The Last Flowers

Hesperanthus coccinea 'Major'
Hesperanthus (AKA Schizostylis) can continue to flower into early winter.

Autumn is beautiful. Golden light filters through the trees, with their jewel-bright leaves set against a vibrant blue sky. (If you’re lucky – and we have been.)

Except when it’s not. Friday was suddenly grey and cold here in the east of England. Autumn quickly became a bit more serious and a heavy shower of hail was a brusque reminder that winter isn’t far off. (And the clocks going back this weekend will mean that time spent in the garden will have to finish earlier. There’s still lots of work to do out there and I have been known to continue until it’s dark.)

As always, I’m planning for the future and growing as much as I can to provide myself with flowers and plants to photograph. At the moment I’m working on the last bit of planting for the year. It should make a difference to next autumn, as the plants are mostly late-flowering. One that I’ve chosen because it is so good to photograph is Hesperanthus, also known as ‘Crimson Flag’. (You can see it in the picture above.) The plant used to be called Schizostylis, but the name changed a few years ago. Gardening is confusing at times!

Geranium'Rozanne'
Geranium ‘Rozanne’ flowers for months and continues into October and November if trimmed back in late summer.

Despite the cold turn to the weather, there are still some flowers in the garden. Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (pictured above) is still flowering its little socks off. I planted it late last autumn, so this is the first year that I’ve been able to see how long it will continue. It has done really well – flowering from early in the summer and still being well-covered in flowers now. I’m really glad of this, because it’s my chosen subject for the last week of my Natural History Illustration course. There aren’t many other flowers left in the garden for me to draw! (You can read about the drawing class here. It has been very worthwhile and now I feel that I’ll be able to continue to learn on my own.)

Elsewhere in the garden, there is a sprinkling of penstemon flowers, the last of the asters that are just about to finish, and some small dark crimson dianthus (pinks) that seem content to flower for a long time. The happy surprise has been to see how well a clump of Gaura lindheimeri is doing. I’ve tried to grow it a couple of times before and lost it in cold winters. This plant has survived and has been in flower from early summer. Its white, moth-like flowers are now creating a delicately lovely picture in combination with the red fruits of crab-apple ‘Royal Beauty’.

Have you any suggestions for extending the flowering season towards winter? I’d love to know what you grow – please feel free to comment!

Gaura linderheimeri flower
Gaura linderheimeri flower in front of the fruits of malus ‘Royal Beauty’

 

6 thoughts on “The Last Flowers

  1. The blue of the geraniums Roxanne is fanstastic. Have planted some bright dark pink cyclamen and tiny orange rose, given as a present for indoors, in my outdoor window box, so will see how/if it survives.

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    1. Hi Mary! Thank you! 🙂 It’s a great geranium – flowers much longer than anything else. Your cyclamen and the rose sound as if they will look lovely. They’re a great size for a window box. Hope the rose survives – it probably will!

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  2. Hi Ann – Your flowers are gorgeous! The Hesperanthus looks a little like my pink Canna Lilies which have been blooming all summer here in the Florida, but my lilies are really messy and the bees love them. Since we don’t get many freezes, the flowers tend to last a while but don’t grow as fast in the winter. I have so much work to do in my little flower garden area. Your blue Rozanne flowers are real beauties too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Syd! Your climate in Florida must be very different from ours in the UK – and we don’t get many flowers in winter. So having the canna lilies over such a long time sounds like a real treat and a bonus that the bees enjoy them too. 🙂 Rozanne is great – extremely easy and one of the best for a long flowering time.

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