October 14, 2008

A Long Growing Season in the Flower Garden

It occurred to me yesterday that my flower garden has been in some stage of bloom since April. It's now mid-October and there is still quite a bit of color. This is the first time that I've had a garden with seven months of flowers. Granted, everything doesn't bloom all at once, but there are a few peaks.

My garden is still very young. The oldest parts were planted in autumn of 2005 when the construction of our house was completed. The major portions of the outer gardens (the butterfly garden and the front garden) were planted in 2007. So, I'm happily surprised by a long growing season.

The big performance right now comes from the salvia varieties. I'm turning my thoughts to a few fall blooming companions to tuck next to those mass plantings. The 'Dark Dancer' has a crape myrtle and pink muhly grass to help out with a vignette.

The red greggii are massive enough to stand alone with a few tall verbena that are still in full bloom, nepeta foliage, pineapple sage in bloom, red snapdragons, foliage from crocosmia and blooms of a 'Purple Majesty' salvia. I have moved some gaillardia to that area for blooms next year.

Other bloomers right now include the Knock Out® Roses, Encore® Azaleas, garden phlox, agastache 'Purple Haze', 'Black Adder' and 'Salmon and Pink'. The creeping perennial heliotrope is still in bloom in the hottest areas while it has stopped blooming in areas with less sun. The original mass of gaillardia are in bloom, but have more seed heads than blooms right now. The new 'Grape Sensation' gaillardia is still in bloom as are the newer salvias 'Texas Wedding' and 'Diane'.

With more temperatures in the 80s forecast for this week, I'm expecting this bloom season to last through the end of October. Not bad for a young garden!

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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