October is a beautiful month, one in which the heat of summer gradually (oh, so gradually!) gives way to milder weather. It is the time when the garden begins to wake again after summer's stupor. Last year I was disappointed with the amount that bloomed during autumn, and so this year I have been working to improve this transition of seasons in the garden.
As my efforts were made by guesswork, it has been encouraging to watch the garden reawaken with more color this year. This has come from three sources. First, there is continued bloom from a number of more or less ever-blooming plants which put out abundant new flowers as the season cools. Perhaps the most spectacular - this year at least - is Russelia equisetiformis. This is the cultivar "Big Red".
Then there are the roses; and this year The Alnwick Rose, in particular, is bursting into flower just as I hoped, which is certainly more than any roses seemed to do last year! Getting the roses back into bloom for autumn has proven a bit trickier than I expected. To be honest, it does seem to have been chiefly a question of when and how much to increase the watering, which sounds simple enough. But I had to work out the theory a little. While the plants don't need as much water to withstand the temperatures, they need more to support their flowers, and this is still an utterly dry part of the year. So I am learning...
The Alnwick Rose has to be one of the most beautiful roses ever.
Thirdly - and the source of most of my autumn garden escapades this year - there are the genuinely autumn-flowering plants with their seasonal bloom. I've added these three since last autumn.
There is Salvia reptans, a wispy, wiry, plant about 24 inches tall with minuscule but emphatically blue flowers dotted along its stems.
There is the beautifully textured Muhlenbergia lindheimeri "Autumn Glow", which I'm especially happy with because it begins the autumn season weeks earlier than its cousin M. capillaris "Regal Mist"...
And, very cheerfully, there is the so-called Turpentine Bush, Ericameria laricifolia, a redoubtable desert native, a little evergreen shrublet with needle-like leaves. It has just burst into bright yellow bloom this week.
Like the related Rabbitbrush (E. nauseous), it is beloved of bees...
...an assortment of bees.
This post is quite late for this month's Favorite Flowers at The Blooming Garden, but these are certainly five favorites from my October garden, so I hope Chloris won't mind my linking in!
Weather Diary: Fair; High: 83 C (28 C)/Low: 59 F (15 C); Humidity: 13%-63%
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Kris P (Sunday, 22 October 2017 15:11)
All beautiful selections, Amy. Your Russelia is beautiful . And of course, the rose made me sigh. I'm not good at getting my spare collection of roses to rebloom in autumn either (although mine didn't do all that well in spring this year either!). I'm still too miserly with the water I expect.
Diana Studer (Sunday, 22 October 2017 17:00)
ah those dots of cobalt blue are magic - an effect in my garden from Cape forget me not. Dynamite in small packages.
Cathy (Monday, 23 October 2017 13:47)
The Russelia really is stunning. And your roses never cease to amaze me!
Chloris (Monday, 23 October 2017 16:59)
Thank you so much for joining in and showing us your fabulous October favourites Amy. They look so exotic to me. I have seen Russelia in Martinique and wished I could grow it. The salvia is new to me, what a fabulous colour. And I love the dear little flowers of the Turpentine bush.
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 24 October 2017 13:04)
Kris - When you post your roses they always look so beautiful! Not crisped at the edges as mine so often are... Water is the big challenge for both of us. At least I've just discovered that since our well pump repair, the pressure is high enough that I can use linked soaker hoses in the rose border, which is letting me water more efficiently. That had been my original plan, but the low water pressure made it impossible all last year.
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 24 October 2017 13:17)
Diana - Dynamite in small packages is just the phrase for them. :) That colour has a lot impact despite the minute size of the blooms. And a garden can always use a good shot of blue...
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 24 October 2017 13:39)
Cathy - I never tire of the Russelia, and it greets me every time I step out the northeast end of the patio. :) Still working on the roses - I am going to get it right eventually!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 24 October 2017 13:45)
Thank you so much for hosting, Chloris! Russelia is easy to fall for, isn't it? ;-) I had to plant one after discovering it on my first trip to a nursery after we moved here. The Salvia has been a delightful addition and seems to be grown as far away as Japan, so it must be fairly adaptable. I'm always glad to add cold-hardy salvias as we can get the occasional frost, and S. reptans answers nicely.