The days are shorter and noticeably cooler over the past weeks. Soon, I’ll depart for work and arrive home in the dark. I’ll miss the evening stroll through the garden (I suppose I can still stroll, but I it will be too dark to see).
Overnight temperatures in the forties tell me that I’d better keep an eye open for frost, certain that it can come to the mid-Atlantic anyday. With a few hours notice I can haul the tubs of tropicals indoors, for a day or two initially, but then most are banished to the basement until Spring. Transplanting into pots the bananas, cannas, and elephant ears in the ground will take a few more hours of preparation.
But let’s not put the flowering season to rest just yet, there’s a bit of life still left in the Autumn garden. It’s too early to go on about foliage color and berries, but there will be flowers in this garden for weeks to come (Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’ above and Solidago ‘Golden Fleece’ below).
There are a couple handfuls of Joe Pye Weeds (Eupatorium, left) scattered through the garden, all seedlings from plants that disappeared long ago. Several are green-leafed, similar to the native except more compact, and the others undoubtedly from ‘Chocolate’ (below), with dark leaves and clusters of small white blooms.
The progeny of ‘Chocolate’ are more prolific, popping up here and there, and requiring some small attention to avoid having the garden overrun with them. Not enough of a bother to pull out before they go to seed, the bright flowers and dark foliage stand out nicely, and the excess volunteers are easily tugged out, roots and all.
Seldom do I mind volunteer seedlings, unless they appear in overwhelming numbers, such as Goldenrain Tree and the black tassled Fountain Grass (Pennisetem ‘Moudry’). Walking my son’s hound recently I notice that the banks of the local farm pond were covered with this invasive grass. My garden was rid of black fountain grass a number of years ago, so I say confidently that mine was not the source of this problem.
Plumbago Leadwort (Ceratostigma, above) is purported to be too aggressive for many gardens, but it grows fine for me, perhaps slowed by afternoon shade. The small blue flowers, red seedheads, and foliage that turns to red in early October are welcome colors in the Autumn garden.
There are many more blooms in this early October garden, but there’s little hurry, for they will remain blooming for several weeks.