There’s not much left blooming in the garden these last few days in October – the only thing looking halfway decent are the patches of sweet Alyssum. The huge Zinnias, colourful Cannas and even the merry Marigolds are either withering away with the cold nights or had to be pulled to make way for bulb planting. (I know – a lot of people really hate Marigolds. I, on the other hand, really LOVE them and grow them every year; next year’s seeds are already dried and waiting in tiny envelopes for April germination.)
There are still a few delightful surprises though.
This white Iris is STILL blooming!!!!! There’s a half dozen flower stalks and a few buds left that have survived our light frost. Amazing!!!
I took a few Gaillarda (Blanket Flower) seedheads off a rocky slope in Toronto’s Tommy Thompson Park many many years ago, and have tried to grow them all over the property. Not surprisingly, the only place they have really thrived and come back year after year is on a similar rocky slope! No compost, leaf mould, mulch or watering wanted! They bloom non stop from mid summer until…
I bought a little 10 cm pot of Shasta Daisies last spring and, stupidly, tried to make two plants by splitting it down the middle. Neither half was happy. They appeared to just wither away over the course of the season. I left them alone though and this year, with no coaxing and quite by surprise, they came up bigger and better. Also a surprise is how short this variety is – a reminder to NEVER throw away plant tags until I’ve recorded everything written!
I have no idea what variety of Veronica this is (again with the tag!!!) – last year it was a ground hugging rosette of leaves that spread quite a bit. This year it threw up tall spikes and then the little flowers, a perfect blue, started to appear and bloom, from the bottom up. It’s been three months now! And they’re still attracting the last desperate bees needing to top off before winter.
Finally, another Veronica – Whitley’s Speedwell. It holds a special place in my heart because the original small clump was given me by a dear lady in Toronto many many years ago. A large patch of it was growing up a slope by the sidewalk in front of her house and I admired it year round. Its original spot in my garden is still going strong and growing year by year. It’s generally drought tolerant (I’ve never watered it) although last year by the end of the summer drought only the fringes survived (it all grew back this year). But I’m really impressed by my new patch – started with just four hand-full’s pulled up from the original, it has now filled in to border the side patio.
AND – the best part – it’s evergreen. ALSO the best part is this new patch flowered en masse as usual in the spring but continued to send up dozens of individual, tiny blooms all year. Last week, for some reason, it just burst out again with hundreds of flowers. Weird and wonderful!
Veronica Whitley’s Speedwell