Saturday, October 15, 2016

Bloom Day - October 2016

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens, is always a highlight of the month, although I admit I'm having difficulty getting excited about my garden at the moment. However, perhaps my outlook has just been blighted by excessive exposure to the political news.  I look forward to both the promise of rain (possibly as early as tonight!), as well as the conclusion of the US presidential campaign.

October is a transitional period.  Nighttime temperatures are consistently cooler and we also get some of what we define as fall-like daytime temperatures, which generally means readings in the low 70s and high 60s Fahrenheit (19 to 23 Celsius).  However, cooler days are periodically broken by warm spells generated by our notorious Santa Ana winds.  Next week, for example, we expect temperatures to soar back up near 90F (32C).

But to focus on the positive, here's what's looking good at the moment, starting with the plants that began their annual bloom cycle just this month:

On the left, the yellow blooms of Senna bicapsularis, a host plant for sulphur butterflies, can be seen growing against the fence dividing our property from that of our neighbor on the north side.  (The yellow Brugmansia next to it is growing on the neighbor's side.)  A closer view of the Senna's flowers can be seen on the right.

Blooms began appearing on Barleria obtusa (aka bush violet) just this week

I added this Symphyotrichum chilensis (aka Pacific aster or California aster) to the garden last month in the hope that it'll fare better in my garden than other asters have

Verbena bonariensis surfaced in the local garden center last month and I added 2 plants to my garden.  The plant has a reputation for self-seeding but, when I previously planted it in the driest area of my garden, that didn't happen.  I'm hoping my backyard border is more hospitable.

Plectranthus ecklonii (left) started blooming late last month and is still going strong, although the plant is only a fraction of the 6 foot height it should reach at maturity.  Plectranthus ciliatus 'Zulu Wonder' (which I've previously mislabeled as 'Zulu Warrior') had a tough summer but it's still producing flowers on schedule this month.


Following these are the dependable plants that just keep on giving:

The pale pink Eustoma grandiflorum dominated my backyard border this summer but, while those plants have mostly faded away, the cherry pink, yellow and blue varieties are still producing flowers

Grevillea 'Superb' is by far the bloomiest Grevillea in my garden.  The largest of my plants, shown here, has produced flowers all year but it's particularly flowerful this month.

Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' runs a distant second in flower production.  It always has at least a couple of flowers but hasn't produced the generous bounty that 'Superb' does.

The Pennisetums consistently bloom from late summer through fall.  Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum' is on the left and P. 'Fireworks' is on the right.

The bloom stalks on Achillea 'Moonshine' are shorter than those the plants produced in late spring and summer but the flowers keep on coming.  A few stems of A. 'Moon Dust' can be seen behind 'Moonshine' on the upper left.

The 'Profusion' Zinnias I planted from plugs never got very tall but they're still going strong.  I've seeded sweet peas along the wire supports in this raised planter and I'm hoping that the Zinnias will offer protection from the raccoons until the seedlings have gotten a good start.  The raccoons destroyed the seedlings from 2 sowings of sweet pea seeds last year.

Other stalwart performers in my garden include, from the left, Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink', Gaura lindheimeri 'Snow Fountain', and Pelargonium peltatum 'Pink Blizzard'


Next up are the plants that took me by surprise:

I've bemoaned the fact that the Anemone hupehensis var. japonica that came with my garden have failed to make an appearance for years but a few stems of white and pink flowers appeared this month to surprise me - the pink form is shown on the left.  Pentas 'Kaleidoscope Appleblossom' (middle photo) made a surprise reappearance after a lackluster spring showing.  Salvia lanceolata (aka Rocky Mountain Sage, right) also unexpectedly produced another round of blooms.


I'll end with a collage of the best of the rest:

Clockwise from the upper left are: Osteospermum '4D Silver', Aloe 'Rooikappie', Gaillardia aristata 'Gallo Peach', Gomphrena globosa 'Fireworks', Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy', Grevillea 'Pink Midget', Lobelia valida, and Trichostema 'Midnight Magic'


Visit Carol for a view of what's flowering elsewhere in the country and around the world.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

33 comments:

  1. I always love seeing those big Grevillea flowers in your garden. I'm going to try some Verbena in my garden next year.

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    1. I'd been put off by my prior experience with Verbena bonariensis, Alison, but I think I pushed the plants' drought tolerance a bit too far, too fast. I hope it performs well for you!

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  2. Your Eustoma grandiflorum and Grevilleas always wow. We're in the midst of a particularly rainy, cold, and gray few days so your blue skies and warm weather sound appealing at the moment.

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    1. And your rain sounds wonderful to be, Peter (although I could do without the hurricane-like winds)! We have a 40% chance of rain tonight but the projected total is 0.02 inches - nothing to get excited about.

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  3. Your Grevilleas are always the stars in my book! Hope you get some rain...

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    1. The clouds have played a game of hide-and-seek with us since early morning. The forecast now says a 40% chance of light rain after 11PM. I'm not holding my breath.

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  4. Looking good at your place. I hope you get the rain that was promised. V. bonairensis is a good choice; sometimes it reseeds here and sometimes not.

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    1. No rain yet, Jean, but the forecast contains a chance of it through Monday morning. The Verbena is happier in its current location than it was in the place I selected for it last time so fingers are crossed that it self-seeds. I could use some more free plants!

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  5. Pretty nice temps here but leaves and pine needles are falling like rain!

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    1. I don't have much experience with pine needles, Linda. Do they usually fall like that this time of year? I hope you're not experiencing drought too. (There seems to be quite a lot of that going around.)

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  6. You've got a lot of great flowers going on. Definitely nice to be distracted these days. Salvia lanceolata looks charming and is totally new to me. Sadly its not hardy for me.
    Cheers to autumn temperatures!

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    1. The decline in the nighttime temperatures is a blessing - it's not easy to sleep with temperatures in the 80s! The Salvia lanceolata was a good find - its flower color is unusual and the gray foliage color makes a nice accent.

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  7. I hope your Pacific aster does well; I'm not all familiar with it - please keep us posted. Your Grevillea is indeed superb and the Pennisetums are always wonderful. Fingers crossed you get some rain! It's about time that going out in the garden becomes encouraging again!

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    1. I'm still having difficulty getting excited about the garden, Amy, although I did spend most of the day out there doing odd jobs today. My daily clean-ups after the raccoons are putting a real damper on my mood.

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  8. Wow! That row of Pennisetum 'Fireworks' is magical! Hope you get that rain. I'm happy for the rain we're getting right now, but wish it wasn't accompanied by dangerous winds.

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    1. We get high winds virtually every afternoon but I can't even begin to imagine typhoon-level wind. Stay safe!

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  9. Your weather continues to interest me Kris. I grew up near the airport and I only remember it being hot in Sept. My dad grew dozens of Fuchsias. We had family friends who lived in the valley and I always dreaded going out there because it was so damn hot.Has my perception of what heat is changed , or has the climate changed that much since the 50's-60's ? I have been growing V. bonariensis for years and have never seen a seedling. Maybe summer rain is needed ? Happy bloomday !

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    1. I grew up in the SF Valley and have lived in SoCal my entire life, Kathy. Summers in the Valley became increasingly hideous through my middle and high school years - part of the problem is that the space became a heat-sink as green space was replaced with concrete but, in retrospect, climate change was probably also already underway. I lived in one of the beach cities for years and live on the Peninsula now and I can tell you that winters have changed dramatically - 90F days in December in my area aren't uncommon, although the beach cities are usually a good 10 degrees cooler.

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  10. If it can make you feel any better, Kris - by next Bloom day, many of the rude loudmouths that rule the airwaves today, will thankfully have crawled back under the rock they came from. Can't wait... I think there are still a lot of wonderful things blooming in your garden, but most of all, I love your Grevilleas. I only have one, and I'm eagerly awaiting its first blooms of the season. Who knows - maybe they'll show up, just in time to celebrate the election being over...?

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    1. I hope things settle down after the election, Anna, but the level of vitriol in this campaign seems to have caused a lot of harm.

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  11. I would call this a lot. And some very interesting ones to boot. Your temperatures are making me envious.

    joanna
    http://bloomday.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/october-bloom-day.html

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    1. If you went months and months without rain, Joanna, you might be less enamored with our climate.

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  12. I especially like both types of the plectranthus and the Grevillea. Your garden is truly outstanding. It demonstrates what a talented gardener can do, and how such a garden can weather climate challenges. Everything here remains very dry. We had a light rain shower today, the first rain in October and certainly no drought-buster! We have 10% to 20% chance of rain several days this week.

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    1. A rain front moved through here last night - we got all of one one-hundredth of an inch. Another front is expect to move through late tonight but the output is expected to be on par with last night's result. And the Santa Ana winds return on Tuesday...

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  13. Hi Kris, your Eustomas are truly not letting you down! So beautiful still and so profuse bloomers! The Barleria obtusa caught my eye and reminded me of my campanulas that are starting to flower again now, too, but I guess that the bush violets are much more climate appropriate.
    Your verbena bonariensis looks splendid. I am glad you scooped two plants up. Mine which are planted from last year are dreadful right now. The blooms are over and the whole plant appears very messy. Maybe I should have cut them back at a certain point earlier this year? I just don't have enough experience with this plant, yet. I would love to find one more and I should go searching in the local nurseries, maybe I get lucky.
    We have strong winds right now, which make me restless and uncomfortable, but maybe they bring some unexpected rain? Keeping my fingers crossed...
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Hopefully, the Verbena is happily self-seeding in your garden and you'll have plenty of happy plants after the winter rains, Christina. We got a trivial amount of rain last night but, where there's another front, there's always hope!

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  14. I have to admit, incredulity at your country's political shenanigans just increases by the day. And we have Brexit, which grows more depressing by the day. Thank goodness we have blooms to cheer us.

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    1. I can more clearly empathize with the emotional turmoil engendered by Brexit since our own election stepped into high gear, Jessica. I'd like to believe that civility will be resurrected after the election - there's none to be found now.

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  15. There is so much in your garden and I'm sure it is just starting to rev up with the cooler weather. As my garden goes to sleep... ;)

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    1. Yes, year-round gardening is possible here but you may be surprised that I sometimes envy gardeners in colder climates who get to rest a bit before plunging on with the next challenge.

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    2. It's true. In a way, I am looking forward to putting my feet up once the garden is put to bed. I just wish I didn't have to wait so long for it to wake up!

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