What is flowering in October?
The days are getting shorter and the leaves are falling from the trees. Autumn, or Fall as my lovely American friends call it, is well on its way. As a child I used to love running through the heaps of fallen leaves, shuffling my feet to maximise the loud rustling sound, only drowned by the giggles and laughter that escaped our small bodies. It was so much fun! Now that I’m a grown up (hopefully) and a gardener, I always feel a bit sad because I know that I will be spending less time in my garden as the weather gets colder and the blooms fade.
This year, I don’t know why, I feel a bit differently about it. I don’t know whether it’s because we have had a long hot summer and I feel ready for a change, or because there are still so many plants in full flower, making the garden look so beautiful in the soft Autumn light. Whatever the reason, I’ve decided to enjoy the display that October has to offer and made a little record of the plants that are in full bloom in my garden.
Plants that flower in October
I have various mop head Hydrangeas and paniculatas growing in my garden and by now they are starting to come to an end. I find that the paniculatas (the cone-shaped ones) are longer lasting and can take heat or rain better than the mop head varieties. The ones still growing strong in our garden are Hydrangea Silver Dollar and Limelight.
I’m not sure this should still be flowering in October, but here it is, brightening up the border. Amazing structural plant, quite tall and loved by the bees. It flowered throughout summer, and when it died down, I cut the dead stems to the ground. This seems to have revived it and it came back even stronger.
The roses in our garden have given us a real run for their money. They have been blooming for months and show no sign of slowing down. I dead-head them regularly but other than that I have let them get on with it. Some of the leaves have a touch of black spot but I don’t treat them unless it becomes extremely bad. The roses above are (from left to right starting at the top):
- New Dawn (a climber)
- Godstowe Girl (bush rose)
- Natasha Richardson (I love the subtle scent of this one)
- Munstead Wood (deep red and an incredibly strong scent)
- Madame Alfred Carriere (climber, non-stop flowers all summer and still going strong)
- Pomponella (a bargain find from a local car boot sale)
These beautiful plants were late to start in our garden. At one point I thought they had died due to the very harsh winter we had. But they suddenly appeared from the bare soil around early summer and grew stronger until they showed buds. They flowered late, but that means we can still enjoy them now in October. They still have plenty of buds so it looks like they will be showing off for a while longer. Read all about them in our Plant of the month for October post.
From left to right they are: Serenade, Honorine Jobert and the fantastic Tiki Sensation with its stunning double flowers.
This has to be one of my garden favourites. This beautiful and elegant plant has flowered from late Spring through to October and doesn’t show any signs of stopping. The bees love it, the birds perch on it and the scent is amazing. At times the garden smells like entering a sweet shop, the scent reminds me of cross between candy floss and a flowery perfume. I wouldn’t be without it.
I’ve got a soft spot for sedums. They seem to withstand the roughest of treatments and are so easy to propagate from cuttings. This particular variety has flowers that are pink at the start and deepen to a bright red.
This elegant sage has flowered on and off this summer. It stopped flowering around September and has somehow found more energy and presented me with delicate but popping red coloured flowers. The colour is almost fluorescent! The leaves do smell like Tangerines but I’m not sure how it will do over winter. It seems too delicate to survive the cold but we’ll have to wait and see.
This particular variety called Azure Rush has flowered its socks off all summer. It survived the bitter winter and has had no care other than the occasional watering during the hot summer. And yet it rewards me with a fountain of blooms every year. Easy to divide, easy to grow, this one is a keeper.
This beautiful flower, also known as the African Daisy, is a real star. It has flowered all through Summer and is showing no signs of slowing down. Plenty of buds are telling me that we can look forward to more lovely blooms in the days to come. I will be planting more of these along one of our paths.
This beautiful flower lives in a pot and shares its space with this lovely purple plant whose name I don’t recall (I lost the label). Edelweiss, or Leontopodium (to give it its proper name), is an Alpine but it seems very happy in my pot in South London. It’s still flowering, even though it’s supposed to be a Spring flowering plant, so I don’t know if this is normal for this time of year.
This particular variety, Autumn Magic, seems to really like it in our woodland part of the garden. It lives in the shade from a large Ceanothus bush and has large glossy leaves and striking pink flowers that tower above the ground covering foliage.
Black Stem Salvia
We have lots of Salvias in our garden but most of them have finished flowering. This stunning beauty is still going strong. As its name suggests, it has an almost black stem, which contrasts beautifully with the green foliage. The flowers are a deep but vibrant blue-ish purple.
I grew this pink Cosmos from seed and never thought they would grow so tall and carry such large flowers. They look stunning growing through the Black Stem Salvia and show no sign of stopping. There are so many buds yet to open, I think we will have this lovely display for quite a while yet.
One of my favourite plants in the garden! They are coming to the end of their time, but even when they stop flowering, they form some stunning seed heads. I don’t cut them down for winter, I try to leave as many plants to die down naturally and find that they reward me with an interesting and even beautiful skeleton that looks stunning covered in frost or snow during winter.
These are most of the plants that are still flowering in our garden in mid October. The garden is preparing for winter, the leaves on the trees are changing colour and falling onto the garden paths and the fading blooms are telling us that it is time to have a good tidy up and getting the garden ready for its big sleep. However, before we cut anything down and sweep away the leaves, let us enjoy the colours and the golden light that this time of year brings. Put the kettle on, maybe put a jumper on, and sit outside for a moment to take in the graceful beauty that is before our eyes and is gently reminding us that nothing lasts forever, but that it transforms into a different kind of beauty and is equally precious. Enjoy your garden!
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