Monday, October 29, 2012

Late Asters

We have some fall color but the wind is playing havoc with the leaves. One of our chief trees for color in these parts is the red maple, which can be almost but not quite as spectacular as sugar maples. They are pretty sensitive to moisture levels though; a dry late summer and fall will squelch their fall show.

Members of the aster family are still going strong. Swamp sunflower is as sunny as ever.

I grew some zinnias from seed to liven up the plantings of tomatoes and lima beans. The lima beans are now growing rampantly after a hesitant start but never produced much. The sulfur butterflies like the zinnias.

Have I mentioned how much I love the purple of Aromatic asters?

The two pink dahlias have about half a dozen big flowers each. I never stake the dahlias because I never know whether they will make it through the summer, so their flowers always nod, but they are still beautiful. The dahlias would do best grown in pots, staked, and watered regularly. I may do that next year. Not sure about the winter storage though. I lost a lot when I tried storing them in pots under the house. I think the potting medium held too much moisture and the tubers stayed too wet. If you store dahlias over the winter what is your technique?

'Venus' is a late-flowering mum that never blooms in July or requires much care at all. Every October
I think I need to spread it around more and/or get some of the other late fall mums: 'Ryan's Pink' or 'Sheffield Pink' or 'Country Girl'. The bees and butterflies flock to these late season asters.

Red Admiral Butterfly

Monarch (top right) and Viceroy

The last three days we've had a lot of clouds and wind and last night we got almost 4/10ths of an inch of rain as Sandy made her way around us. At the coast many places got at least 8". For folks further north I sincerely hope that "frankenstorm" ends up being a Halloween hoax and not the real thing.


  1. Wow, great shots with bees and butterflies! I love purple mums too, their color is very bright. You still have summer!

  2. Beautiful flowers! All the pictures are great, but I especially like the pink ones.

  3. Wheather here is changing too. This has been a strange spring, with a little amount of sun and a lot of rain and strong winds. Im enjoying my roses inside! hahahah
    Your autumn garden looks amazing, so much colors and shapes. I love the aromatic asters!



  4. Your fall flowers are glorious. I especially love the Venus mums--so cheery and daisy-like, full of bees and butterflies. I grow the Sheffield Pink, but a lot of them died this summer. I don't know why. . . . Your pictures are wonderful as usual.

  5. Lovely images of all your asters, Sweetbay. I can see the bees and butterflies like them just as much as we do, too. I've been watching the news of Sandy--so much destruction. I hope you are far out of its path...and miss the snow, too.

  6. Gorgeous photos of the Red Admiral SB! It still looks so pretty there. Wish my zinnias were still going like yours. I've had a difficult time overwintering dahlias too. If I dig up the tubers & store in peat (like I've read to do) they always dry out. The years I've had the most luck, I've left them in their containers & stored them in the basement or garage. I hope you get this pink one to survive ~ it's really lovely.
    I am watching the storm coverage right now ~ wow, it looks terrible. :(

  7. Wish it was a hoax, this is a terrible storm. Love your photo of the dahlia buds...lovely. I have really liked Sheffield Pinks since the 90's ...had some before Isabel, another storm. lost all of them in the salt water.

  8. You have a lovely variety of daisy flowers - and insect life.
    I store my Dahlias in shallow plastic pots covered with dry potting compost. They stay in my frost free greenhouse (a fan heater ensures it does not fall below freezing).The compost remains dry until they sprout in Spring.

  9. You know I love native plants but, the Sheffies and dahlias are stunning in your garden. Marvelous pollinator captures...How much longer before you have a killing frost? Hasn't happened here, yet.

  10. I love your dahlias! I have completely given up on them. My tall ones always fall over and need tons of water. Love the butterfly/bee shots. Sheffield Pinks are super easy to grow. :o)

  11. It is a treat to look at your pictures of butterflies and flowers. Here we have had rain everyday for about a week. I know the garden needs the moisture after last summer's drought, but the endless grey days are depressing. Your flowers are such a welcome change of pace!

  12. I love your butterfly and bee photos. Your garden still looks beautiful! Zinnias are still blooming for me too and are a great attraction to the butterflies.

  13. Such a pleasure to see all these lovely photos. If I haven't mentioned it before, thanks so much for following my blog.

  14. I always love your insect photos. The butterflies are beautiful. Amazing to see so many colorful flowers so late in the year.
    Hope Frankenstorm didn't cause you too much trouble. My son and daughter in law in New Jersey were out of power for 3 days but otherwise ok.

  15. Your light levels look so much brighter than over here at the moment on this dank November day.


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