Friday, October 15, 2021

Bloom Day - October 2021

I can't believe it's already mid-October!  Although we've had some stretches of cooler temperatures, it still feels a lot like summer much of the time.  In fact, we're expecting high temperatures Friday and Saturday, accompanied by our nasty Santa Ana winds.  High winds have already fanned the Alisal Fire in Santa Barbara County, Southern California's largest wildfire this year, which as of Thursday had consumed 16,800 acres and was only five percent contained.  Evacuations have been ordered; power shutoff warnings have been issued across a wide area; and the 101 freeway, a major state artery, was closed for a time.  A friend and I were in Santa Barbara County on Saturday, just two days before the fire broke out, a disturbing reminder of how fast circumstances can change.

But let's move on to the more pleasant subject of what's in blooming in my garden 120 miles to the south.  After an exceptionally slow start this year, dahlias are once again playing the starring roles in my garden.  Whether any of them will hang around into November is a question as the mildew that afflicted most of my zinnias is gradually taking hold of the dahlias as well.  With only two exceptions, all my dahlias occupy raised planters in my cutting garden, which gets much more water than the rest of my garden.

Clockwise from the upper left: Dahlias 'Gitt's Crazy', 'Kogane Fubuki', 'Summer's End', and 'Mystic Illusion'.  'Gitt's Crazy' wins the prize this year as the most floriferous dahlia.

From left to right are: Dahlias 'Break Out', a deformed 'Cafe au Lait', and 'Magic Moment''Break Out' was purchased as a tuber during a last-chance sale, planted on June 10th, and is only now gaining steam (as its foliage mildews).  I purchased 'Cafe au Lait' as a full-grown plant in July and I think it was infected by an insect as all its blooms thus far have been deformed. 

Clockwise from the upper left: Dahlias 'Akita', 'Enchantress', 'Cafe au Lait Royal', a noID plant sold as 'Penhill Dark Monarch', and 'Waltzing Mathilda''Akita' is my favorite this year.  'Enchantress' runs as close second to 'Gitt's Crazy' in terms of the volume of blooms.

I've pulled out most of the larger-flowered zinnias due to mildew but the ground-hugging plants in the 'Profusion' series I planted as plugs haven't been touched by it thus far.

My only complaint with Zinnia 'Profusion' is that the stems are relatively short and thus don't make the best cut flowers

The other stars of my fall garden include the following:

The flowers of Bauhinia x blakeana (aka Hong Kong orchid tree) take a beating when the winds are up but the tree rebounds quickly

This Eriocapitella hupehensis (aka Japanese anemone) is having its best year ever, possibly because it's benefited from the extra water given to the new Ginkgo tree nearby.  In contrast, the pink Japanese anemones in the front garden have produced only a single flower.

Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum' is at its best when it catches the sun's light

I cut this Senna bicapsularis back hard earlier this year in an effort to lower its floral canopy but it's taller than ever this year.  I had to use a telephoto lens to get any decent photos.

Of course, my old standbys continue to provide color.

Grevilleas 'Superb' (left and upper right) and 'Peaches & Cream' (lower right) never stop blooming

Leucadendrons 'Safari Sunset' and 'Blush' (left) and 'Summer Red' (right) aren't true flowers but they do a good job of mimicking them

The Osteospermums, one of many genera commonly referred to as "African daisies', were coming back in response to our cooler nighttime temperatures but, as most were lanky, I gave them severe haircuts in the hope they'll return with greater vigor in the coming months.  Meanwhile, I've added more of the flowering plants well-suited to the cooler temperatures of fall.

I've grown Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun' for years but I recently picked up this new "spin" on the common blanketflower.  This is Gaillardia 'Spin Top Copper Sun'.

I also picked up several 4-inch pots of Gazania 'White Flame' to fill out among an area planted with smaller seedlings, divisions and plugs of the same variety

The biggest surprise this month was what I think is the first bloom on a small Phalaenopsis I've had for a few years now.

I think I got this moth orchid without a label during an sale at my local botanic garden.  My guess is that it's Phalaenopsis 'Balden's Kaleidoscope'.

 
There's not much else to crow about this month, although I know I'm lucky to have the amount of blooms I do this late in the year.  I'll close out this post with collages of other blooms tucked here and there in my garden.

Top row: Duranta repens 'Gold Mound', Fuchsia 'Deep Purple', and Lavandula multifida
Middle row: Lycianthes rantonnetii 'Variegata', Polygala fruticosa, and Salvia 'Black & Blue'
Bottom row: Salvia 'Mystic Spires', noID Scaevola, and Vitex trifolia 'Purpurea'

Clockwise from the upper left: Abelia 'Kaleidoscope', Angelonia 'Archangel White', Correa 'Ivory Bells', Cosmos bipinnatus, Pandorea jasminoides, Zephyranthes candida, and Lantana 'Lucky White'

Clockwise from the upper left: Alstroemeria 'Inca Sundance', Euryops chrysanthemoides 'Sonnenschein', Zinnia 'Benary's Giant Salmon Rose', Echibeckia 'Summerina Orange', Cuphea 'Vermillionaire', and Xerochrysum bracteatum

Top row: Arbutus 'Marina', Correa 'Wyn's Wonder', and Rosa 'Pink Meidiland'
Middle row: Cuphea 'Starfire Pink', Pentas lanceolata, and Scabiosa columbaria 'Flutter Rose Pink'
Bottom row: Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy' and Zinnia 'Benary Giant Wine'

For more Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts, visit our host, Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


34 comments:

  1. Even without the Dahlias in the cutting garden, you have so many blooms...
    Gazania 'White Flame' is delightful: reminds me of an old fashioned circus tent. Gazania blooms in my garden are sadly nothing more than rabbit buffet.
    Do you see hummingbirds around your Correa and Cuphea shrubs?

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    1. The hummingbirds love the Cupheas and the Grevilleas. I've even seen them feeding from the Arbutus 'Marina' flowers; however, I've never actually noticed them around the Correas. It may be that the nearby Grevilleas are just a bigger draw. The rabbits have eaten the Gazanias here at times but they must be focused on something else now. While they're not gone, their numbers have definitely decreased since spring too.

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  2. So much color. So much beauty. I'm very envious of all those dahlias and zinnias. Happy Bloom Day.

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    1. Thanks Dorothy. I always miss the dahlias and zinnias when they're gone. My guess is, at best, I'll have dahlias for only a few more weeks.

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  3. Still so nice to see things blooming. It's been such a terrible year for fire. Wonder there's anything left to burn. We have already had a bit of snow but my little greenhouse is full of nicely blooming plants while asters, garden mums and tall sedums are still gamely blooming away.

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    1. Northern California has had a tougher time with wildfires than we have in SoCal this year, at least thus far. We're entering the peak season for the dry Santa Ana winds so that could change but my fingers are crossed that they get the Alisal Fire quickly under control and that's it for us. The fire is 11% controlled at present.

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  4. So much beautiful color - and different forms. Spectacular! It is wonderful to have such gardens in the world.

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    1. Color makes me happy and I'm always looking for opportunities to add more. Luckily, we never freeze and it's possible to garden here year-round.

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  5. California has had such a terrible year and I wish we could send some of the overabundance of rain we've had where I live in New York State right over the fires. Your flowers: I almost didn't make my way out of your dahlias; it was so enchanting seeing the various types you have. What a selection of everything you have!

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    1. California may have earthquakes, wildfires and severe drought but much of the state, including my own area, has the opportunity to garden year-round. How the ongoing drought may reframe gardening here is yet to be determined. More of my garden shift to succulents with each passing year.

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  6. Kris-- wow! So much still blooming! Ans hoorah for Kogana Fubuki finally blooming! :) They are beautiful.

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    1. I was thrilled to finally get blooms from Dahlia 'Kogane Fubuki', Angie! Only 'Iceberg' has yet to produce its first blooms but there are big, fat buds on the plant - they're just taking their time to open.

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  7. I'm always so grateful that you grow dahlias so I don't have to. I was never in on the dahlia craze but yours and those that others grow have changed my attitude. I'm just not the kind of gardener who will do all the work involved with them.

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    1. If you dig up the dahlias and store them over the winter months as I do (not because my climate requires it but because I want to use the space they occupy for cool-season floral "crops"), they DO require considerable effort. However, I know a lot of people leave the tubers in place and don't hassle much with fertilizing - some may rot away each year but they just plant new tubers.

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    2. Thanks! I'll keep that in mind and maybe one day in the future...

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  8. That stretch of 101 frm when you emerge back on to the coast driving south from SLO to Goleta is one of my favorite stretches of highway to drive. I have tentative plans for a SB trip next spring, I hope the rains will help to heal this underrated stretch of coast. But on to your flowers ! Your Dahlias sure turned out nice..I had failure upon failure this year. Making plans for next year though. If only the leaf miners would go away.

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    1. My dahlias were very late to get going but I'm generally pleased with their output (although I'm still waiting for 'Iceberg' to unfurl its first blooms). Leaf miners are a problem here too but this year, I sprayed the plants with Neem oil very early after germination (and well before buds and flowers appeared), which seemed to do the trick, hopefully without substantial impact on any beneficial insects.

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  9. I always look forward to visit your GBBD post to please my eyes and senses. Loved the shade of Gazanias.

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  10. As I'm sure you already know, I absolutely adore all of those dahlias!

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    1. Dahlias are hard to dislike, Nikki ;) Although their foliage isn't lovely, particularly late in the season...

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  11. Kris-your garden is always beautiful and such a pleasure to visit. Your Dahlia collection is absolutely magnificent, as well as your other blooms. Your Gaillardia 'Spin Top Copper Sun' is also fantastic! I hope it does well for you.

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    1. My fingers are crossed that Gaillardia 'Copper Sun' does as well as the somewhat plainer 'Arizona Sun', Lee.

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  12. So many beautiful flowers! Spotting your Correa 'Ivory Bells' has me wondering if my plant is still alive out there. It was just a tiny thing that's probably been taken over by it's neighbors...

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    1. In my experience, Correa 'Ivory Bells' takes awhile (i.e. years) to get well-established, Loree. Yours may well be out there taking its sweet time doing just that.

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  13. Awesome dahlias, and all the rest as well. Happy GBBD!

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    1. Thanks HB. Many of my flowers are waning but, once we're done with these periodic heatwaves, I'm looking forward to a rebound!

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  14. It was startling to see that 101 had been closed down because of the Alisal Fire. Glad to see they are getting greater containment on it now.
    I always love to see your Orchid Tree come into bloom, and your dahlias are definitely an inspiration. :) I do wish Grevilleas were offered here. I can't recall ever seeing them for sale, which is a pity as I would love to give them a try, and I'm really not sure why no carries them.
    Also your Gazania makes me wish I could sneak some past the rabbits, of which we have a resident population.
    That Gaillardia is fascinating too!

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    1. The Ailsal fire is now considered 50% contained, which is good, and the Santa Ana winds have died down, which is even better. I hope you find plants you love as you expand your garden.

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  15. Gorgeous, gorgeous! I wish I had a good garden for Dahlias, but I just don't because of all the shade. I'll have to enjoy yours virtually. :)

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    1. Unfortunately, dahlias really do want sun, Beth.

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  16. I'm amazed at all the beautiful blooms you have in October. Must be a real joy to just sit and enjoy them.

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    1. I suppose it would be, Yvonne, except I almost never take the time to just sit and enjoy the garden, especially at this time of year, which is traditionally our peak planting season ;)

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