Almost Indian Summer

Whether it was actually the beginng of a true Indian Summer, or just a frost a couple of nights ago, is still up for debate. Indian Summer is defined as warm temperatures after cold snap–like a freeze–and we certainly had some cold. Parts of Oklahoma got the full freeze effect, but I apparently did not. It was interesting to go outside and look over the land for warm microclimates. This is important when thinking about where to plant more tender perennials and tropicals in spring. I was surprised that the lower garden was warmer than up beside the house. Nature never fails to amaze me.

When you see both blooms and rosehips on ‘The Fairy’ you know it’s beginning to look a lot like autumn.

I refused to cover the coleus. They have such brittle stems they would break under cover. I lost most of them to cold overnight temperatures. Yesterday morning, it was still cold so I gave Mr. Sun time to warm things up.

Rosa ‘Jefferson,’ a foundling from Texas. It is also now known as ‘Softee.’

And, warm up it did. Just in time for me to take some photos of my fall garden. I’ve already lost the Spanish flag vine I showed in the previous post. It seems like it just barely gets started blooming, and then, it is lost to cold. I think it’s where I have it planted because I’ve seen it blooming profusely in other people’s gardens. I believe it gets too much shade, and the spot is slow to warm up even in summer. Something to consider as I plan the garden next year.

Rosa ‘White Meidiland,’ a shrub rose from France, that is extremely easy to grow. It has arching canes that would respond well to the practice of pegging.

My roses have never looked better. ‘White Meidiland,’ above, is one of those that is supremely easy to grow, and the blooms are as complicated as any English rose. I bought it on sale at the end of rose season three summers ago from Horn Seed. I like to take chances on shrub roses at the end of the season. I feel bad that they are left by a public still enamored by only Hybrid Teas.

Although shrub roses are easy and beautiful, English roses like ‘Heritage’ are very charming when they bloom. They do need protection from wind and cold along with a bit of afternoon shade, to do their best.

The roses are growing so abundantly I will need to cut a few of them back to protect them from the wind. It isn’t advised to cut back this late in the season because it may spur new, tender growth, but it is necessary in my garden this year. A clean cut is better than a wind whipped cane.

Nothing makes a rose lover happier than to see her roses finally bloom with abandon after a long, hot summer.

Dahlias, cannas, clumping bamboo and ‘Hameln’ dwarf fountain grass in the side garden.

Oh, and the dahlias! My goodness, they have finally braved the grasshopper onslaught to reign supreme in October.

Dahlia ‘Lolo’ after the cold. In warmer weather, it was more yellow.

As part of my fall prep, I planted the remaining daylilies, and I have a few more to plant in the church garden. Right now, there is only one there, and I have some extras in beautiful colors. I also gave a few I divided to friends. I believe I planted twelve new ones. Many of these I bought in the middle of summer which is dumb, but I planted them in pots that resided beneath the deck until fall came. Their roots grew, and they are off to a better start than the ones I planted bareroot. Both will be fine over winter. For the first time in a long while, I also tagged every single one of them that I planted. I can’t possibly remember the names, and nothing is sadder than an unnamed daylily I can’t show. Plants don’t like to go unnoticed or unnamed. I know roses feel this way.

In another post, I’m going to show you how I tagged them all. It’s quite the process and deserves its own space for this madness.

When I traveled with my friends to Bustani Plant Farm for a second time, I indulged in a few more mums and some other perennials. It was hard work, but I dug up some of the perennial black-eyed Susans. With irrigation, their runners take over and choke other plants to death. If you don’t water much, they stay in bounds. I chopped a good number of them out of the garden and threw them into the compost pile where they can do some good by decaying. Don’t worry, there are plenty left.

Chrysanthemum ‘Will’s Wonderful’ from 2011.

This week, I ordered from a new garden center, Niche Gardens. I know nothing about them, but I wanted some garden mums I couldn’t find locally. Why don’t more Oklahoma garden centers carry mums other than the ones shaped into mushrooms or balls? I like these too, but we all know they are here barely a moment, and then, they’re gone. Here is what I ordered:

Chrysanthemum x ‘Emperor of China.’ I’ve wanted this one for a long time.

C. x ‘Single Apricot Korean.’ Saw and liked. Into the shopping cart it went.

C. x ‘Cathy’s Rust.’ I totally dig this color for fall. It will go well as a color echo of C. ‘Matchsticks,’ another one I grow and love.

I’m told by Steve Bender, our favorite Grumpy Gardener, that I need ‘Ryan’s Pink.’ I probably do, but I hate paying $20 in shipping, and Niche Gardens didn’t have it. I need someone local or close-to-local to carry it. My mums are not yet in bloom which is a-okay by me. I want them to wait a bit.

Blue heirloom aster given to me years ago. I don’t know its name.

Oh, but the asters are, and what a show. Last week, I bought a purple heath aster, Symphyotrichum ericoides ‘Bustani Purple’ from Bustani, of course. Hey, maybe Steve and Ruth will carry ‘Ryan’s Pink!’ I’ll ask them. They need to carry ‘Will’s Wonderful’ too.

All of the autumn sages, Salvia greggii, are blooming like crazy. The red has never been prettier, and while ‘Pink Preference’ is a show stopper most of the year, it really takes off in fall. Just look at that color. If you live in the south, you should grow ‘Pink Preference.’ There are several mail order sources for it, and Bustani has it too.

Salvia greggii ‘Pink Preference’ growing with ‘Orange Peel’ cestrum

One more thing before I go, none of these photos were enhanced for color or anything else. I simply took them in early morning during the Earth’s golden hour. That, and sunset are the best times to capture your garden in pictures or video. So, this evening, before you sit down to dinner, take your camera outside and capture a photo or two. Trust me, in February, you’ll be glad you did.

16 Replies to “Almost Indian Summer”

  1. Love the photos! I’ve wondered what the difference is between “Ryan’s Pink” and “Clara Curtis” (aka “Country Girl”). I have lots of Clara Curtis – it’s my favorite chrysanthemum – and honestly the flowers and foliage looks identical to me. Clara has just begun to bloom for me in central Mississippi.

  2. You’ve hit the nail on the head, I take all my garden photos to enjoy in the middle of winter when I think I’ll never see them again!

  3. Oh, Dee, I have to look for ‘Matchsticks’. Enchanting! The nurseries here all carry the same ho-hum variety of mums you mention, which are very nice for an open house during a holiday and then blah. I have had some luck at finding 4″ mum plants of interesting variety at (of all places) the grocery store. I plant these directly into the garden and they come back lovely and quadruple in size. I’ve bought some lovely miniature roses this way, too for the garden. You have to be selective, but they do work just fine and sometimes can be picked up for only a couple of dollars. Thanks for the beautiful photos!

  4. Listening to the weather report for Upstate SC and mountains of NC, the mountains have a frost warning. I made sure to bring my orchids and delicate ferns in to the garage…will think about bringing the houseplants in tomorrow. I cuss the whole time I clean the plants and the pots before bringing them in. augh.
    I think once I amend the soil a bit more I will finally add some dahlias, yours are really nice. Also love the White Meadiland, such a pretty bloom. I left a ‘Fairy’ rose in Virginia, kicking myself for not digging it up and bringing it with me.
    Indian Summer or not your garden is in fine form!

    1. Thank you so much Brenda. I love the roses too when they bloom. They don’t like our recent summers though. It might very well be that same aster. Thanks.

  5. Very lovely. My roses have a few farewell blooms going on, but nothing like this. I really like that White Meideland, is it hardy in zone 5? And is it fragrant?

  6. I envy you your Dahlias and Roses! I’ve made a note to add some Dahlias (I currently have none) and more Roses next year. Your garden is gorgeous in autumn! The photo of the table/chairs and Asters is definitely frame-worthy! Delightful.

  7. My dahlias never bloomed this year. I brought them up from the basement too late. Ironically, I think you have had a worse freeze thus far than I have. I need to find a nursery (mail order or local) that stocks some decent chrysanthemums. I wish now that I had ordered ‘Will’s Wonderful’ while Seneca Hill Perennials was still in business.

  8. Your garden looks beautiful, Dee. I agree with everything you say, that the fall is a happy time for roses and dahlias since the bugs, heat and drought have subsided, but truer words were never written that taking photos of the garden now, during those pink rays of morning and the gold of evening will be very much appreciated in the dead of winter. I am in love with Lolo!

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