Now that it's October, much of the garden is looking decidedly "past tense" but luckily not everything. Thank goodness for late bloomers, right?! One perennial ~ Eupatorium rugosum 'chocolate' or Chocolate Snakeroot ~ is just now peaking:
Gotta love that, right? It opened a little too late to attract butterflies, which is why I purchased it (I haven't seen any for a couple weeks now) but it's still a beautiful late season perennial. Those dark stems are what got it into the cart!
They should stay in bloom until our first hard frost which, sadly, could happen any time now. You know I always hope it's later rather than sooner!
Another perennial just starting to open is ~ Helianthus maximiliani or Maximilani Sunflower:
This native prairie perennial doesn't require a lot of water which is why it came to live in my front garden. I wish it would spread more but the five stalks that came up this year are the most since being planted three years ago. Their height is impressive ~ two are at least eight feet tall! It's hard to tell scale in a photo but maybe you can get the idea from the pic below:
I don't remember them waiting so late to bloom before but it's been a strange year as many of you know.
An annual that has kept me waiting is Leonotis nepetifolia 'staircase.' Started from seed & planted in the new oval bed, the plants grew and grew, eclipsing the birdhouse tuteur long ago. It was the end of September before a speck of color could be seen on the buds tho.
See them towering over the birdhouse?? They are so tall, they're first to catch the morning sun! Despite their height & unique bloom structure, I'm on the fence about whether they'll be included in any future garden. They always bloom so late (some years frosting before the buds open) I'm thinking I'd prefer something that would be in flower for a longer period of time...
The orange whirls are pretty cool tho and they provide great winter interest so who knows? I could change my mind again by next spring!
We had our first taste of cold weather this weekend. Blustery winds and highs Saturday in the low 40's. Brrr... I was busy all afternoon hauling tender plants indoors & covering others because of a freeze warning. It didn't happen but still, better safe than sorry, right?
Now I have the difficult choice of what to try & overwinter and what to let go.... I'm playing out the odds (in my head) of keeping everything!!!