Thursday, 3 October 2013

Fall colour

It's only the beginning of October, but we've had such wet, cool weather for the last week that it feels like much later in the fall, even though the deciduous trees have only just started to change colour.

A few stalwart plants are continuing to bloom in spite of being soaked. Several stems of Aster 'Little Carlow' ( which isn't little) have snapped and the whole plant is leaning precariously on the adjoining Hydrangea quercifolia 'Sikes Dwarf' (which isn't very dwarf.)However, the combination still manages to look good.

I'd like some more asters, but will be careful to select shorter varieties. Even though I shortened the stems of 'Little Carlow' twice during the summer, it still got too leggy. It's a fabulous colour, though, so worth the trouble of staking.

In the background, Persicaria 'Fire Dance' is still blooming, as it has for weeks now. Interspersed among its blooms are the seedheads of Phlomis russeliana, too dark to see in the photo above.

Actaea 'Brunette' has finished flowering, but it also has attractive drooping caramel-brown seedheads with an added bonus this year of foliage that has unexpectedly gone from dark brown to a rosy pink. Note to self: don't rush to cut it back at summer's end.

There are still a few slightly bedraggled flowers on Rosa 'Darlow's Enigma',

while Clematis rehderiana has leapt from the fence into the pear tree, producing a whole new flush of flowers in both locations. The red hips are on Rosa 'Lykkefund'. I planted these two together, hoping for just this effect.

Unfortunately the cool weather has greatly reduced C. rehderiana's usual heady perfume, but the little bells with their turned-up edges are delightful anyway.

Another great combination, not planned, is that of Penstemon 'Garnet' draping a few remaining flowers over an ornamental clover. I bought the clover for its crimson flowers, never suspecting it would have such dramatic fall foliage.

In the front garden, Nandina 'Plum Passion', one of this year's purchases, is demonstrating why it is so named. I'm hoping it will become more bushy as it settles in.

A late planting of sunflowers in the vegetable garden is fighting against time to open some flowers before the first killing frost.

The flower hanging head downward, whose stalk got pushed over early in its life, was first to bloom, probably thanks to heat reflected from the paving below. I squatted under it to get a close-up.

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