October in Retrospect

We had a very light frost in late September, which killed leaves on a few of the cucumber plants, and nothing else in my yard.

brown cucumber leaves, 27 Sept.
brown cucumber leaves, 27 Sept.

*

A few plants in bloom in the first week of October included asters, of course (which were in bloom all month) …

pink/purple asters, 4 Oct. 2016
pink/purple asters, 4 Oct. 2016
'Bluebird' asters, 4 Oct.
‘Bluebird’ asters, 4 Oct.
hoverfly on 'Bluebird' asters, 4 Oct.
hoverfly on ‘Bluebird’ asters, 4 Oct.
pink asters, sage, comfrey, 7 Oct.
pink asters, sage, comfrey, 7 Oct.
blue asters, fruit guild, 4 Oct.
blue asters, fruit guild, 4 Oct.

Persicaria ‘Painter’s Palette’ in the back border, with its stems of tiny red flowers:

Persicaria 'Painter's Palette' blooming, 4 Oct.
Persicaria ‘Painter’s Palette’ blooming, 4 Oct.

Zebra grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Little Zebra’) and comfrey in the sunroom border:

Zebra grass flowering, 4 Oct.
Zebra grass flowering, 4 Oct.
comfrey buds and blooms, 4 Oct.
comfrey buds and blooms, 4 Oct.

White snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’) and turtlehead (Chelone ) in the rock wall area:

snakeroot, rock wall, 4 Oct.
snakeroot, rock wall, 4 Oct.
chelone (turtlehead) blooms, rock wall, 4 Oct.
chelone (turtlehead) blooms, rock wall, 4 Oct.

Calendula (an annual) in the front garden:

yellow calendula with raindrops, 4 Oct.
yellow calendula with raindrops, 4 Oct.

And a white toadlily (Tricyrtis) and ‘Summer Pastel’ yarrow in the fruit guild:

white tricyrtis (toadlily), fruit guild, 4 Oct.
white tricyrtis (toadlily), fruit guild, 4 Oct.
'Summer Pastels' yarrow, 4 Oct.
‘Summer Pastels’ yarrow, 4 Oct.

*

During the first nine days of October, one or two very light frosts (lows around 40F) browned a few of the most sensitive plants’ leaves (hosta, sensitive fern) but left annuals and most perennials alone:

sensitive fern browning, 7 Oct.
sensitive fern browning, 7 Oct.
rhododendron, 'Loyalist' hosta, and leucothoe foliage, 7 Oct.
rhododendron, ‘Loyalist’ hosta, and leucothoe foliage, 7 Oct.

These perennials were holding their own, looking rather stylish:

phlox in the rock wall, 9 Oct.
phlox in the rock wall, 9 Oct.
pink perennial mum, 9 Oct.
pink perennial mum, 9 Oct.
'So Sweet' hosta foliage, 9 Oct. (you can see the annual Vermillionaire firecracker plant in the background looking good, too)
‘So Sweet’ hosta foliage, 9 Oct. (you can see the annual Vermillionaire firecracker plant in the background looking good, too)
'Olga Mezitt' rhododendron foliage, 9 Oct.
‘Olga Mezitt’ rhododendron foliage, 9 Oct.
clethra (summersweet) shrubs, 9 Oct.
clethra (summersweet) shrubs, 9 Oct.
fly on clethra (summersweet), 9 Oct.
fly on clethra (summersweet), 9 Oct.

*

That first week or so was the last time the nasturtiums, Mexican sunflowers, zinnias, and balsam camellias (from a butterfly mix) really looked good:

nasturtium, 9 Oct.
nasturtium, 9 Oct.
nasturtium, 9 Oct.
nasturtium, 9 Oct.
nasturtium, 9 Oct.
nasturtium, 9 Oct.
Mexican sunflower, 9 Oct.
Mexican sunflower, 9 Oct.
underside Mexican sunflower, 9 Oct.
underside Mexican sunflower, 9 Oct.
Mexican sunflower patch, 9 Oct.
Mexican sunflower patch, 9 Oct.
zinnia, 9 Oct.
zinnia, 9 Oct.
zinnia, 9 Oct.
zinnia, 9 Oct.
Balsam camellia from "butterfly mix" in veggie garden, 4 Oct.
Balsam camellia from “butterfly mix” in veggie garden, 4 Oct.

Even the oleander aphids on the milkweed made it into mid-October! They were late this year and I let them be.

oleander aphids on asclepias, 9 Oct. - first (and only) outbreak of the season
oleander aphids on asclepias, 9 Oct. – first (and only) outbreak of the season

*

Between the 10th and 19th, lows hit 30F on several nights, which took out some annuals —

zinnia frosted, 19th Oct.
zinnia frosted, 19th Oct.
wilted Mexican sunflower, 19 Oct.
wilted Mexican sunflower, 19 Oct.
crisped Vermillionaire (large firecracker plant, a Cuphea hybrid), 19 Oct. This plant lasts all season, May to Oct., but met its match with a 26F low.
crisped Vermillionaire (large firecracker plant, a Cuphea hybrid), 19 Oct. This plant lasts all season, May to Oct., but met its match with a 26F low.

— and some perennials —

Joe Pye weed after some frost, 19 Oct.
Joe Pye weed after some frost, 19 Oct.
'Bail Day' hydrangea after frost, birdbath, 19 Oct.
‘Bail Day’ hydrangea after frost, birdbath, 19 Oct.
'Loyalist' hosta after some frost, 19 Oct.
‘Loyalist’ hosta after some frost, 19 Oct.
shade garden after frost, with hostas wilting yellow and Rodgersia a crisp brown, 19 Oct.
shade garden after frost, with hostas wilting yellow and Rodgersia a crisp brown, 19 Oct.

— but most annuals were spared —

black-eyed Susan from "butterfly mix" and fennel, fruit guild, 19 Oct.
black-eyed Susan from “butterfly mix” and fennel, fruit guild, 19 Oct.
pink dianthus, fruit guild, 19 Oct.
pink dianthus, fruit guild, 19 Oct.
"butterfly mix" crimson clover, fruit guild, 19 Oct.
“butterfly mix” crimson clover, fruit guild, 19 Oct.
borage blossom, fruit guild, 19 Oct.
borage blossom, fruit guild, 19 Oct.
patch of Clear Day orange gazaniaz (annuals) after some frost, 19 Oct.
patch of Clear Day orange gazaniaz (annuals) after some frost, 19 Oct.
Calendula after some frost, 19 Oct.
Calendula after some frost, 19 Oct.

— even another Mexican sunflower in the same patch as the wilted one, above:

Mexican sunflower bloom after some frost, 19 Oct.
Mexican sunflower bloom after some frost, 19 Oct.

And arugula popped up in the veggie garden:

arugula volunteers, 19 Oct.
arugula volunteers, 19 Oct.

The ‘Purple Emperor’ echinacea given to us this year by a co-worker even re-bloomed:

'Purple Emperor' echinacea rebloom, 19 Oct.
‘Purple Emperor’ echinacea rebloom, 19 Oct.

As did the lance-leaf coreopsis (part of the butterfly seed mix), in the fruit guild, which was also blooming at the end of June this year:

'butterfly mix" lance-leaf coreopsis in fruit guild, 19 Oct.
‘butterfly mix” lance-leaf coreopsis in fruit guild, 19 Oct.

And a new weed, honeywort, planted itself in a few spots in the front garden; note the bumpy leaves:

new weed!: honeywort (cerinthe major)
new weed!: honeywort (cerinthe major)

Also in the front yard, the perennial white mum, and the ‘Rozanne’ geranium and ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum, were shining:

white perennial mums, 19 Oct.
white perennial mums, 19 Oct.
'Rozanne' geranium and 'Autumn Joy' sedum, 19 Oct.
‘Rozanne’ geranium and ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum, 19 Oct.

On the side yard, I liked the look of the spent bee balm and elderberry bushes:

bee balm and elderberry, 19 Oct.
bee balm and elderberry, 19 Oct.

Meanwhile, the blooms on this hydrangea along the back border went through white, cream, pink, brown stages; for the first time, I noticed that the undersides of the bloom heads stay pale even when the top sides are deep pink:

hydrangea bloom, 19 Oct.
hydrangea bloom, 19 Oct.

In the fruit guild, the purple sand cherry played well with the anise hyssop and the black-eyed Susans from the butterfly mix:

purple sand cherry, anise hyssop, black-eyed Susan, fruit guild, 19 Oct.
purple sand cherry, anise hyssop, black-eyed Susan, fruit guild, 19 Oct.

And one of the winterberries (‘Red Sprite,’ the female) got into the Christmas spirit a little early:

winterberry, fruit guild, 19 Oct.
winterberry, fruit guild, 19 Oct.

*

Time marches on, and from the 24th to the 27th, lows dipped to 29F, 27F, and 23F, which crisped or liquefied most of the perennials and most of the annuals (except the herbs: parsley, sage, and thyme).

one of several happy patches of parsley, 2 Nov.
one of several happy patches of parsley, 2 Nov.
sage, sunroom border, 4 Nov
sage, sunroom border, 4 Nov
thyme, front garden, 4 Nov.
thyme, front garden, 4 Nov.

This Clear Day orange gazania, and a few of its ilk, was frost-wilted but somehow still looks great on 2 November:

Clear Day Orange gazania, frosted but still lovely, on 2 November
Clear Day Orange gazania, frosted but still lovely, on 2 November

*

On the 25th, we had a few hours of snow and sleet, which didn’t stick to the ground.

snow! on anemone leaves, 25 Oct
snow! on anemone leaves, 25 Oct

And on November 1, we were down to 22F, our lowest so far this season.

Most of the garden is brownish now, much of it flopped over itself, some of it disappearing back into the earth already.

large (unk. species) hosta melting into the ground, shade garden, 4 Nov.
large (unk. species) hosta melting into the ground, shade garden, 4 Nov.
browned veronicastrum foliage, back border, 4 Nov.
browned veronicastrum foliage, back border, 4 Nov.
echinacea, looking like a negative of its former self, back border, 4 Nov.
echinacea, looking like a negative of its former self, back border, 4 Nov.

The asters are just about finished blooming but were still attracting bees and other pollinators late into October.

pink asters in side yard, 19 Oct.
pink asters in side yard, 19 Oct.
'Bluebird' aster and leucothoe foliage, 19 Oct.
‘Bluebird’ aster and leucothoe foliage, 19 Oct.
bee on 'Bluebird' aster, 19 Oct.
bee on ‘Bluebird’ aster, 19 Oct.

I can’t believe the snapdragons are still blooming, in early November!

snapdragon, 4 Nov
snapdragon, 4 Nov
snapdragon, 4 Nov
snapdragon, 4 Nov

And the ‘Summer Pastels’ yarrow:

purple 'Summer Pastels' yarrow, fruit guild, 4 Nov
purple ‘Summer Pastels’ yarrow, fruit guild, 4 Nov

*

As always, the insects, birds (both photos taken from inside), and other animals merit attention:

hickory tussock moth caterpillar, 2 Oct.
hickory tussock moth caterpillar, 2 Oct.
sawfly larvae on dwarf 'River King' birch, 4 Oct. ... I left them there because frost was coming for them anyway
sawfly larvae on dwarf ‘River King’ birch, 4 Oct. … I left them there because frost was coming for them anyway
ruffed grouse! 6 Oct.
ruffed grouse! 6 Oct.
redback salamander (Plethodon cinereus cinereus) under compost lid, 9 Oct.
redback salamander (Plethodon cinereus cinereus) under compost lid, 9 Oct.
(motion camera) daytime deer, 14 Oct
(motion camera) daytime deer, 14 Oct
moles!, 19 Oct.
moles!, 19 Oct.

(no, you can’t see the moles here — though we have found a couple of young ones dead in the yard, probably the work of roaming neighbourhood cats — but these mounds of dirt in the lawn are evidence of their existence underneath)

earthworm and oak leaf, 22 Oct
earthworm and oak leaf, 22 Oct
(motion camera) fox, 25 Oct
(motion camera) fox, 25 Oct

(This fox might have caught a mole, or a mouse; it seems to have something in its mouth.)

(motion camera) raccoon rear, 27 Oct
(motion camera) raccoon rear, 27 Oct
deer noticing camera, 30 Oct
deer noticing camera, 30 Oct

*

Finally, a few fall foliage pics to end the changeable month. Happy November!

In the front yard:

yellow amsonia foliage and 'Bluebird' asters in bloom, 9 Oct.
yellow amsonia foliage and ‘Bluebird’ asters in bloom, 9 Oct.
weeping 'Jade' crabapple (Norway maple behind), 22 Oct
weeping ‘Jade’ crabapple (Norway maple behind), 22 Oct
dwarf River King birch, 22 Oct
dwarf River King birch, 22 Oct
'Johnson's blue' geranium foliage, 4 Oct.
‘Johnson’s blue’ geranium foliage, 4 Oct.
flaming yellow iris foliage, 4 Nov
flaming yellow iris foliage, 4 Nov

We also have two euonymus bushes in the front yard, one on each side border, roughly; I know they’re invasive but they’re huge and they’d not going anywhere soon. I do remove seedlings that I (infrequently) find around the property. Autumn is their ‘burning bush’ moment to flame:

red euonymus bush, 22 Oct.
red euonymus bush, 22 Oct.
red euonymus leaves, 22 Oct
red euonymus leaves, 22 Oct
euonymus leaf and fruit, 22 Oct
euonymus leaf and fruit, 22 Oct

The tulip poplar tree and the euonymus make an ideal autumn pair, and below, you can see the difference a week (and a nice, misty morning) makes in the colour:

red euonymus and yellow tulip poplar, 7 Oct.
red euonymus and yellow tulip poplar, 7 Oct.
red euonymus and yellow tulip poplar, 13 Oct.
red euonymus and yellow tulip poplar, 13 Oct.
tulip poplar leaves, 9 Oct.
tulip poplar leaves, 9 Oct.

In the side yard, another invasive, the Norway maple, glows:

yellow Norway Maple, 22 Oct.
yellow Norway Maple, 22 Oct.
Norway maple shedding leaves, 19 Oct.
Norway maple shedding leaves, 19 Oct.

The fruit guild’s got it going on, too, with winsome yellow peach leaves scattered near and far (the black bushes are baptisia I haven’t cut back yet):

fruit guild, 19 Oct.
fruit guild, 19 Oct.
peach tree leaves, 22 Oct
peach tree leaves, 22 Oct
asclepias pod, 9 Oct.
asclepias pod, 9 Oct.

Nearby, the shed provides contrast for more fall foliage:

fall foliage by the shed, 12 Oct.
fall foliage by the shed, 12 Oct.

And the various penstemons (this one is ‘Dark Towers’) burn red this time of year:

red foliage of penstemon, 22 Oct
red foliage of penstemon, 22 Oct

A large aster leaf and some red oak leaves by the back door:

large aspen leaf and oak leafs, back yard, 4 Nov.
large aspen leaf and oak leafs, back yard, 4 Nov.

Grasses in fall and winter are necessary:

Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracilimus'grass, 4 Nov.
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracilimus’grass, 4 Nov.

Even the Virginia creeper, which I pull out a few times each season, was welcome along the rock wall:

Virginia creeper, rock wall, 4 Oct.
Virginia creeper, rock wall, 4 Oct.

*

And the asters bloom on …

'Bluebird' asters, front yard, 4 Nov.
‘Bluebird’ asters, front yard, 4 Nov.

5 Comments on “October in Retrospect

  1. I’ve really enjoyed your tour of autumnal colour throughout the garden.

    I’m amazed that the calendula leaves were still green and lush. My calendula plants turned brown very early (in the summer), though the ones I’ve kept in the ground are still blooming. And new plants are growing from the flower heads I pruned off. I wonder how long they will last!

    • I haven’t grown calendula in about 20 years so I wasn’t sure what to expect with them. I’m also surprised by how hardy they seem! Will plan to plant some again next year. Interesting that yours have continued blooming on brown plants.

      • I’m not too keen on the smell to be honest but I’m happy for them to self-seed until I either find a way to use them or find an alternative I like better.

      • I haven’t noticed the smell. I wonder if they are the same plant here in the U.S. and there in the U.K.

      • They could be different as I know there are many types of calendula. Certainly, a calendula oil I bought smells nothing like the plants in my garden.

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