Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

GBBD: October 2013

 Welcome to my Central Basin woodland garden and the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day fall show.

The garden has begun its transition from the golden hues of the Susans and the Goldenrods to the the soft purple mist of violets and blues of the ex-asters. They aren't the only flowers in bloom, but, they are the big fall show and dearly loved by the many garden residents and visitors who visit for pollen, nectar and seeds.
The centers turn red centers when the flower is pollinated
Symphyotrichum shortii(N) is by far the most abundant ex-aster in the garden. They were one of the first wildflowers to introduce themselves to me almost 30 years ago when we moved into this wooded neighborhood and I've loved them ever since. I let them stand all winter and set seed every where. I think they are stunning massed, but, for a less exuberant look pair them with grasses and bold leaved plants.
Don't tell the other seasons, but, Autumn is my favorite and October is my favorite month! The sky is a seamless blue, the days are cooler and the light is fantastic. (See post October Blue Skies)
Aster tataricus
It's a busy time in the garden, even busier than spring. Wildflowers welcome the foraging bees, the nectaring butterflies, a host of other pollinators and birds as they make a mad dash to mate, to provide for offspring or to prepare themselves for migration. (see Pardon My Big Aster for more on Aster tataricus)

It's one of the best times to photograph the critters, they're slower and pose sweetly on the flowers. I like to think they're savoring the last of the pollen and nectar.
Gaura lindheimeri 'Crimson Butterflies'
Many of the plants that stopped blooming in the summer make a repeat visit in October. I welcome back the pink butterfly blooms of Gaura lindheimeri. It sulked all summer, but is putting on a vary nice show right now.
Some wildflowers only bloom in the fall and Eupatorium serotinum(N) is one of them. It's a magnet for pollinators and colonizes wonderfully to fill in large areas with its white Asteraceae blooms.
Salvia leucantha
 Salvia leucantha is a very late bloomer. It opens up when one needs its pop of violet and white flowers, just in time for the last of the nectar robbing carpenter bees to forage on it.
Luscious, velvety Salvia azurea(N) is a counterpoint to the yellows and golds of early Autumn. Collect seed and sow in the garden for a large stand.
Floppy Golden Aster (N) brings a much needed spot of golden yellow back to the garden when the Susans fade.
The Sulphur butterflies rejoice when Salvia elegans begins to bloom. They've been circling the garden for weeks, waiting to make a big yellow statement against the intense red flowers. The hummers are thrilled, too. If truth be told, so am I.

Although, this is a native plant garden, I do plant annuals like the Salvias mentioned earlier, delicious red Pentas (above) multi-colored lantanas, a few violas, cupheas, Purple hyacinth vine and,
Bumble resting on the rusty sunflower while nectaring on the Verbena bonariensis
Verbena bonariensis for their long bloom, their lovely flowers and to feed the pollinators. The sight and sounds of busy bees, butterflies and other critters makes me happy.
Before long the humming and buzzing will be gone, until then I will appreciate each and every flower that feeds the critters and fills my heart with joy.

xoxogail

It's October 15 and you know what that means! Garden bloggers all over the blogosphere are celebrating Bloom Day. You can see more gardens then you can imagine in one day if you stop by Carol's blog, May Dreams Gardens to take the Mr linky magic carpet ride to flower adventure.

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

28 comments:

  1. What a box of eye candy your garden is, dear Gail! The colors are gorgeous and those asters, they will always be asters to me, add depth and drama, especially when hosting such sweet pollinators.
    xoxoxo
    Frances

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  2. Beautiful blooms, and great photos of the critters, too!
    There is something really special about the Autumn sunlight.
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
    Lea

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  3. My favorite month too. The weather is nicer, and the plants grow to their fullest. It's fun to see an expression of all of our hard work too. Love the asters and the pollinators.~~Dee

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  4. Great photos & beautiful flowers...Happy Gbbd!

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  5. Short's Aster is a favorite of mine also. Lots of blooms and so easy to grow. I find it has a shrubby habit and doesn't need staking, but I do cut it back to keep it more compact.

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  6. Beautiful pictures. Like your pollinators, I am also savoring the final flowers of fall. In upstate NY, most of our wildflowers right now are asters. Soon all will be sleeping under a blanket of snow.

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  7. Your wildflower garden looks so much better than mine this time of year. Beautiful. Happy GBBD.

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  8. I do love the asters, ex- and otherwise. Happy GBBD!

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  9. I know what you mean about the color change in the landscape. I had to teach a class today on fall gardening and gathered a bunch of clippings for show and tell. As the bucket filled I noticed it was mostly purples, pinks and blues. I had to make a real effort to find some yellow and orange blooms, traditional fall colors, to add.

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  10. Such lovely colors. The purples are awesome! Those pollinators are most busy there!

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  11. Lovely photos, Gail! I didn't realize the leucantha had such fuzzy blooms... I'm just a tad too north to bother growing it here. By the way, this is the 2nd year of no-blooms on my eleagans. So I'm especially happy to see yours!

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  12. I LOVE LOVE your garden for wildlife and your beautiful pictures. It's also so fun to see the plants that we can grow here, too. It would be beyond super if you want to share one of your fabulous pictures on CTG and how you're extending the wildlife community across the nation. If so, just email me!

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  13. Gail, scrolling through your post I kept saying, yes, yes, yes! Your wide selection of fall color is so wonderful. The pollinators must be having the biggest fall party in your garden!

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  14. Ahhhhhh, violet is such a relaxing color. Your bees are perching prettily today. The must love October as much as you do.

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  15. Love, love, love ;) I have really been learning to appreciate the fall garden this year more than ever...each yr. adding natives has helped so much with year-round interest and fall no longer seems 'depressing' to me, as it used to. Your photos show how lively and perky the fall garden can be ;)

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  16. I agree whole-heartedly...Autumn is the best...and October the pinnacle for the gardening year. I love the fullness, the abundance...and yet, the sort of calmness that you only get in Autumn.

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  17. What you call Symphyotrichum shortii looks like Calico aster to me. I don't pretend to be able to tell them all apart.

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    1. Hey Kathy, They are hard to tell, I have Calico asters, Blue-wood asters, Short's Aster, Heath's aster, Smooth aster, etc...I love them all. gail

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  18. What a delight to see all the bees and butterflies feasting in your garden, Gail! They must think they've arrived at a 5-star restaurant. I wasn't familiar with Salvia Leucantha until I saw it this week in our nursing home garden--such a gorgeous late-bloomer! It's not hardy here, unfortunately, but it's well worth planting anyway.

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  19. I love that first picture, with the aster matching the chair! And the beautiful shot of the carpenter bee on the red penta.

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  20. Oh! Your photos are wonderful - and the pollinators are out there photo-bombing away! :-) Truly beautiful rendition of Fall.

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  21. How do you keep the bunnies from eating the asters?

    Beautiful fall garden at your place.

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    Replies
    1. Oh those bad bunnies....sounds like they are eating your ex-asters. They ate two new asters when I planted them earlier this summer, but, those were the only ones....I think the coyotes and neighbor's cat have chased most of them away.

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  22. Like the term ex-aster but does remind me of my ex-wife. Don't want a buzz kill like that, do we? Love the image with the salvia blossoms. Nice to be back. It's been a while.

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  23. We've had four or five frosts now, and the pollinators have gone. I still see a few random insects out there, but I miss those big ol' bumbles right out my back door on the butterfly bush. Guess I'll rest now and plan for next year's garden. But it will be hard to beat this year's.

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  24. What a lovely property you have. I sure enjoy all the photos of the pollinators!

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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