Certainly, I don’t mean to be ungrateful: Many things are good. Very good. But I can’t help thinking that they’d be close to perfect if a particular plant had come into bloom just a few days earlier or stayed a few days longer, or that we’d have more fall color now if the last two weeks had been properly Octobery instead of August-like. And I don’t think that’s truly being whiny or hard to please; it’s just part of what makes gardening so interesting. I cherish those few moments each year when I look around and think “Wow, this is amazing.” But if they started happening too often, then there’d be nothing to left to do, and I’d have to find a new hobby. Fortunately, I don’t see that happening any time soon.
All of my favorite things about fall gardening have happened (or will happen), after all, even if the timing didn’t quite work out as it often does. The asters certainly were glorious, though the New England asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) fizzled out sooner than usual in the hot and suddenly dry conditions in the last month.
The great thing about having many kinds of asters is that at least one or two are likely to thrive no matter what the weather. The aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium), for instance, enjoyed the steady moisture we had earlier this year but hasn’t seemed to mind the more recent dry conditions at all.
And if nothing else, there are the “LWAs” (little white asters): mostly heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides) and frost aster (S. pilosum) here. I never planted any in the garden; they just blew in from the meadow. They seed around freely, so I pull out as many as I can find each spring, but I always manage to miss some–thank goodness.
Though asters are the most abundant bloomers around here right now, they’re not the only floral gems this time of year.
One thing to be happy about with this warmer-than-usual fall is that we haven’t had frost yet, and it doesn’t look like we’ll get any in the near future. That’s great for late-ripening seeds, and for many annual vines, which didn’t really take off until the end of September.
A few other late bloomers looking good right now include…
Back to happier things, like the beautiful fruits and showy seedheads that add so much interest to the fall garden.
Speaking of grasses…the plants we normally think of as ornamental grasses can also be key players this time of year.
Fall foliage color is the main ingredient missing in this year’s October Bloom Day, though a few bits of it are finally starting to appear.
Putting it all together makes for some lovely effects in the autumn garden.
So yeah, it’s all good out there in the garden, even it’s not quite the conflagration I’d been banking on. To be fair, I have other things on my mind right now. One was yesterday’s Fall Festival at Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, PA. It was a great excuse to spend a few days playing with my flowers and herbs to make fresh and dried arrangements for sale.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, it’s been a terrific year for seeds, and I’ve been collecting pretty much anything I can get my hands on.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been tackling boxes and piles of paper bags filled with roughly collected seeds, gradually getting them cleaned and reduced to small packets of seedy goodness.
I still have several dozen bags of seeds to clean yet, and the clock is ticking: There’s just a month to go until this year’s giveaway. If you’re interested in acquiring some odd seeds, or if you’d like to try your hand at seed-starting for the price of a few stamps, make sure you check back here on November 15 to find out how you can get my list. I expect to have requests open for only a week, so don’t miss out! (I’ve been listing many of the seeds in my Etsy shop as I get them cleaned, so you can check there if you’d like a preview of what’s likely to be available as part of the giveaway. There will be others as well.)
In the meantime, be sure to visit the other participants in this month’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, so you can explore what’s going on in gardens around the world right now. You can find the list at Carol’s main GBBD post at May Dreams Gardens.
I am passionate about collecting and growing seeds. In the links below, you can find out more about why I started my own one-person seed company and how it works. The library page is a collection of articles I've written on seed-related topics.