but some defiant plants refuse to give up. Acidanthera, members of the glad, family look as lush and healthy as a summer day. They continue to flower, albeit with fewer blooms than in summer.

The pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) is in its glory at this time. It waits until just before frost to throw out its red threads against its chartreuse foliage. This year the plant really took off after a severe winter that I thought would have killed it off like its neighbor the rosemary. Now, every day brings new branches tipped with new flower buds. I wonder what this would look like after one more frost-free month.

The tricolor ornamental peppers Garda did not grow as large as last year when it was in a pot on the raised deck. Even though this year in ground, it received a little more sun. I am thinking the rich soil in the pot gave the plants there a boost. These peppers are a favorite of mine with their circus colors. Fruit starts out a light cream color, then turns purple, then turns orange, then turns red. Yes, they are edible and incredibly hot.

Zinnias never give up. Even if all their leaves have turned crispy brown in the crisp autumn temperatures, they want to keep on blooming. The free zinnia seed mix curiously have only the red ones going strong. Pinks, purples, and yellows died out.

The Mexican Zinnias (Zinnia agustifolia) are very slow to start themselves, reseeding year after year -- the zinnia that keeps on giving. I got my money's worth when I got these several years ago. Once they get growing, there is no stopping. Throughout the summer they thrive on the heat, producing balls of oranges, yellows, and whites. And in the fall, they also seem to love the cooler weather as much as the late pollinators love them. I usually let them spring up wherever they want, especially along a walkways to soften the edge.

The overnight lows are flirting with freezing, but these friends are holding out until the end after their comrades gave up.


Jean Campbell said...
As much as I suffered the heat, I'm sad to see it leave now that we've had a scattered frost.

Acidanthera tends not to survive to the next year here and I don't always think to get more bulbs of this lovely plant.

Pineapple Sage tends to want a little shade here, unlike the rest of the Salvias.
Swimray said...
I dig up the acidanthera corms every year and save them to the next. You know, my pineapple sage is in a little shade.
J Clark said...
Nice wrapup.
Les said...
The peppers remind me of Christmas light bulbs.
Janet QueenofSeaford said...
I am jealous of your Acidanthera-- mine hasn't bloomed for two years! Time to move it. I am surprised the Pineapple Sage survived (came back) and the rosemary didn't. I had some die back on my rosemary last winter. Stay warm!
Swimray said...
The pineapple sage surprised the heck out of me, too. But, two of its self-seedlings did not make it through last winter.
Sue Garrett said...
Thank you for taking time to comment on my blog. Like janet I have trouble with Acidanthera. I've planted bulbs and seen no more evidence of them. Also pineapple sage hasn't even survived winter when brought in to the cold greenhouse,
Christa atCedarmereFarm said...
I am jealous! My Acidanthera went to sleep a long long time ago. It's one of my favorite flowers.