November GBBD: Prime Time
It is the middle of the month and time to participate in Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day hosted by May Dreams Gardens where gardeners from all over the world publish photos of what’s blooming in their gardens. I participate because it is fun and educational for me to identify what plants make my gardens shine at different times of the year. I also hope that my customers will get some ideas for plants to add to their own gardens to extend their season well into fall. I am also joining my friend Donna’s Word for Wednesday theme of texture and pattern at her blog Garden Walk Garden Talk.
My garden is located in Bryn Mawr (outside Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, U.S., in zone 6B.
In colder months there is a tendency to include GBBD photos of anything with a flower, and I may do that in January. But fall is still prime time in my gardens (no hard frost yet) so I am showing here only plants that are at their peak between October 15 and November 15 (I do not take all my photos on November 15). This means that they bloom now (or are still blooming), have ornamental fruit, or feature exceptional fall color during this period. For more ornamental ideas for fall, see A Few Fall Favorites for Flowers and A Few Fall Favorites for Foliage and Fruit.
Let’s start with perennials:
Yes, the snowdrop season has started with Galanthus reginae-olgae, which has been blooming since mid-October. Fall-blooming ‘Potter’s Prelude’ has just produced its first flowers as has the giant snowdrop, G. elwesii, but they will be featured next month .
When I was touring Chanticleer this spring one of the gardeners gave me a clump of this very late-blooming monkshood, Aconitum sp. I am not sure what species it is, but I am loving it’s dark violet-blue flowers.
Gorgeous ‘Moudry’ black fountain grass, Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’, is one of the most asked about perennials in my fall garden and is well behaved here, but it can spread aggressively in some sites.
Hellebore season has started too with this little gem that was sold to me as Helleborus dumetorum (no common name), probably mislabeled. Christmas rose ‘Josef Lemper’ has been blooming for quite a while but has no fresh flowers now. I will include it next month.
Here are some trees and shrubs that I would grow for their ornamental contribution to the fall garden from flowers or berries:
All my fall-blooming camellias are covered with flowers. The first four pictured below are Ackerman hybrids, which are hardy in zone 6 see Fall-Blooming Camellias Part 1, and the final plant is one of their parents:
Fall-blooming Camellia oleifera was introduced to the U.S. from China in 1948. In 1980, Dr. Ackerman at the U.S. National Arboretum noticed that it alone survived the U.S. mid-Atlantic’s cold winters and began crossing it with non-hardy fall-blooming species to produce what are now known as the Ackerman hybrids. My camellia in the photo above is a seedling from the original C. oleifera ‘Lu Shan Snow’ at the National Arboretum.
There are dozens of plants that are vying to be included on GBBD because of their beautiful fall color. However, I have decided to showcase only the seven that I think are exceptional, including disanthus pictured above and at the very beginning of the post:
Another woody with 365 days of interest, coral bark maple, Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’, has stunning and long-lasting fall color. For more information on this lovely tree, read Coral Bark Maple.
Pennsylvania native sugar maple, Acer saccharum, has gorgeous orange fall color. Pictured above is a sugar maple tree in my garden that turns red instead of orange. Sadly, when the iconic Princeton Nursery closed its doors, they had been evaluating it for seven years for possible introduction.
Enjoy your fall, Carolyn
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Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed for the year. Look for the snowdrop catalogue (snowdrops are available mail order) in January 2012 and an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012. If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.