Bloom Day October 2022

Technically, it’s the day after Bloom Day, which lands on the 15th of every month. Director of the Bloom Day production for garden bloggers is May Dreams Gardens, and it’s a great repository of blog reports recording bloom times from gardens in zones around the world. I’ve consulted quite a few of these blogs in making this coastal Oregon garden, in jumping from zone 10b to 8b.

Japanese sunflower in October is taller in size, with smaller flowers

Early morning, 6-7ish, in the garden yesterday, the temperature gauge read 40F, slightly colder than recent October mornings but in the ballpark. Comfortable in a robe with a steaming cup of coffee, enjoying the “coolth” emanating from the plants, abruptly I had the distinct impression of walking into an undercurrent of very warm air, as though leaving a cold room and entering a warmer one. It was such a strong sensation that I checked the garage for any equipment or heaters left on. Marty felt it too, but in a different part of the garden. It was as though pockets of incoming warm air from the east hadn’t become fully incorporated yet, like streaky cake batter before it’s been thoroughly combined. An infrared view of the swirling air currents would have been fascinating. Checking the weather forecast, it was projected to be 80F, and by the end of the day it was corrected to 89F — a rare high for the coast. The warm dry air felt just like the Santa Ana winds back home in Los Angeles. Today we’re back in the mid 60sF.

I grew this way back in zone 10 when it was still an aster — Eurybia divaricata. Good presence all season, loves dry shade but growing in almost full sun here at the coast.
Aster lateriflorus var. horizontalis ‘The Prince’ is a big fan of zone 8b, not zone 10b.
taller and less dense in flower, Aster lateriflorus var. horizontalis ‘Lady in Black’ — note the spikes of Lysimachia atropurpurea ‘Beaujolais’ which surprised me by flowering late in September
This mix of asters, snaps, and lysimachia pretty much sums up all the other garden moments that happen once and never again. I doubt I could plan it again. The aster is predictable in bloom, not so much the lysimachia. And since I won’t be growing snaps from seed, it’s doubtful I’ll find plants again next July, or that I’d be likely to purchase them again as the garden fills up. A first-year garden moment.
Lobelia tupa off schedule, throwing its first bloom in late September, which opened yesterday
Another first-year anomaly, Stipa gigantea blooming in late September rather than early summer.
Salvia uliginosa’s wands of flowers are so much fatter here than zone 10 — the individual florets aren’t shattered by the heat but hold on, building into big blue brushes of bloom — very alliteration worthy!
Rudbeckia triloba works well with the bog sage, similar height and breezy growth habit
schisostylis/hesperantha — with buds still closed in the morning
Various miscanthus were very late to put on growth and are just now gaining height and flowering. This is ‘Flamingo.’
Salvia ‘Amante’ and Verbena bonariensis have been rock stars in a stock tank all summer. This salvia, however, is the first and possibly only plant to wilt when temps get relatively high, like yesterday.

It’s not looking likely that Lepechinia hastata will flower this year, or possibly any year here in zone 8b. Ditto for Salvia pulchella x involucrata. But if they make it through winter, I’ll keep them if only for their leaves. It’s been a lovely autumn, I hope for you as well.

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5 Responses to Bloom Day October 2022

  1. Kris P says:

    Your zone 8b garden is very floriferous! I love all the asters, which I suspect the colder winter weather will prevent from running rampant. It’s interesting how plants look so different in one zone versus another – I’d have never recognized Salvia uliginosa if you hadn’t identified it.

  2. Gerhard Bock says:

    You have so many plants I’m completely unfamiliar with–probably because they’d croak in our Sacramento Valley summer heat. So cool that you get to garden in two completely different climates.

    I love your description of that pocket of warm air!

  3. Elaine says:

    Love your description re: pockets of warm air. We notice this at times but with cooler air that settles in a slight dip in the topography. For a first year garden it looks lush and full. The mixes of textures, delicate blooms and pops of colour really give it a more mature look. Ironic how only two zones can make such a difference in how plants cope.

  4. hb says:

    Seems like it would be refreshing to see what grows in a different climate. Having fun?

    What do gardeners there worry about instead of drought?

  5. Denise says:

    @Kris, for a bloom day post I feature flowers! This little horizontalis aster is very different from the typical fall asters — very tiny flowers but good dark leaves all season, growing almost shrub-like.
    @Gerhard, I wish my two gardens could be accessed via a garden gate! But yes, it’s very absorbing to deal with entirely new conditions.
    @Elaine, thanks for your supportive words! I’ve just started the front garden, going very slow because we just can’t deal with pulling all that sod at once. And we want to build a fence for Billie eventually, maybe next spring.
    @Hoov, yes, having loads of fun — any gardener would! Lots to worry about — very late frosts, excessive rain, flooding, wind. The farmers have their hands full.

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