Looking Good: Autumn Favorites

The first Camellias of the season bloomed this week.

The first Camellias of the season bloomed this week.

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The garden is looking good again now that the soil is moist, the days are sunny, and the nights are cool.  Our autumn flowers have begun blooming, filling the garden with vivid red Pineapple Sage, soft blue Mexican Bush Sage, pristine white Camellias and vividly rose pink Bougainvillea.

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We even have a stalk of Iris buds ready to open on a rebloomer transplanted this past spring.

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Even as brown leaves litter the lawn, summer weary plants respond to our milder weather with vivid new flowers.

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Some of our most spectacular roses open after October 1st each year and keep coming through early December.  Many of our Pelargoniums have also started pumping out plump new buds.  Late October feels almost like a reprise of spring, but with more intense color.

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Pineapple Sage waits to bloom until October, filling the garden with fragrant red flowers until frost.

Pineapple Sage waits to bloom until October, filling the garden with fragrant red flowers until frost.

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We are busy planting bulbs and perennials.  I’m ready to start filling our pots with Violas for winter color by the end of the month.

October is my favorite time of year for spreading new compost.  I bought the last few bags on offer at our favorite garden center this week.  Their next load won’t deliver until spring.  I’ll use much of it when moving shrubs out of their pots and into the ground over the next week.

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Some has already gone over a new planting of  ‘Thalia’  Daffodil bulbs, now overplanted with Ajuga, Vinca, and some bits of hardy Sedum.  A fresh inch or two of compost over freshly weeded beds keeps them looking good through the winter, and helps nourish the bulbs and perennials which will begin growing again in a few months.

Some plants, like these Colocasia divisions, which got off to a slow start in early summer, have finally come into their prime in these last weeks before frost.

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Colocasia with a scented Geranium have taken their time to grow this summer. The Colocasia divisions really took off after a placed the pot behind them, possibly providing more water and nourishment.

Colocasia with a scented Pelargonium have taken their time to grow this summer. The Colocasia divisions really took off after we placed the potted Pelargonium behind them, possibly providing more water and nourishment.

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Officially, our first frost date is October 15.  It is hard for me to believe that frost can come at any time after the middle of next week.  I’ve not yet given much thought to moving tender plants inside to the garage, basement, and living room to keep them over winter.  But it is time for me to sketch out a plan and begin putting it into action before an early freeze catches us unprepared.

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Bouganvillea begins its season of bloom in early autumn, but must come indoors before frost. It is a tender woody perennial which won't survive our Virginia winters out of doors.

Bougainvillea begins its season of bloom in early autumn, but must come indoors before frost. It is a tender woody perennial which won’t survive our Virginia winters out of doors.

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After a busy few weeks which left me little time or energy for the garden, I’m ready to begin the round of fall projects which close it out for the season.

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There are Ginger Lilies to dig and deliver to friends; tender Colocoasia, Caladiums, ferns, and Begonias to dig and pot for their winter indoors; leaves to shred and  roses to trim back for a final time this year.

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Leaves fall steadily in our garden even as late bloomers, like this Salvia, are in their prime.

Leaves fall steadily in our garden even as late bloomers, like this Salvia, are in their prime.

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Taking time to notice what is Looking Good each week keeps my focus on the positive.  Many thanks to Gillian at Country Gardens UK for hosting this theme each Friday.  Please take a moment to enjoy her beautiful apples this week.  Gillian also offers up an enticing recipe for Apple Cake, which I want to try making this weekend with apples from our favorite farm stand.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

 

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