Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Look Back at October

The month of carnival of all the year,
When Nature lets the wild earth go its way
And spend whole seasons on a single day.

~Helen Fiske Hunt Jackson, "October"


October is an unexpected and unpredictable month to me.  The cold, frosty nights are expected -  though not necessarily the good several degrees below freezing that the temperatures always seem to dip.  Like usual, we play the October Games, where we try to see if we can get through the month without turning on the heaters.  (We finally lost when outside temps hit 26°F/-3°C.)  And, like usual, we know that first frost is coming but are still somehow always startled when it does happen.


However it is not the cold snaps but the pleasantly warm days in between that really throws me off.  After such low temperatures, I never expect to be able to work out in the garden in shorts and short sleeves or to see the bumblebees out and foraging just shortly thereafter.  But those unexpected warm spells are appreciated.

bee on 'Miss Molly' Butterfly bush
In October, the veggie garden winds down.  With the bad drought we've had, it's been an underwhelming season.  I harvest the last of the green beans and pick the baby turnips, and the greenhouse gives me the ending tomatoes and (finally ripe!) spicy hot peppers.  The veggie garden beds are prepared for next spring, and garlic is planted - hopefully to do better this next year.  But the main event that I look forward to every October happens right outside the veggie garden: the blooming of my Willowleaf Sunflower.


I was rather worried that, like many other plants this year, it wouldn't do as well due to the drought.  However, this is one tough prairie plant, and this year it was bigger and better than ever.   No other plant in my garden gives quite this riotous level of October blooms.


In the flower beds, the striking Beautyberry also makes its presence known as other plants fade.  It's hard to not love a shrub with such an unusual color of berries!

Beautyberry
I normally also look forward to the blooming of the Montauk daisies, but this year my plants were nibbled down to nubs by either the deer, Peter Cottontail, or naughty Norman the groundhog.   Thankfully they left the Asters and the lovely 'Sheffield' Mums.

'Sheffield' Mums
Many of the annuals and other flowers start dying off in October, so I always appreciate the few that soldier on through the cold.

'The Fairy' Rose
I can hardly believe it is already November.  It's time to put the garden to bed and time to get all those bulbs that carry the promise of spring into the ground.

frosted Sedum blooms

Winter is coming...

22 comments:

  1. Oh, I'm making a note of the Willowleaf Sunflower. I have a few hardy plants blooming in October, but nothing like that! If this year is like the others, we should be getting our first snow in the next few weeks. I'm not ready for it, but my kids sure are!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It makes such a pretty showing every year! This fall has been so crazy busy, that I think I am almost ready for snow to come just so things might slow down!

      Delete
  2. that is a lovely rioting fountain of yellow flowers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I look forward to it every year.

      Delete
  3. Wow, that patch of Sunflowers is incredible! I didn't realize they'd bloom even after frost. Wow! We haven't had frost yet--and we may break some records if we can make it to Nov. 15 without a hard freeze. But, you're right: Winter is coming. I just don't see any evidence of it yet, and I'm OK with that. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The flowers start blooming beginning of October before frost, and they make it through light frosts. By now, they are now looking rather sad though!

      Delete
  4. It's hard to imagine frost right now since we are still in the 80's in November. It is crazy! I am ready for boots and scarf weather. This summer has gone on long enough. I'm sorry to read that y'all are suffering with drought too. It has been horrific here with 23 weeks of drought conditions and is expected to continue. Your sunflowers and mums look happy despite the weather.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, no, that is too bad you are in a drought, too, especially with such hot weather down there. Our slightly cooler climate helps so that the plants don't fry quite so quickly. I hope you get some rain and slightly cooler weather soon!

      Delete
  5. Those sunflowers are stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hopefully Naughty Norman has taken to his burrow now..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, I haven't seen him lately. He's either causing mischief somewhere else, or out making more little mischief makers somewhere...

      Delete
  7. Your willow leaf sunflower is incredible; What a glorious flower for fall! It looks very pretty against the red fencing. While your fall is winding down, ours is just beginning. It seems that summer lasted an extra 2 months. Hopefully cooler temps will bring us much needed rain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know fall is such a relief from the hot summer there! Hoping you are enjoying cooler temps there now!

      Delete
  8. Yes, winter is coming and it's a race to see how much I can get cleaned up before it's too cold to be out. I do not like extremes in weather. I've gotten half of my vinyl siding washed, half of the greenhouse cleaned out, etc. I've also cut back some bushes even though I know this is not the time of year to do it but some of them can't be covered with a sheet if I don't. Still warm here during the day but getting cold at night.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You still sound ahead of me! I feel way behind this year with our cleanup chores!

      Delete
  9. Willowleaf sunflower; a new plant for me to search for. Love the color! I can't believe we're already one week into November; where did the time go? Putting the garden to bed is a big chore, rest assured we're doing the same thing around here. Lovely post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really makes a great statement in the fall garden! I have no idea where time went, either!

      Delete
  10. The willowleaf sunflower is gorgeous! We still haven't had a frost here--I have zinnias and cosmos still blooming. I may still be cleaning up the garden on Christmas:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How nice to still have some things blooming though! I know it's been record high temperatures in a lot of places.

      Delete
  11. Love the Willowleaf Sunflower and the Beautyberry. Your October was a lot colder than ours - I don't think it got under 40 degrees here and we STILL haven't had a frost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been so warm in a lot of places! Our weather has finally seemed to settle into it's more normal chilliness. I really need to get out there and finish the garden cleanup!

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...