Monday, October 30, 2017

Still Open for Business

While today's big storm is bringing about cooler temperatures (just in time for some frigid trick-or-treating, of course!), for most of October it has been warm and beautiful here.  We have yet to get our first frost.

the front garden, a couple weeks ago
Due to the lack of frost, many pollinators are still out and about.  This late in the season, they will take any sources of food they can get - and, of course, the Red House Garden is still open for business.

Hello?  Any food in here?
My favorite perennial available for pollinators in October is my Willowleaf Sunflower, which gets bigger and better every year.  The blooms are sadly now over, but for much of October it was bee-utiful.

Willowleaf Sunflower
Bees go crazy for native Asters, and I am so glad that the groundhogs and bunnies finally let mine get taller than nubs this year.  Some are still in bloom in the garden.

bee on Aster laevis 'Bluebird'
The Montauk Daisies are also still blooming, though looking a little more ragged by now.

Montauk Daisies
The plant that impressed me most this year, however, was the Sheffield Mums.

Sheffield Mums in the greenhouse garden
Every time a big rainstorm comes, they look like they are out for the count, but they just pop right back up again.  Pollinators love them, and the only wildlife that bothers them is the occasional Cucumber Beetle.

"I get knocked down, but I get up again.  You are never gonna keep me down..."
Along with the late-blooming perennials, my annuals are indispensable to the fall buffet. Self-seeding Cosmos, Nicotiana, and Sweet Alyssum pop up every year in my garden and keep going until frost (or even through light ones, as in the case of the Sweet Alyssum.)

Cosmos 'Picotee'
I might actually have to buy more Cosmos seed for next year, as I didn't get as many this year.  The Verbena bonariensis, on the other hand, outdid itself, coming up everywhere and attracting hordes of butterflies to the garden.

Painted Lady butterfly on Verbena bonariensis
Like many other people around the country, I saw an explosion of Painted Ladies in the garden this year.  It was such a good year for these butterflies that a huge mass of migrating Painted Lady butterflies stretching 100 miles wide over Denver, Colorado, was recently caught on radar!  The befuddled meteorologists had to turn to social media for help to figure out what was going on.

Painted Lady butterfly on Verbena bonariensis
I've also been ecstatic to see so many Monarchs in the garden this year, after years of such dangerously low populations.  Unusually warm temperatures coupled with strong headwinds have resulted in the latest migration ever recorded, and I spotted Monarchs in my garden just a couple days ago.  I do hope they can fly down south in time to hibernate before the cold weather hits!

Monarch butterfly on Verbena bonariensis
The weather is turning colder, and I am sure it will be freezing before we know it.  Until then, we stay open for dining, and all bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are welcome!  Happy gardening as always,


and, for the little guys, bon appétit!

19 comments:

  1. So much fall goodness in your garden! I love all the blooms and of course the variety of pollinators. Your front garden looks spectacular. Adore the plant combos you established there. Enjoy the fall and hopefully the frost will stay away for a little while longer.

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    1. Thanks! So far still no frost, though the garden looks a little more tattered after our storms.

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  2. Gorgeous, gorgeous. We had our first frost, but I still have a few lovelies still blooming in some microclimates. The Willowleaf Sunflower...sigh. Gosh, I love it. Your garden is still in great shape. :)

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    1. The Willowleaf Sunflower is such a big, cheery plant for October. The garden does look a little more tattered after our big storms, but still no frost!

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  3. If I were a pollinator, I'd definitely stop by your gorgeous buffet! It's so sweet to see flowers hanging on in the face of impending winter. Happy autumn & here's hoping that those icy fingers stay away from your garden for a little longer.

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    1. I'm hoping too! The plants that are still blooming are just covered with pollinators still busy at work!

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  4. Wow! Wonderful photographs! I love all the pollinators in your garden. It looks like summer is there to stay and winter is still far away.

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    1. Thanks, Denise! The temperatures are dropping, and it's been in the 30's at night sometimes. The neighbor a couple houses down has been getting frost, but luckily not us yet!

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  5. What a beautiful fall! I love all of the pollinators. Hope you get to enjoy them a little longer.

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    1. I love fall with all the colorful leaves! I'm hoping they will hold off on dropping just a little longer!

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  6. What a lovely late season buffet - the bees must be very pleased!

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  7. Wonderful that you have so many butterflies - let's hope next year's Monarch numbers reflect the strength of this fall's migration. I love that Willowleaf Sunflower!

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    1. I'm really hoping the Monarch numbers will be super high this year - and also hoping they won't be hit by any late winter storms like last year!

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  8. Ha! We had frost in Tennessee before you did. Who would have thought!? :)

    Still, lots of flowers blooming nonetheless - blue mistflower, roses, blanketflowers and - the apparent pollinator favorite at the moment - Camellia sasanqua!

    Love your pics. I tried growing willowleaf sunflower once, but the deer had other plans. I've seen what I think is a willowleaf sunflower growing by the road nearby though and it's been a gorgeous, cheery site for the last month or so!

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  9. Such beautiful flowers you still have in your gardens! I'm glad you are still enjoying a lovely autumn -- that was an interesting story about the butterfly cloud too. Thanks for sharing, and hope there are more warm days ahead before winter in your gardens! Best, -Beth

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  10. Fall is such wonderful time for pollinators. I am always so happy to see bees and butterflies enjoying a garden.

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  11. Your photos are lovely, especially the ones with bees and butterflies! No frost here yet, either. That is fine with me. My perfect weather scenario would be fall temps till mid December, then frosty cold temps and maybe one lovely snowfall during the rest of December and January. Then a warm-up for spring! (What we actually get may be very different!) Great news about the monarchs and painted ladies!

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  12. We have had some snow on the inland mountains. My Facebook is scattered with Look SNOW pictures.

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