A Gorgeous Afternoon

PIneapple Sage, Pineapple Mint, Rosemary, and Lantana at their peak in late October.

PIneapple Sage, Pineapple Mint, Rosemary, and Lantana at their peak in late October.

What a gorgeous day it’s been here in Williamsburg.  After our first really cold night, down into the 30s, the morning dawned clear and brisk.  We’ve had cool wind all day and bright sunshine.  It is that time of the year to watch the weather and decide what needs to come inside for the night.  Will it freeze tonight?  Can the Begonias stay outside another day?

Dragon Wing Begonias love these cool bright days.

Dragon Wing Begonias love these cool bright days.

I have areas prepared to bring everything in, and we even bought a number of fresh, clean plastic disks for bringing potted plants into the house for the winter.  Everything is ready to go…. but the plants.  It looks like they are loving this weather!

It is a horticultural game of “chicken”, balancing the late night low temperatures against the chance to soak up another day of sunshine and fresh air.

A tiny bee uses a Camellia as a "bed and breakfast" inn.

A tiny bee uses a Camellia as a “bed and breakfast” inn.

We finally brought the Norfolk Island Pine in late last night after doing the research online to determine how much cold it can withstand:  not much.  If temps go back up next week it will go back out to its spot on the patio.

Many of our Begonias are huddled together, out of the wind, where the house and patio will keep them insulated by a few degrees at least.  We brought a few inside after watching the 5 PM weather- just to make sure a few have extra protection should it get even colder than the forecast.

The Ginger lilies are covered in bloom.

The Ginger lilies are covered in bloom.

The flowers rooted into the Earth are taking the changes in stride.  If anything, the Ginger lilies are giving more flowers than ever before.  The Rosemary have broken out into bloom.

The Camellias unfold new buds each day, and give shelter to the tiny insects who come for their nectar.

Camellia Sasanqua

Camellia Sasanqua

Pineapple Sage is at its peak, covered in scarlet, reaching for the sky.  The Bouganvilliea finally bloomed, after a summer of waiting for flowers, at the end of September.

Mexican Petunia, a tender perennial, has taken root in a pot where it might make it through a Virginia winter.

Mexican Petunia, a tender perennial, has taken root in a pot where it might make it through a Virginia winter.

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Dill and African Blue Basil are still in bloom. The Basil has grown huge this year.

This in between time is awash in color as flowers, berries, leaves, stems, air and sun vie with each other for the brightest most sparkling hues.  A day like today is a gift, a golden moment out of the ever changing year.  Knowing that the first frost can come any night, maybe even tonight, we wander the garden with appreciation; enjoying the gorgeous afternoon.

We’ve learned  that autumn in Virginia mixes all of the seasons together in an unpredictable jumble.  We’ve had 80 degree days in December, October snow, tropical storms at Halloween, and “endless summer” days after frosty breath mornings.  To see all of the buds and flowers in the garden today, you might think it May.

The Bougainvillea has only been blooming a few weeks.  I hope it can stay outside a few weeks longer in a sheltered spot.

The Bougainvillea has only been blooming a few weeks. I hope it can stay outside a few weeks longer in a sheltered spot.

But, it’s late October.  And I’m still procrastinating.  There are Caladium tubers to dig, but I hate to disturb them.  Rex Begonias to pot and move indoors, and Coleus to dig out and replace with Violas.  And it may turn warm again next week.  I’ll save those chores for another, gorgeous afternoon.

All photos by Woodland Gnome 2013

October 25 flowers and berries 002

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

5 responses to “A Gorgeous Afternoon

  1. Forest So Green

    Isn’t it amazing how nice the garden looks with a bit of cool weather? Those cinnamon rolls sound delicious 🙂 Annie

    • All but 2 went out the door to the bake sale. We think its important to do the quality control test, you know….

      No frost here, and everything still looks healthy and happy this morning. Its as though the whole garden celebrates when the summer heat is finally a thing of the past.

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