A Quiet Autumn: GBBD, October 2013

Autumn seems to be pretty subdued in these parts. Very little foliage color, and fewer flowers than normal. My theory is that many of the flowers threw in the towel early because it has been pretty dry since the beginning of August. And the warm fall has kept the leaves green late into the season.

Blue Stem Goldenrod
Blue Stem Goldenrod

Nevertheless, there are a few blooms to be enjoyed in my garden. The Blue Stem Goldenrod (Solidago caesia) still have flowers, though many have gone to seed.

Short's Aster
Short’s Aster

You cannot have Goldenrod without Asters. This year the flowers of Short’s Aster (Symphyotrichum shortii) have bloomed for a very long season, as has Aromatic Aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolius).

Purple Dome
‘Purple Dome’

‘Purple Dome’ is a late-blooming dwarf New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) that is just starting to show its purple and gold flowers. I have it in the back garden, where it is not thriving, perhaps because of too little sun.

Aster seed heads

Most of the Asters, however, have gone to seed.

Brown Eyed Susan
Brown Eyed Susan

There are still some Rudbeckia flowers, like this Brown Eyed Susan (R. triloba). As you can see, though, most of the flower heads have only the ripened seed, which makes the goldfinches very happy.

Caryopteris Longwood Blue
Caryopteris ‘Longwood Blue’

The Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Longwood Blue’ is doing well for its first autumn. I’m looking forward to ‘Longwood Blue’ getting bigger and better in the future.


I have a little patch of Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides), an excellent groundcover. I’m a sucker for blue flowers.

Heavenly Blue Morning Glory
‘Heavenly Blue’ Morning Glory

Speaking of blue, the ‘Heavenly Blue’ Morning Glory (Ipomoea tricolor) continues to bloom modestly even as the weather cools. It was very slow to get going this year, so at least it is hanging on late into the season.  At this point in the year, the flowers can last until late in the day.

Pentas, Cigar Plant
Pentas, with Cigar Plant in the foreground.

Other heat loving annuals, like the Cigar Plant (Cuphea ignea) are also holding their own. Pentas (Pentas lanceolata) still crowns my containers with bright red blooms.

Cleome – that’s the neighbors’ house in the background.

And this one self-sown Spider Flower (Cleome hassleriana), glowing here in the afternoon sun, keeps blooming without a thought to the coming winter. I wouldn’t mind having a bunch of these next year, and have been throwing the seeds around with that in mind.

Rose cassie

Finally, the shrub rose ‘Cassie’ still has semi-double white flowers. not as many as in June but enough to brighten the front entrance.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is sponsored by Carol at May Dream Gardens. Follow the link and see what other gardeners have in bloom.

59 Comments on “A Quiet Autumn: GBBD, October 2013”

  1. Hi Jason, i am a sucker for blue flowers too, but the problem is we don’t have so much blues here to suck! Blogging made me realize the reality of the changing climate, that it is already with us and we all notice the changes. Colder countries got them colder or longer and we in the warm climes have them longer and warmer too. When i think about it, i get really scared for the future.

  2. Still plenty to like in your garden, Jason. Another fine Solidago and I also like the shrub rose with its charming flowers. I saw Aster Purple Dome quite often recently and think it’s a very garden-worthy variety. The Penta is new to me and looks great. Is it fully hardy?

  3. Caryopteris has become one of my favorite shrubs, too, for late summer/fall color. Seeing your Plumbago reminds me that I didn’t include it in my Bloom Day post; the funny thing is, I didn’t plant any and have no idea where it came from. But I agree, I like this groundcover; hope it reseeds in my garden. Your cleome is lovely…and don’t worry, if you scattered the seeds, you’ll have more volunteers next year:) Happy Bloom Day!

  4. You have some real beauties in your garden~How do I not ave Blue stemmed goldenrod! It has been dry in my garden and there has been a shortage of blooms. I was surprised when I compared the Goldenrod bloom period to last years and there are no Rudbeckia triloba blooming either. Oh well, there’s always next fall! Happy GBBD

  5. Your caryopteris is beautiful. I have an unnamed species that has long since bloomed out. And thanks for the tip about the Rudbeckia triloba. I have some from Scott, and I love to see goldfinches in the garden. Usually they come pretty late, so I hope the seed heads last.

  6. ‘Cassie’ has an interesting form! The Aster I recently bought, ‘Vibrant Dome,’ apparently is a sport of ‘Purple Dome.’ It’s in a spot with dappled shade, so I hope it will survive. It’s weird how green everything is into October, isn’t it? Our leaves are starting to turn fast now, though, with the sudden dip in temperatures. Happy GBBD!

  7. I find that the volunteer Cleome are much stronger than the ones grown from nursery plugs. I’ve been opening seed pods and throwing the seeds around the garden myself! Our goldenrod and most of the wild asters are done now. Our leaves started changing quite early this year–August was cold. My morning glories are still pumping out the blooms, and they do stay open most of the day this time of year. Your soil may have been too fertile for the Heavenly Blues to have a heavy bloom.

  8. Good luck with getting more Cleome next year Jason. You’ve still got some lovely blooms going on. I hope they last a while for you yet.
    The temperature dropped drastically over night here and had the first frost warning in the car on my way home from work this morning!!
    I’ve noted your comment re goldfinches and Rudbeckia. I wonder if our goldfinches would like it. Happy Bloom Day!

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