Thursday, October 1, 2009

What (if anything) is still blooming in October?!

Bleak is the word. No trees flowering. A few of the rugosa roses are blooming, namely 'Hansa', 'Marie Bugnet', 'Henry Hudson', 'Wild Spice', Potentilla 'Abbottswood', and a newly planted dogwood, Cornus 'Prairie Fire'.

The list of perennials in bloom is longer, fortunately. Let's see, we have a couple of blossoms of Geranium 'Johnson's Blue', several Clematis macropetala varieties in a second wave of bloom, Phlox paniculata 'David', Geranium prostrate mystery variety (baby pink), Veronica 'Giles Van Hees', 'Alba', 'Mann's Variety', Achillea 'Paprika' and 'Terracotta', Penstemon 'Bashful', Gentiana semptemfida var. lagodechiana, Astilbe 'Feuer', Rudbeckia, a gold tufted mystery variety, Ligularia 'Othello', Monarda 'Marshall's Delight' and 'Petite Delight', Periscaria 'Blackfield' and 'Orangefield'. One grass that is still blooming is Calamagrositis brachytricha. It is new to me this year, so I am crossing my fingers. I am a sucker for ornamental grasses. They make my yard look dynamite in the fall, and the rest of the year, too.

Some annuals are still going strong. Re-seeders, my favorite types, include, snapdragons and sweet alyssum. The sweet peas are still good, none crisped by frost, and smelling delightful. In my containers I still have some lovely geraniums (Pelargonium), Lamium, Viola, Oxalis, Dahlia, petunias, a Nemesia or two, Fuchsia, and Euphorbia.

Container foliage plants that look nice today include ornamental kale, Lamium, brown sedge grass (Carex 'Red Rooster'), blue fescue (looks amazing!), Heuchera, Sedum 'Autumn Delight', and Oxalis.

July, it isn't. But I submit the colors and blooms of October are a miracle in and of themselves in Alaska and I am grateful. If you have taken a tour of your own Alaskan garden and find it a little short on bloom this time of year, take note. When the mail ordering frenzy of January rolls around, try to find some room for fall bloomers.

(It's official: today, October 2nd, was the first hard frost at my place.)

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