October has been a blur of routine, distraction, contingency and a couple of rare travel opportunities -- all at a time when it would have been nice to be gardening! It will be another week or two before we plant bulbs or get to any of the many other necessary chores that are waiting for us. But the garden continues to grow even during these times of neglect, and I wanted to show you a few of the developments.
Have you been moving your houseplants inside? I like to leave mine on the (unheated, enclosed) porch for a few days to ease their transition to the drier, warmer air inside, and so I can inspect them for bugs and worms.
Currently in the holding area is Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata). This plant sets buds not long after the autumnal equinox, or toward the end of September. I've been inspecting mine regularly for buds; you have to get your nose right up to the tips of the terminal segments. Finally, I found this one just forming. There are a few more but I hope to see lots in the next few days.
Friendship plant (Pilea involucrata) is blooming. The plant is covered with these tiny dark pink flowers which, like the Thanksgiving cactus, you have to get up close to appreciate.
Dogwood's silvery, onion-shaped buds rise like tiny minarets above the dropping red leaves. These leaves will be deep maroon red before they fall.
Native oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) never fails to delight this gardener or any garden visitors. It is beautiful all year long, from the first tiny green sprouts of spring, to the lush snowy panicles of summer, to the deep reds and oranges of fall,and finally the crispy brown florets and peeling bark of winter. 'Semmes Beauty' is coloring earlier than the others, which at this point are all still bright green.
What is wrong with this picture? Well, I'm sure we could make a list. But, I'm cringing about the garlic chives with their floppy heads dropping minute black time bombs all over the flower bed. I should have done what I told you all to do and cut them off already! I like the colors of the sedum and wood aster, though, and the black-eyed Susans are still making the birds (and me) happy, too.
Mahonia eubracteata 'Soft Caress' is blooming! I didn't expect flowers until January. I don't know if this early bloom is typical for this Mahonia; we just added these shrubs this spring.
Finally, I planted the stockpile of colorful I showed you in September. Two containers are on the front stoop on either side of the door (I kind of have a thing for symmetry, or at least balance); another is at the foot of the steps at the side entrance to the house. Several plants went in the ground with the other perennials as well.
I think they make a nice fall greeting for family and neighbors alike. I feel cheered, too, everytime I walk by them.
Has October been a blur for you, too? What's going on in your garden? Have you found a good plant sale where you are?