End of October Update: After the “F”

Northeast corner bed on 10-28-18.

Hello folks! I hope you are all doing well. Our first frost came and went and as usual, it warmed up again. I think that’s what I don’t like most about the “F”. The plants get ZAPPED then it warms up again! After moving the potted plants in I can move them back out after a few days. Not all the perennials were affected, though, and some are quite enjoying the cooler temperatures. I took a lot of photos today and still wound up with 80 after editing. I usually take two of each in case one is blurry or comes out whacky. Sooo… Do I put them all on one post or spread them out? I think all at once this time. 🙂 Never know what tomorrow will bring and it may take a week or more if I spread them all out… Been there done that…

The top photo is of the northeast corner bed. The Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’ is still looking very good (even without flowers). Pretty much everything else has given up. There are still a few green leaves on the Coloclinum coelestinum.


The Gomphrena globosa ‘Gnome White’ did awesomely well all summer but one ZAP did them in…


The poor Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine’ was looking so GREAT the day before the “F”. Darn it! The Heliotrope is always one of my favorite annuals and this one did better than others I have planted in the past. Hopefully, I can find it again next spring.


And what do we have here under everything? Oh yeah! I almost forgot about the Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis). When I planted it in this bed I didn’t expect for it to get covered up. Then the Conoclinum coelestinum came up late and it really did get covered up then. Every time I checked on it it was still alive, though. It was a tiny cluster of plants to start with and now there is only one stem. Maybe it will survive the winter and come back up in the spring. We shall see. I will have to put a stake by it so I will know where it is because it will either die or go likely go dormant…

On the other side of the steps…


The Monarda didyma ‘Cherry Pops’ is still alive and well. This is the only Monarda I have grown that hasn’t gotten mildew and died. I know there are mildew resistant cultivars but I have not seen any locally. The Monarda fistulosa growing in the pastures are all gone now, but they aren’t bothered with mildew either.


The Conoclinum coelestinum (Hardy Ageratum, etc.) in this bed are still green and lively although their flowers don’t look so hot. I hope they reseed for next year and come up a little earlier this time… Maybe I should save some seed because I would hate to completely lose these plants. Dad got his start from Aunt Inez (his mother’s sister) many, many years ago. Last winter was very hard on them…


The Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ had a very good summer and grew quite a bit. It is the worlds largest Hosta and will grow larger next year. Supposedly it will mature after five years…


The Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ did well this summer and still looks good after getting ZAPPED. I forgot to take a photo of the other one…


The Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ (Creeping Jenny) had a great summer and spread even more. It spread clear up to the front of the steps! It seems to do much better in more sun even though I keep telling it to spread more in the shade. It just won’t listen!


Well, now that’s just pitiful! The Colocasia esculenta got ZAPPED and now it is growing new leaves. The smaller ones I planted on the north side of the chicken house and under a few trees (I have so many!) didn’t even get ZAPPED and are still alive and well. The Xanthosoma sagittifolium is doing well in the basement. It still thinks I lost my mind for putting it in a pot and putting it in the dark.


I know I need to just dig them up and store them for winter but I haven’t gotten around to it yet… Next thing you know, this one will be blooming like the other one… Well, I think that time has passed. This isn’t Mississippi.

Now for the south bed…


The Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ is as happy as ever. It doesn’t mind the heat of the summer or the cooler temperatures. The big flower pot behind it is on standby for later. I turn the pot over and stuff the whole plant inside the pot during the winter. Trust me, when the temperature drops, it will fit one way or another. This frost wasn’t a freeze, but when the time comes and we are going to have a hard one… It will fit. Then when we have warm days, I uncover it to get some sun. Eventually, however, it will turn brown and go dormant. Seems like a lot of trouble for a plant, I know, but I think its worth it. Truthfully, it may survive without the trouble but I am not ready to take the risk yet. It isn’t supposed to be hardy here but it has survived five winters so far… Thanks to the pot. 🙂 It will fit.


The Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’ which turned out not to be a ‘Lunar Eclipse’ thinks its time to grow new leaves. I sheared it a while back to give the Phlomis more sun because it was getting carried away. Maybe this coming spring it will decide to be a ‘Lunar Eclipse’ after all…


The south bed has certainly seen better days. The Celosia argentea var. spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ had another successful summer. Now it can drop THOUSANDS of seeds for next spring… If you would like some seed, just ask… I have to send some to Raphael Goverts, senior content editor at Kew, so you just as well have some, too. He asked for some seed and I am happy to send them. Once they grow, I hope it encourages them to re-evaluate and change the name back to Celosia spicata instead of saying it is a Celosia argentea… At least include the infraspecific name Celosia argentea var. spicata as a legitimate name. Whether that happens or not, I am calling it that anyway. 🙂 Nuff said… (for now). Well, it is totally impossible for Celosia spicata to be a synonym of Deeringia spicata!


I was very surprised to see Ms. Argiope still alive and kicking… She seems to have lost some weight though.


The Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’ is still flowering as are the…


Salvia pratensis ‘Midnight Model’ and…


Salvia farinacea Cathedral ‘Blue Bicolor’.


The Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ is still OK but it flowered poorly all summer. It says it was on vacation after five years… It may be secretly on strike because it wants a sunnier location. I moved the Elephant Garlic that was growing behind it because I thought it might spread a little better then it barely flowered. What’s a guy to do? It follows my 15-second rule about complaining, which I am grateful for. Complain for only 15 seconds about a subject and you will always know what I think… It complained about the Butterfly Bush in 2014 and I still know it isn’t happy about it… When I removed the Elephant Garlic, all it said was, “Ummm…”…


All the Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar) are still alive. I am not going to mention their seeds… I will just say they are well prepared for future generations.


The southeast corner bed can speak for itself… There are plenty of Brocade Marigld seeds here and in the corner by the back porch. If you would like some seed, just ask and I will happily send some to you.


The Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) I brought from Mississippi is still looking great. I know I have mentioned it is my favorite shrub several times, but it is my favorite shrub. They are evergreen in the south, but here, if the winter is very cold it will go dormant.


The three Angelonia angustifolia ‘Perfectly Pink’ are not dead yet but the “F” knocked their flowers off. Angelonia are perennial but maybe not here. We shall see when spring arrives… You just never know what kind of winter to expect.


The Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) I out in the southeast bed is looking good still.


All the Elephant Garlic started coming up a while back and will remain green and growing most of the winter. It just depends on the temperature. Last January was definitely a test for their hardiness.



The Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears) is enjoying the cooler weather.


The two maple trees on the south side are looking really nice now but the two in the front yard haven’t even changed color yet.


The roses between the basement steps and back porch are flowering pretty good now. They can flower all they want without the Japanese Beetles eating them now…



You don’t have to say much about Roses. They speak well on their own…


All of the Iris are getting on with their fall growth and the Iris x violipurpurea ‘Black Gamecock’ is really spreading! There have never been this many!


Dad’s red Cannas… That’s all I can say…


The Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) is very hardy and will remain green pretty much all winter. I have been really surprised how well it has done in this old fill dirt along the wall. This will be its second winter.

Now, for the “other yard”.

The big old maple tree in the “other yard” (where my grandparents lived) is all glowing in its autumn colors.


The Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) may appear to have been set back by the “F”, but it is just pretending. It has a hidden agenda…




Those dead flowers are LOADED… That is just a small sample.


The ZAP didn’t affect the Sempervivum x ‘Killer’ one bit. It wants to flower even more! This is its first year flowering and it doesn’t want to stop.


The Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla)… Like I mentioned before, it looks different every time I take photos. It grew this long branch this summer and now looks lop-sided… GEEZ! With spines like this who would want to argue with it?


The Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’ loses most of its leaves during the winter but it will be fine…


The Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegata’ loses more than its leaves but it will be fine, too. If it can survive last winter, it can survive this winter. It has survived since 2012…


This Sedum spurium, maybe ‘Dragon’s Blood’ keeps its leaves most of the winter. It was unnamed when I brought it home but I am 99.9% sure it is a Sedum spurium but only 40% sure it is ‘Dragon’s Blood’.


The Sedum kamtschaticum has been weird most of the summer. I kept the Celosia from growing in this bed this summer so it could have more sun but it decided to be silly. It sprawled out and developed a hole in the center of the clump. It never did that before. I don’t know…


This is the rest of the Echinacea purpurea (Purple Cone Flower) I dug up from the, um… In front of the sign up the street. They did very well and I am hoping to spread them out in this bed this coming spring.


This is the northeast corner bed next to the old foundation in “the other yard”. The rhubarb completely went dormant after the “F” but the horseradish is looking great! I didn’t deadhead the Rudbeckia hirta (the wildflower) or Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’. The Rudbeckia hirta will spread by seed while R. fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ seems only to spread by rhizomes. They need to be spread out more this coming spring…


There are a lot of Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ in there. Want some? They don’t spread that much in a shadier location, but give them full sun… Yeah, they like it a lot! They are drought tolerant but do like a little extra water when it stays hot and dry for several weeks in the summer.


The rhubarb and horseradish need to go to the garden istead of being in the flower bed.

Now for the shade beds…


The Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ looks a little beaten up but it is still green. Most Hostas get a little weird when the temps start cooling down even before an “F”. Once they have performed well all summer they are ready for a winter’s hibernation…


Umm… That is, or was, the big and beautiful Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’.


Believe it or not, this is Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’…


Hosta ‘Guacamole’ #1 still looks pretty good…


Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ (right) almost looks variegated now. H. ‘Dancing Queen’ doesn’t look like a gold Hosta when the temps get cooler because its leaves turn green. I forgot to take a good photo of the new Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ (in the background). I am hoping it survives the winter and proves to me it really is a Hosta ‘Blue Angel’. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ should be a large plant but this clump looks more like some miniature cultivar. If it doesn’t grow like it should next spring, then it definitely is NOT a ‘Blue Angel’. It is possible Mast’s supplier used a growth retardant but I can’t imagine why they would do that with a Hosta unless they didn’t ant to put them in a larger pot…


Although this photo is a little blurry, the Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ made a great comeback this past summer. The mole runs in the other bed may have been one of its biggest problems.


The Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ also made a great comeback after many died last winter.


Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ is growing new leaves like it was spring. It didn’t do that well this summer. I really need to mulch the shade beds better to keep the soil damper and cooler. The Japanese Beetle invasion didn’t help either when they stripped the leaves off the Chinese Elm trees…


Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ definitely wants to hibernate for the winter.


Heuchera ‘Venus’ is also enjoying the cooler temperatures. It did fairly well all summer but not as well as 2017.

Heuchera ‘Southern Comfort’ got off to a bad start and ultimately didn’t make it.


Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ wants to hibernate, too.


Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ says a blanket would be nice…


Hosta ‘Guacamole’ #2 is also still looking pretty good. I still think I will put this one back with #1 in the spring. I don’t like the same plants in different locations…


The Hosta ‘Red October’ never quite recovered from its issue with the mole run in the other bed this spring. I put them in two different locations but will put them back together this spring.


Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’ was new this spring and it has done well all summer.


Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ was one one of the top performers this summer despite its small size.


The Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail) went nuts as usual… Many people comment about how neat it looks but none have committed to taking any home with them/ 🙂 This has proven to be a perfect location for the Equisetum, but it thinks any location is perfect.


The Achillea millefolium has done fair in front of the chicken house but it trying to sneak around the corner. It says it doesn’t get enough sun but I told it that was a good thing. Somehow it doesn’t believe me… I think its funny how the Achillea will move all by itself… The clump I moved in front of the barn is doing well but I think the cows reach through the fence and nibble on it… Of course, there are still two clumps in the north bed… One is completely in the sun now and I have no idea how it got there.

Now, it’s time to get the cows from the back pasture…


It is strange how all the Mulberry trees on the farm have practically lost all their leaves except for the one that is leaning. It leaning over is strange in itself. It just started doing that last spring…


It was 6:30 PM when I took this shot. The air is getting cooler and there was hardly any breeze at all. No birds chirping, no cicada making their evening racket, no lightning bugs (fireflies)… All the bugs and butterflies have found shelter for the evening.


The north hayfield is full of Redtop that grows after the hay is baled.


Not sure why I took this photo of an old hedge post (Osage Orange) covered with dead Virginia Creeper.


I finally finished mowing the back pasture so the cows can go to the back and graze. A friend and I had to work on the mower before I could use it. The old mower had a wheel but no tire and dad may have bought it that way. I had been using it like that but not allowing the wheel to touch the ground. Then, this past summer when I was mowing brush, the pin came off of the gizmo the wheel is on. I bought a new one but the pipe the gizmo goes through was too small. So, we got another pipe and my friend cut the old one off and welded the new one on. Good to have a friend with a cutting torch and welder. Good to have help when you need it, too.


The cows really enjoy being in the back pasture.


When I go get them to bring them back to the front pasture all I usually have to go is say, “Come on. Let’s go.” Well, usually that works. If it doesn’t I get a stick and smack it on a tree limb or something. Then they say, “Oh, now the human has a stick.”


They are growing their winter fur now…

One of the best things about fall is…


The persimmons…


I always have to eat as many as I can find on the ground. They are the ultimate fall fruit. 🙂 Just don’t bite into one that isn’t ripe. :):)

My sister asked before what was inside the seed. She said that someone posted on Facebook that there was a spoon inside the seed. People used many methods in the past to predict winter weather but most are just myth. I have checked persimmon seeds in the past and they all have an image of a spoon inside no matter what the weather is like during the winter. It’s like looking at the Wooly Bear Wooly Worm. As folklore says, it depends on how many black bands are on the wooly worm. Research has shown that the color of the bands reflects the past summers weather and not the upcoming winter.


On the way back to the front pasture, July had to lag behind as always. She enjoys a good scratch behind the ears. I kept telling her to come on because the other cows were way ahead of her. She looked at me and said, “You don’t have a stick…” So, I left her behind and caught up with the other cows. Eventually, she started coming and a few of the other cows started mooing at her… Cows can be quite entertaining sometimes.

Well, that is it for this post. I have been working on the pages to the right, getting them updated, adding links for further reading, etc. I still have a lot of pages to add but that will be a winter project. I am not sure what all I will blog about over the winter but I am sure I will think of something. Have any suggestions? I promise I will start reading more of your posts over the winter, too. I changed the email address to where your posts will be sent so I think that will help.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay warm (or cool depending on where you are). As always, my friends, GET DIRTY!

8 comments on “End of October Update: After the “F”

  1. Jim R says:

    A lot of plants are showing familiar signs of autumn. We just got back from Peru. They are going into the springtime and rainy season down there. We saw some incredible sights.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. janesmudgeegarden says:

    It’s almost worth having a frost when you get coloured leaves like those on the maple.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Jane! As much as I dread a “you know what”, I realize there is some good as a result. I can’t believe I just wrote that. Maybe I should edit. Fall colors are definitely nice and so are the persimmons. 🙂 Cooler temperatures are a blessing and the nostalgic feeling we get thinking about the past summer and what we hope for in the next. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pixydeb says:

    Hi Rooster
    Thankyou for all those pictures – I think it’s the sign of a real plant lover that we still want to look at loads pictures of half dead plants! (- what they look like to non-planties!) so it looks like your salvias are holding up well .. mine are too: hot lips & amistad still going well despite 2 degrees at the weekend
    Love the pictures of the autumn trees & the long shots of the land surrounding you – what a beautiful place – you lucky, also the cows seem like good friends🐮
    During winter I would like to hear about- trees near you, insects perhaps & also the local history of where you live right back to the start.
    So what will happen with the cannas over the winter ? & when your leaves on the plants get ZAPPED (!) do you tidy or just leave then to disappear the natural way?
    I’d really love to have a package of seeds from you – whatever is spare- but are we allowed to send them across the Atlantic??
    Have you ever grown Amaranthus? I went to a garden with college friends last week & it was stunning – it’s an annual I think, but great colour Also saw other new plants – Perilla, Calceolaria pavonii, Enkianthus perulatus, one of which has amazing shaped leaves. Anyway keep blogging & keep warm 😬

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Debbie! What a comment! Where do I begin? I do save some of the leaves for mulch and tidy a little bit. Some perennials have hollow stems that water can collect and freeze during the winter which is not a good thing. Last fall I pretty much removed everything from the south bed and then we had a severely cold January. Then the leaves I put on the bed were blown away with all the wind. So, I think it is best to leave the stubble behind which will help to keep the leaves intact. I may cut back the Celosia but I am not going to pull them up until spring. The Hosta are a different story, though. The ground needs to freeze before applying a mulch so I need to be prepared for that when the time comes. Sending seeds to you is not a problem. As I mentioned, I am going to send seeds to Raphael Goverts at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. I have ordered seeds from Poland, which I haven’t planted yet, and had no problems. I did grow Amaranthus caudatus and viridis (Love Lies Bleeding) when I was in Mississippi but haven’t grown it here yet. No telling what I may post about over the winter. Maybe about the birds like last winter. I have photos of a few butterflies I didn’t post about yet. Glad you visited a garden with college friends last week and I will have to check out the Enkiathus perulatus. Thanks for the great comment!


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