Garden Bloom in October

Russelia equisetiformis "Big Red"

Here it is the middle of the month of October.  Daytime temperatures are still staying upwards of 90 F/32 C, and there is no rain in sight.  But for all that, it is autumn here as well as elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, and my garden is delighted. Let us begin with the roses, as I have waited a long time to see them coming back into bloom.  They have only just begun, and I need to keep a closer eye on them for the best showing.  But here are a few to start with!


First the shrub roses: clockwise from upper left are Graham Thomas, William Shakespeare 2000, Wollerton Old Hall, and James Galway.  

Then come the miniature roses...

...and two hybrid teas, "Mister Lincoln and "Sterling Silver", and a floribunda, "Angel Face".

Lavenders are coming back into bloom.  All of them rested in late summer.  Left to right are Lavandula multifida, L. dentata, L. x "Goodwin's Creek Gray", this last against a carmine backdrop of heavily flowering Gaura (Oenothera lindheimeri noID).

Of course, it is also a splendid time for sages of all sorts.  Clockwise from upper left: Salvia farinacea, S. reptans, S. greggi (seedling), and S. greggi "Autumn Moon".

But the great and unexpected display this autumn comes from the continuing robust bloom of Salvia leucantha "Santa Barbara", which has spent two years getting to this point!

Salvia leucantha "Santa Barbara"

One plant, many seasons, many colors: here is Catharanthus roseus, my go-to source for summer color, which lasts well into early winter.  There are various hues in the garden now, the first (below) blooming with Eremophila hygrophana, the last coupled with Cuphea ignea "Vermillionaire".

Clearly I should have cut back Lantana "Denver Red" a little more; it is now clambering unapologetically into Euphorbia tirucalli "Sticks on Fire".

Euphorbia tirucalli "Sticks on Fire" with Lantana "Denver Red"

My favorite lantana is perhaps the simple white growing beneath Vauquelinia californica.  Other tropicals include, clockwise from top left: lantana, Hamelia patens, Ruellia brittoniana, and Russelia equisetiformis "Big Red".

But it is a good time for the desert natives as well.


Here are some of the season's first flowers on Justicia californica, which should bloom from now till early next summer.

Justicia californica

Another desert plant in bloom is Calliandra californica; the bees clearly enjoy even the spent blooms.  And yes, that is a hollyhock blossom (from "Creme de Cassis") in the background!

Calliandra californica

There is even a little bit of bloom on Leucophyllum frutescens (probably "Green Cloud").

Leucophyllum frutescens

As for other types of plants, the chrysanthemums are not flowering much yet, but these few are an achievement, as it means I have successfully carried the plants through the summer to another autumn.

Yellow-bronze chrysanthemums

This is the first-ever flowering from the beautifully textured grass Muhlenbergia lindheimeri "Autumn Glow", which is shown against the blue of Ruellia brittoniana.

Muhlenbergia lindheimeri "Autumn Glow" against a background of Ruellia brittoniana

With a somewhat similar effect, Pennisetum setaceum rubrum is growing in front of Perovskia atriplicifolia (below).  Bouteloua gracilis "Blonde Ambition" was just replanted in the front of the East Border.  I needed to cut it back, but took this picture first.

And a plant just finishing its bloom season is the wonderful Berlandiera lyrata, the Chocolate Flower.

Berlandiera lyrata

Well, there were more.  And a few just setting buds, but I could not put everything in.  It is nice to have an abundance of blossom again!



 Thank you to Carole for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens!



And as you can see, I was not the only one out enjoying the flowers!  Here is a bee on Salvia reptans.

Close-up of bee on Salvia reptans flowers

Weather Diary: Fair; High: 93 F (34 C)/Low: 53 F (12 C); Humidity: 5%-33%

Write a comment

Comments: 16
  • #1

    Rose (Monday, 16 October 2017 07:06)

    What an abundance of blooms you have! And what a collection of lovely roses! Here in the Midwest, our gardens are winding down, so it's a treat to see so many blooms in your garden. Happy Bloom Day!

  • #2

    Lea (Monday, 16 October 2017 07:16)

    Beautiful, every one!
    I love the Roses, and the Mum is a wonderful color!

  • #3

    Kris P (Monday, 16 October 2017 13:46)

    Congratulations on shepherding your chrysanthemums through the long, hot summer! It's wonderful to see how well your roses do in your climate. I've got to either find a way to improve the performance of my own roses, or give them up completely. Do you feed yours and, if so, how often? I rely mainly on annual applications of compost but it doesn't seem to be enough to get regular blooms. My sandy soil may be an issue too.

  • #4

    Marcelo (Monday, 16 October 2017 20:31)

    Amy, your roses look beautiful! Don't you have problems with sun scorching the leaves and flowers? that happens to my roses in Summer. Now it's spring here and my roses are blooming but they endured too much rain since winter and their archenemies (blackspot, mildew ,cankros, rust) took a toll on them. I imagine that autumn cooler days must bring a relief to your garden, my plants resurrects after the harshess of summer here.

  • #5

    Phyl Valentyne (Tuesday, 17 October 2017 13:38)

    Wow Amy, what a wonderful explosion of colour and texture! What superb selection of all kinds of plant, I adore every single one of them. I wanted to mention a few favourites of mine by name but can't. I can sense the passion you've put into your garden, thanks for sharing it with us <3 <3

  • #6

    Brian Skeys (Tuesday, 17 October 2017 14:47)

    The chrysanthemums look lovely in the sunshine. You have. Beautiful selection of plants for bloom day.

  • #7

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 17 October 2017 19:55)

    Rose - Thank you so much and welcome to the blog! This is such a special time of year here, when the garden wakes up after a long summer. I have to go to other gardener's blogs to get some extra bloom (and green leaves!) in midsummer... ;-)

  • #8

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 17 October 2017 19:56)

    Lea - Thanks very much :) I'm always happily surprised by the color of that mum - sometimes it's a good deal darker, but always pretty!

  • #9

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 17 October 2017 20:05)

    Kris - I definitely have good times and bad with the roses - I'm really hoping to pull them into a good long bloom season this fall. I try to add compost twice a year (that's my composted horse manure, of course ;-) as well as several inches of sawdust right before the heat gets bad. Then during bloom season I use some Miracle Gro once or twice a month. My main crime is just not watering them quite enough when they are trying to bloom, so I have a lot of crisped petal edges! Some roses bloom better than others; The Generous Gardener has not been very generous with its flowers for me - unfortunately, as I love the ones I do get! Hybrid teas bounce back more readily than the big shrubs, but the latter are set to keep going (at any rate, the recent David Austin introductions). I'm going on a bit long, I guess; maybe I should do a post on the roses...

  • #10

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 17 October 2017 20:19)

    Marcelo - Yes, autumn is such a blessing after a long summer, isn't it?!! The whole garden sighs with relief. I have to rely on shade to protect my roses; otherwise I don't think they would grow very well for me. They do best with some protection from direct sunlight and from our drying winds. The rose border is protected by a couple of palm trees, and I have worked to get various shrubs and small trees into the main garden to protect the smaller plants. I do not have much trouble with fungus - I do sympathize with your roses, though, as mine were always leafless from black spot every year in my first garden (in Missouri). Here in the desert, my main problem is knowing when to increase the water (and how much), and my roses often have dried petals from not quite enough moisture... They also get saltburn in the hottest months but are recovering well this year.

  • #11

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 17 October 2017 20:37)

    Phyl - Thank you very much - so glad you enjoyed the post! :)

  • #12

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 17 October 2017 20:44)

    Brian - Thanks so much! I'm quite proud of that chrysanthemum - can you tell? ;-) There won't be many here as they require a bit too much water through the summer, but it's so rewarding to see them getting ready to flower again.

  • #13

    Cathy (Saturday, 21 October 2017 06:34)

    What a lot of flowers you have in flower Amy! Love the fluffy red flower with the hollyhock behind it - it looks like a tropical bird! :)

  • #14

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Saturday, 21 October 2017 19:26)

    Cathy - It's such a nice time for the garden now - as long as I remember it still needs to be watered! I haven't featured the Calliandra much, but it deserves better, doesn't it?! ;-)

  • #15

    Annette (Sunday, 22 October 2017 07:35)

    Hi Amy, you've a lovely collection of roses and salvia and certainly no shortage in flowers yet. They all seem to do well in spite of lack of rain. Very dry here too and although it's a bit changeable at the moment with drizzle it's not enough to fill our pond where my poor water lilies sit with their heads above the water. At the same time it's great to have such a nice autumn. Sun and heat are supposed to be back in 2 days. Alas, we have to make the best out of it. Wishing you happy, mellow autumn days :)

  • #16

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 26 October 2017 12:22)

    Thank you for your kind comment, Annette - I do apologize for not replying sooner! The autumn weather has been so pleasant despite the continued heat, and it is difficult to explain just how that works, even to myself! I think it has much to do with the sun's rays being so much less intense these days. I hope your water lilies get a good drink soon - I can only dream of water lilies, and even rain seems very far away... ;-) I will wish you some equally pleasant but cooler weather! Happy Autumn!