October can be the most beautiful month in the garden, and that’s because it is full of fall favorites. I’ve been doing a few Instagram videos about my fall favorites this week, and I thought I’d follow up here on the blog with some of them too. This post is also part of October’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day hosted by Carol J. Michel.
The monarch butterfly stragglers are still here.
In October, there are still a few monarchs floating by, primarily members of the Super Generation who will continue their journey to Mexico after stopping by for a drink of nectar. Here, in Oklahoma, the Super Generation is often “born” in our gardens. They are much larger and more beautiful than regular monarch butterflies because they need that wingspan to fly farther and faster. I’m still seeing one or two every day.
I have you covered if you want to learn some new monarch butterfly information too.
‘Bluebird’ aster is a fall favorite.
Isn’t it wonderful that monarchs and several other fall-flying butterflies like the painted ladies, queens, orange sulphurs, and viceroys all look like fall foliage themselves? Butterflies and bumblebees are especially beautiful on Aster laevis ‘Bluebird.’ Other asters are well and fine and fill my fall garden, but ‘Bluebird’ is a fall favorite. I mean, honestly, isn’t the color just exquisite?
An Instagram follower named the color tanzanite, and she was correct. It is the exact color of tanzanite, which was one of my mother’s favorite jewels. Now, I think of my mother every time it flowers. I also have her tanzanite ring, which I often wear.
Where can you find ‘Bluebird’ smooth aster? I’m sure Steve and Ruth Owens sell it at Bustani Plant Farm, but you’ll need to wait until spring. They are closed after their fall season. Make a note to buy a transplant in spring. Or, you can order it from High Country Gardens, which is one of my favorite online sources. Alas, you’ll need to wait for it to come back into stock, but again, make a note somewhere.
Spicebush isn’t blooming, but the foliage is perfectly fall.
Another fall favorite is spicebush, Lindera benzoin. In fall, the leaves turn the most beautiful shades of yellow, from lemon to ochre. Spicebush is native to Oklahoma and several other states in the U.S. It also benefits butterflies because it’s the host plant of spicebush swallowtails, those blue-tailed beauties.
I believe you can order spicebush from Greenwood Nursery. although I’ve never bought from them before. I found one of my shrubs at a local plant fair. Watch for those in spring. The Oklahoma City Flower and Garden Festival will be on May 13, 2023, at the Myriad Gardens. Marilyn Stewart from Wild Things Nursery is usually there, and she carries many native plants. I also scored ‘Phenomenal’ lavender there in 2021 from another vendor. You just never know what you’ll find, but you know it will be good.
Garden mums are definitely autumnal favorites.
Another fall favorite in my garden is Chrysanthemum ‘Hillside Sheffield Pink’ aka ‘Sheffield.’ I’ve written about these rangy, spreading mums before, as have so many people. They are almost impossible to lose, unlike ‘Will’s Wonderful,’ which I had to replant this year.
I’m rehabbing the tiered borders, and ‘Will’s Wonderful’ will be a large part of that. I just have to keep native ageratum–not a favorite–from overwhelming him. I love other mums too, especially those that acclimate to the garden and weave themselves in among other plants. Sheffield will sometimes overtake plants, so keep that in mind. It is one of the final plants to flower here, and I’m grateful for its peachy pink that melds so well with fall foliage.
Here’s more info about mums and asters. They are perennial fall favorites. See what I did there?
My roses are also fall favorites.
I can see you frowning on that one. Well, hear me out. Roses perform better in the fall garden than they do in spring in Oklahoma, and there are no Japanese beetles to contend with. I am especially in love with Rosa ‘Desdemona.’ She has flowered nearly every month since spring. I also think roses smell divine in fall because their perfume mixes with everything else blooming, including my favorite annual of the year for 2022, Heliotropium arborescens ‘Amaretto.’ Plant roses near this fabulous annual, and you’ll know what I mean.
I do deadhead my roses in September, which you’re really not supposed to do, but who cares? We don’t live in North Dakota unless we get a crazy ice storm in October. Otherwise, the roses will be fine.
Other flowers still blooming.
Gregg’s mistflower is still flowering. It has all summer in the kitchen border. Elsewhere, several salvias are still going, as is Verbena bonariensis and Tithonia ‘Torch.’ The zinnias still have ragged flowers, but the plants look really bad now. We’re supposed to get a freeze on Wednesday, and the garden will be finished. I have to admit I’m a bit sad, but the garden needs its rest, as do I.
Above is this week’s podcast episode, which is quite funny.
Also, remember I do garden coaching. There’s no better way to learn how to make your landscape or garden better quickly, and no landscape is too small. I spent a lot of time and money learning, and I want to pass my knowledge on to you.
I ordered Jindai Tatarian Aster after seeing your post on Instagram. I also visited the Beatrix Farrand garden at Hyde Park NY earlier this month which had several varieties of asters. Garden Gate magazine had an excellent article on the various types of asters last month. So apparently I needed to add more asters to my garden! I’m slowly but steadily adding new varieties of hardy mums to my garden, usually two new ones each spring. Can you tell that October is my favorite month?
Dee Nash says
I definitely can. I think you’ll like Jindai. I really do. Thanks for the other information.
I didn’t know about the super generation of monarchs – very interesting! Your garden looks like a haven for them.
Dee Nash says
Hi Horticat, I certainly try to make it a haven for all the pollinators, and it’s exciting when the monarchs fly through. ~~Dee