Oklahoma’s Second Spring

Rosa ‘Golden Slippers’

A couple of weeks ago, I heard the term “Second Spring” on one of my favorite gardening shows, A Gardener’s Diary, and it stayed with me. The gardener was referring to how North Carolina suffers through the long summer and then re-emerges into a second spring in September and October. Many years, I think Oklahoma does the same. Once the fall rains begin, the garden perks up and spends her remaining days covered in jewels like one of Jane Austen’s rich matrons.

This morning, camera in hand, I walked my garden. It’s looking quite grand considering fall is creeping up on it a little more everyday.  With a cold front barreling in from the north, and Gustav’s remnants pushing from the south, half the state saw rain last night and this morning.  So far, we have little rain, but this morning’s low was 65 degrees.  Our projected high is 75.

Rosa ‘Belinda’s Dream’

My garden again smells of roses.  ‘Zepherine Droughin’ and an unnamed rose (given to me years ago and pictured at right) are blooming.  This unnamed beauty is one of the most highly scented in the back garden with a fragrance somewhere between a Tea and a Bourbon. She also has some real problems with blackspot, but is a trooper and outgrows the disease after her leaves fall off at the height of summer humidity. I keep the her for two reasons: she is a soft and pretty pink, the perfect foil for all my hot summer color, and her scent.

Arbor view from the south side of the garden

All of the roses, which I fed and deadheaded a month ago are blooming in the softer sunshine.  I have only sprayed them for blackspot twice this summer, and I’ve changed their food to a regular rose food.  I’ve decided I’m not that happy with the Bayer All in One.  Although it worked well last summer, the bushes seemed weaker this summer after use.  This isn’t scientific research.  It is just my experience.  I may change my mind next season.  So, they do have some blackspot, but it isn’t bad.

There is also the cloying, sweet smell of Autumn Clematis, a plant I wish I’d never sunk into the ground. My excuse is that I was such a young gardener, and I just didn’t know better.  Here, Autumn Clematis looks romantic covering the arbor, but what you can’t see is its stranglehold on one of my Cl. ‘Old Blush’ roses. I like the ivory flowers, but it is very aggressive.  If you must have Autumn Clematis, plant it with care where you don’t mind it covering something. An old shed would be a good site I think. I’ve also found it cropping up throughout the garden for the first time in the seven years I’ve grown it. I’ve dug it out by the roots wherever it’s sprung, but I’ll find more next spring I’m sure.

Blustery winds are making the plants outside my window move to and fro reminding me that winter isn’t far way.  I have a suggestion for all of us.  If you have time today, go outside and take pictures of all the good things growing there.  When the winter winds blow, you’ll be glad you have these photographic memories to console you.


  1. joco says:


    That clematis, does it go all fuzzy, like C. ‘Old Man’s Beard’/Travellers’ Joy’ sort of thing?

    My garden depends on so-called invasive plants. And then I still lose half of them 🙂
    If it is truly sweet smelling, I will give it a go.

    BTW, you may be having a “second Spring”, we over here are having our third winter of the year. Shorts you say? Body warmers more like.

    jocos last blog post..Time for a treat

  2. Aiyana says:

    Beautiful roses! We have a second spring here, usually starting in early October. It’s one of the only reasons I make it through summer, which seems to go on longer each year. My roses quit blooming as soon summer hits, and won’t start again until late October. I was surprised to read that NC also has a second spring season.

    Aiyanas last blog post..Green Thumb Sunday ~ Echinopsis

  3. Cindy says:

    I love the way my garden looks in spring, but oh, how I love the way it feels in fall! Once the daytime temperatures stay below 90, I breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to six months of NOT hot weather!

    Cindys last blog post..Rock My World!

  4. Anna says:

    Glad you told me about the roots of the SAC cause I was going to get one. I don’t want to deal with that.

    I agree with you on so much of what you’ve covered in this post. I am weary of Bayer Rose and Flower Care. I’m also trying to address the soil so the plant can handle the stresses in life. Mushroom compost has made a grand difference in my garden. Every plant is nuts about it.

    Good ole NC does have two Springs. I had heard it but forgot it. I guess I’m just use to it. I didn’t notice so much this year since I don’t have much growing at the new house. But I can see from your garden that all is blooming like mad.

    I am getting ready to look at Hannah the Hurricane. Is she coming my way? I need the rain.

  5. Ernestine says:

    I am pleased I found your journal.
    Pictures remind me of my old gardens in the country.

    Ernestines last blog post..Wednesday is Grandma’s Day

  6. deb says:

    Hi Dee, I never thought of it like that before, but this weather and the way my plants are responding to it does make this feel like a second spring. My sweet autumn clematis is well behaved, mostly because I never ever ever water it.

    debs last blog post..What a Mess Part II

  7. Sherri says:

    I know Autumn Clematis is a “strangler” but it smells so wonderful and looks beautiful.
    I had one in NJ when I lived there and I meant to buy one here but I haven’t yet.

    Sherris last blog post..I think I’m ready to talk about the Rehearsal Dinner now.

  8. Les says:

    We too have a the second spring, although this one is starting off dry. Hanna is expected to bring us some rain, but I hope that she brings little else. I also have Zepherine but merely tolerate her because she is reported to be shade tolerant and is fragrant, but it blooms reluctantly and I dislike the color. As for Sweet Autumn, I put that in the category of “Pretty Weed”. I always enjoy it in other people’s gardens.

    Less last blog post..Norfolk Botanic Gardens – Late Summer

  9. Martha says:

    Dee – Your garden looks magazine perfect!

    With the unusual weather Oklahoma is enjoying this year you may still have roses for Thanksgiving if not for Christmas.

    I’d love to read more about your Autumn Clematis when you have time.

    Marthas last blog post..Gustav’s Gift of Rain

  10. Lucy Bloom says:

    Hi Dee, yes, my garden does seem to take on a second lease of life this time of year – despite the lack of attention I give it. Nothing like your beautiful garden though!
    Lucy x

    Lucy Blooms last blog post..A little sun and sea in Sussex

  11. Carla says:

    What a lovely tour! I’m not looking forward to ‘winter’ I hope ours will be quick and effective. (we need two frozen weeks to kill bugs) Fall IS our second spring (and we are counseled to plant now to get good roots before our normal summer starts in April. I love Gardener’s Diary! I’m so glad they have done some new shows! I agree, enjoy the blooms as they bloom!

    Carlas last blog post..WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: follow that baby

  12. Pam/Digging says:

    My mother called this morning to brag about the cool 65-degree weather in Tulsa, Dee. I would have felt spiteful, but we’re enjoying a dry north wind in Austin this morning too, keeping the summer-like temperature much more comfortable than usual.

    I call autumn our second spring too, but unlike MSS, I don’t consider summer a dead and completely dormant season. My sun-loving, heat-loving natives and adapted plants keep chugging along, blooming all summer, just not as prolifically as in fall. Now that the days are shorter and the heat less intense, the roses are coming back and the salvias are glorious.

    Thanks for sharing the late-summer beauty of your garden, Dee. I knew if it looked great in August, when I visited, it was going to be amazing in fall.

  13. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I can almost smell the roses Dee. I sure hope we get some rain so we can have that second spring. Your garden looks so lush. I am ever hopeful. Isn’t that part of gardening too? Happy spring to you, again.

  14. Paula says:

    Gorgeous photos. I have a Joseph’s Coat rose covered with blooms. (the one that inspired the sock yarn colors for my current sock.) My husband just dug a thorn fragment out of my finger. that thing is wicked.

    Paulas last blog post..Finished Baby Cables

  15. Gail says:

    Your second spring is lovely….I am imagining a bouquet of roses and their fragrance!

    We are still feeling like summer here in Nashville…with highs in the 90s! Even the nights are hot and muggy. It feels more like late July then September! Although, the flowers and insects seem to know something is afoot! More activity and then there is the browning of Susan!

    Gails last blog post..She’s Never Late To The Party!

  16. Autumn is my second favorite season after spring. The garden does seem to rise to the occasion to celebrate the last days before the end. I will not be tempted to plant Sweet Autumn Clematis, no matter how beautiful it looks (and it does look beautiful choking your Roses). I’ve seen how big it can get & that’s enough to scare me off. My new ‘Carefree Beauty’ has started blooming again too. I don’t know if it’s the daylight, the cooler night temperatures or what that does it, I’m just glad that’s it no longer looks like it wants to die.

  17. Leslie says:

    I like the idea of a second spring…anything to put off winter! And it’s so nice that you get this second reward for your gardening work before winter does get there!

    Leslies last blog post..Teeming With Tomatoes

    Me too, Leslie. Me too.~~Dee

  18. Kathy says:

    Huh. I planted sweet autumn clematis in my Secret Garden and it died after 5 years, never getting vigorous. Same thing happened with the Japanese honeysuckle. Oh, well, I have plenty of other invasive plants doing just fine here, so I guess I should be thankful two of them did not take off.

    Kathys last blog post..Margaret Roach’s Way to Garden

    Oh, Kathy, I have Japanese honeysuckle here too if you want some. It is also extremely vigorous although it doesn’t seem invasive in Oklahoma. On the other hand, when driving through the south, the honeysuckle looked more like Kudzu. I think it’s your colder weather that’s to blame.~~Dee

  19. PGL says:

    Your garden is looking lovely in its’ second spring Dee. I have to agree with you on the SAC, but it does look lovely at this time of year, but she is a very rampant grower. The corner I have mine in seems to work for her & keeps her away from my other plants. I am enjoying the cooler mornings & evenings here in Virginia after months of extreme heat 24 hrs a day. Your roses are glorious at this time of year. They probably are appreciating the change in weather.

    PGLs last blog post..It’s about time…

  20. Brenda Kula says:

    A wonderful, almost lyrical post, Dee. I enjoyed my last sips of morning coffee imagining myself in your garden, seeing what you’re describing. Oh, how I wish I lived close by and could get some of those Clematis cuttings! I’ve yearned for one for several years. But they never look good when I find them, and tend to be expensive. So I always hold off… I didn’t realize how invasive they could become. It is raining here, has been for several days. But normally I’m outside most mornings, before the sun is strong, camera in hand. A habit of late. By the way, I wanted to tell you that I love to visit your site, as the ease of commenting is so vastly different from my most blogs I read!

    Brenda Kulas last blog post..The Color Is Plum

    Brenda, this isn’t the expensive kind of Clematis. Regular Clematis isn’t invasive at all. Only the Autumn Clematis is, I think. Thanks on the commenting ease. I try because I don’t like the difficult jumping through hoops either.~~Dee

  21. mss @ Zanthan Gardens says:

    Fall is Austin’s second spring, too. I guess I think of it as the true spring because I think of summer, not winter, as our dormant and dead season.. Fall is the world of flowers reawakening. I found three new things blooming in the garden yesterday. We need one more good rain and then it will be lovely to be outside again. Fall is the beginning of the gardening year for me

    mss @ Zanthan Gardenss last blog post..Powis Castle Garden

    MSS, that’s very good news about what is blooming in your Austin garden. You all have had one tough summer this year. I’m glad your fall is about new beginnings.~~Dee

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