Last Flowers Standing

It’s the middle of October and the garden is getting drowsy, sliding into its annual decline. In fact I was thinking of calling this post Decline and Fall (get it – fall?), but Judy says I use too many puns.

DSC_0830 rose cassie

Although, some of the roses are having a late season spurt of energy, particularly our shrub rose ‘Cassie’, which has quite a few flower clusters along with small red hips here and there. The hips don’t really make much of a display, because something eats them before they develop critical mass.

DSC_0871 rose sallie holmes

‘Sallie Holmes’ in the back garden is also putting out a final handful of blooms.

DSC_0835 (2) joe pye weed and tithonia

In the front garden, many plants have only seed heads remaining, like these fluffy Joe Pye Weeds (Eutrochium maculatum). October has been a warm month, which is keeping some plants from going dormant – but it’s also been very dry, making beds and borders a bit more shrivelled and crunchy.

DSC_0864 tithonia

Even so, the Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) is still blooming, even though I gave up deadheading at the beginning of October. Sadly the seeds are not hardy here, but they do attract some Cardinals and Goldfinches. Butterflies are no longer seen, but bumblebees are still plentiful.

DSC_0856 brown eyed susan

Brown-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba) is slowing down, but still has lots of flowers.

DSC_0846 sedum and brown eyed susanIn the East Parkway Bed the Brown-Eyed Susan combines nicely with the dried seed heads of Sedum spectabilis ‘Matrona’. I generally don’t like Sedums, but I added more ‘Matrona’ in this spot a few weeks ago.

I should mention here that I took these photos because Judy was out of town (in Las Vegas, no less) on a business trip. So the photographs are not up to the usual standard.

DSC_0855 NE Aster

The New England Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) still look good.

DSC_0849 bluestem goldenrod

And there’s lots of Bluestem Goldenrod (Solidago caesia), here joined by a few blooms from the hybrid Geranium ‘Rozanne’.

DSC_0865 zinnias

As long as I don’t look too closely, I am really pleased with how this Lamppost bed has turned out this year. If I do look closely, I am appalled by all the weeds hiding among the new perennials. Fortunately the Zinnia elegans ‘Profusion Fire’ provides lots of distraction.


Aromatic Aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolius) and Helenium autumnale ‘Short ‘n’ Sassy’ continue to make beautiful music together. I’ll say again that I am amazed by this Helenium’s lengthy period of bloom. And the Aromatic Aster is no slouch, either.

DSC_0860 plumbago

Elsewhere on the Parkway Bed, Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides – say that five times fast if you can) and wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) combine to make a nice ground cover.

DSC_0857 short's aster

Short’s Aster (Symphyotrichum shortii) is another aster with staying power.


Calamint (Calamintha nepeta) has mostly recovered from a rough early season. First, it seemed to lose some ground to our long winter. Then it was almost overwhelmed by three lined plant bugs. All this surprised me, because Calamint is supposed to be a super tough plant that seeds itself like crazy. So far that has not been my experience.

DSC_0874 begonia

In the back garden I’ve pretty much given up on watering the containers. All the container plants are at death’s door except for these ‘Dragonwing’ begonias, who don’t seem to care whether I water them or not. Who knew they were such tough customers?

I am linking this post to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Garden on the 15th of every month. Click here to see more October blooms from all over the world.

68 Comments on “Last Flowers Standing”

    • About the Tithonias – thank you! I’ve come to feel I deserve some recognition for promoting Tithonias. However, I may have to first start the organization that would give me the recognition. Something like, the International Society for the Appreciation of Tithonias (ISAT).

  1. Your Tithonia look good still – mine are about to be chopped! As soon as the hot spell was over they got covered in black fly, which was great for the ladybirds but their numbers are dwindling now too. Love that aster/helenium combination!

  2. I tried Helenium autumnale one year, but it only lasted one season. Another tall aster still in bloom is Smooth Blue Aster. Only 2-3′ tall in the prairie, in the garden it will grow 3–4′ tall and is best cut back by half at the end of June.

  3. Hmmm… on puns? Some folks like them, others don’t. I say keep ‘um coming, you always make me chuckle (or groan with a smile).
    On tithonia – when you say the seed is not hardy, do you mean the seeds it drops everywhere (if you don’t deadhead) do not germinate/don’t over winter in the garden? It doesn’t become one of the plants we say ‘seeds itself freely’ (meaning it’s invasive)?
    On brown-eyed susans – how tall are they?
    You still have lots of pretty blooms, Jason, but for sure it’s drawing to a close for 2015. We’re expecting 30 degrees Sunday night in Maryland, darn it!

  4. Nice photos, Jason. My husband shares your love of puns, and over the years, I have learned to like them. I even indulge in punnery from time to time 😉 Begonias are indeed tough customers. They are one of the few flowers that do well in pots at the little house in the big woods.

  5. I love all the different asters you have –I really need to find some of the shorter varieties. I have some bulbs arriving soon –I hope it will stay dry and mild until after I plant them 🙂 I have stopped watering my containers as well. I thought about it, but then I got a cold, and decided their days were numbered either way.

  6. Your title is perfect, Jason–I’m appreciating all the flowers that are still standing right now, too. I’m also taking notes on what is blooming in everyone else’s garden this October. Tithonia is already on my “must-have” list for next year, so I’m thrilled to see it still blooming so late. The short Helenium is one I don’t have either and am now tempted to add. Wouldn’t some rain be nice?!

  7. Is your Calamintha nepeta the sterile variety (subsp.)? I ask because Olbrich chooses to plant the sterile one so it won’t re-seed. It just continues to return as a perennial each year. (Here’s an article about it from Lurie: It’s so interesting that you guys, so close to us, haven’t received the rain we have. Although, the UW-Arboretum (even closer to me) is drier than my garden. Weird spotty precipitation. I really don’t see any weeds in your lamppost garden. And regarding the puns: I’m always saying the same thing to the fishman, but he keeps on punning away! Happy bloom day!

  8. They are still lovely for the approaching winter. Sometimes i also feel sad that the beautiful plants of my blogger friends in temperate countries will just succumb to frost. At least in your garden, they are already past their prime.

  9. I don’t see a lot of decline here Jason, so I think you can save your title for a later date. Do you like the Tithonia after the petals have dropped as much as I do? I think they are almost as attractive as the flowers in the garden and in a vase.

  10. Pingback: What’s in Bloom Here Now – October 2015 | A Moveable Garden

  11. Hello Jason, wow – you have so much still flowering! We’ve had a strange flowering pattern this year because most of the plants are new and went into the borders late (especially if they were grown from seed), they’re all flowering at the wrong times (very late). The Dahlias and annuals we have make up for much of the show but there are still lupins, delphinums, roses and verbena! They’ve not realised it’s autumn yet.

  12. Your love of Orange really stands out in your garden this October Jason. I know what you mean about not looking too close into borders at this time of the year – some of mines needs a fair bit of weeding done.
    I hope you continue to enjoy the garden for a wee while yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: