Garden Report: October 4

It's October, which means the chrysanthemum is blooming. The first blossom opened up right on the first day of autumn, which is really charming. Many people do not like mums, but I have a lot of unusual and dramatic plants in the garden, so their neutrality and background nature works well for me. And they are one of the few plants that really shines at this time of the year in this climate, when most everything else has been sort of beaten into the ground by the extended drought that is our summer.


This mum (my only mum) is now so large that I need to divide it, which I will do this winter. It's kind of planted in a stupid spot, anyway, in a small pot sunk in the ground (obviously it has totally grown through the pot by now and the pot will have to be broken off it), right at the edge of a bed instead of in the center as a nice solid backdrop for other plants. When I divide it I will put it in a more appropriate spot.

Also in bloom and being very charming are the hydrangea. This is "Ayesha," initially chosen for fairly obvious reasons (I say my own name with one fewer syllable, but given the number of times I ever find anything with my name on it in the US, closeness counts). But even having been chosen to grace the front of our house on the basis of variety name alone, "Ayesha" is a mighty fine hydrangea. And naturally pink, which is pretty much the dominant colour of the front garden.

Hydrangea in bloom

Our big news is the rain, which started Friday night. That means fall planting can happen, and it also means we will have a little surge in blooms before the decreasing light makes everything go away until February. This picture of Goldie sitting on some damp sand is intended to illustrate the fact that it rained, but most telling is that by the time the sun came up this morning, any puddles that might have formed overnight were long gone: sucked up by the very very dry ground.

Goldie on the wet path: rain has started

And because it is fall planting time, I'm kind of inundated right now. Earlier this week my bulb order arrived (so the tulips could be pre-chilled). (I will never give up on tulips, even though they are a ridiculous waste of money.)

Half the bulb order

This half of the order doesn't need pre-chilling, which means it needs planting. I have a little chart of where they will go in my notebook, which is a rare kind of deliberateness for me.

Also arriving in the mail on Friday was my fall plant order from Bluestone. I was careful, when making the order, to mark up a garden plan with the places where I intended to plant the things I chose, and I was even able to find a copy of that plan. It's just a matter of getting out there and digging.

Plants from Bluestone

And because there is nothing like excess, this morning I went to the Fall Planting Party at Annie's Annuals and picked up a couple of flats full of plants, with much less planning and care about where they will actually go. (25% off! How could I possibly be expected to stop and think carefully about where exactly a plant was going to go, under the circumstances?)

Plants from Annie's

The only one I've gotten in the ground so far is this Salvia: the label is half unprinted, and it's not on the web site, so until I either remember or go check the salvia book at the library I can only tell you the name starts with "hum" and is not Hummingbird Sage (which is actually Salvia spathaceae).


It's been ages since I went on a plant binge like this. It was kind of fun.

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posted by ayse on 10/04/08