Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Favorites...this month!

Autumn Favorites

Summers in Florida are long and hot, so when autumn rolls around there's much to celebrate...crisp mornings, pleasantly warm afternoons, low humidity, soft golden sunlight, and LOTS of color.

It's not our tree color that will take your breath away...
it's the flower color...in every shade imaginable...that puts a smile on my face.

So, please forgive me in advance  for this long post on my October favorites....but autumn makes me a very, very happy gardener. 


Roses love autumn, too, and Sombreuill's (antique French variety) simple beauty and intoxicating fragrance is wonderful. I love the unique color and the name of the waxy-feeling flower of Allamanda 'Cherries Jubilee'.  The bright yellow Cassia "Alata' or, as I prefer...Candlestick bloom is a real eye-catcher and a favorite of the Cloudless Sulphur butterflies, and the chubby little bumble bee you see in the photo. Right on schedule, the Sasanqua camellias 'Sparkling Burgundy'...which are loaded with buds...will bloom into winter. And, lastly this cute little red tubular flower (sorry, but I don't know the name...perhaps someone can identify it for me) is popular with the hummers.

The orchids got off to a late start this year, but the wait was well worth it.

Soft purple and green foliage seems to dominate the autumn garden. The pretty cordyline was one I received as a passalong plant from my neighbor Nancy. Striking leather-looking foliage on the Alocasia 'Amazonica' was what attracted me to this plant...it's a real standout in the garden. One of my newly favorite plants is the Lorapetlum 'Ruby'. I love the dark-colored leaves in shades of burgundy and green, and the dark hot pink flowers that it produces a couple times of year is the icing on the cake. And, lastly American Beauty Berry is so very pretty in the garden....and, the birds love it, too!

Ornamental grasses are so fall...don't you think? The upper left and lower right...at different stages...are from the same large variegated variety of grass. It was a variety that was unfortunately unnamed when I purchased it, but I liked it so much that I decided to give it a try, and it has done well over the last two years. Other ornamental grasses shown are Pink Muhly and Red Fountain.

Wild Things
In my wildlife area, I let the native wildflowers take over in the spring and fall. I was delighted to discover the plant...Showy Rattlebox 'Crotalaria spectabilis'...with the pretty stalk of yellow flowers. They look like little orchids. I'm definitely going to save some seeds from it. The upper left photo with the yellow stuff on a rotting log appears to be some kind of fungi. I love the bright yellow color. And, the cute little pink flower...I think it's some kind of mallow is a favorite of the Bumble Bees.

Autumn's Simple Pleasures

Chrysanthemums are the quintessential autumn flower. While some folks might think of them as too old-fashioned or ordinary a flower...it wouldn't feel like autumn to me without these traditional beauties gracing my front and back porch.

I love their scent, too!
                Pretty at all stages of bloom.

Just take a look at their simple beauty!

This year I'm borrowing an idea from my neighbor, and planting these in the ground. He's got a nice sized patch of yellow mums that rebloom twice each year, and they look stunning in his garden.

Breakfast on the Patio
Coffee and hot chocolate...with marshmallows, of course...along, with some apple streusel muffins for breakfast enjoyed on a refreshingly cool morning.

What amazing autumn color is in your Florida garden?
 If you'd like to join me in posting your favorites for the month, please do...they don't have to be in collage form...but do leave a comment, so I can drop by and see your favorites.


daisy said...

Thanks for identifying the yellow orchid-like plant. I'm off now to see what else I can find out about this volunteer in my backyard. daisy

Floridagirl said...

Wow! Wonderful orchids! I'm actually glad to hear that yours were slow to get going, as I've had no blooms for months. Still waiting.... Love that camellia! Camellias are one of my favorite things about fall, though none of mine are blooming yet. Love the candlestick too...my sister grows those.

We've not done hot chocolate yet this fall, but of course, I will have to copy the idea now. Hot chocolate and muffins on the lanai! Awesome! There have been a couple of mornings when it would've been cool enough.

sanddune said...

Hi Susan,
Your Orchids look fantastic. The Beautyberry bush is cool also. I have a few of the purple berry clusters on mine but the Mockingbirds are eating the berrys off as fast as they grow.

Ami said...

Susan: I am glad that my post fits your Meme this month so well, all about "Autumn colors"! Your orchids are just stunning! I found everytime I went to HD or Costco, I want to bring some orchids home. That camellia is beautiful, now I am wonder if I can find one for my garden too.

Susan said...

Daisy...I'm glad to hear you have the same wildflower. I looked it up in a Florida wildflower book, but haven't been able to find out much about it online. Let me know if you find some info.

FloridaGirl...I hope your orchids start blooming soon. I think spending the winter indoors really set them back. I had to spray them with fertilizer to force them into bloom.

Sanddune...I hope I can root or grow from seed more beautyberries. They are such a neat plant, plus they do well in shade.

Hi Ami...This particular camellia 'sparkling burgundy' blooms early and produces lots and lots of flowers. I bought it at HD, and I suspect you might find it there very soon.

Char's Gardening said...

I love your orchids they are beautiful. Maybe one day soon I will be brave enough to try to grow some.

Rainforest Gardener said...

Do you leave any of your orchids outside in winter? I'm sure I've already asked at some point, but I'm making cold hardy orchids my big to-do since I have my share of cold hardy bromeliads now. Beautiful photos!

NanaK said...

So much gorgeousness! No wonder you love Fall in your garden. Your many orchids are looking grand. I have two phals that barely made it after I mistreated them this winter but are now sending up bloom stalks. (I took your advice and put those little fertilizer packets in them when I repotted them.)

I, too, have noticed that yellow wild flower blooming along the roadsides. Thanks for IDing it. How nice to have a wildflower area of your own.

Breakfast looks scrumptious.

Meems said...

Oh, Susan, your autumn garden is alive with blooms and colors. I'm so with you that autumn gives us much to celebrate! This October has been a beautiful month. (It looked like you might have gotten some rain today from the looks of the radar~~ I hope so ~~ we really could use a good shower).

Gorgeous orchids! Great foliage! Love the grasses! And your goodies this month are making me wish it was even cooler.

My post of favorites is up. Thanks for hosting.

Antique ART Garden said...

Beautiful pictures, are you using some photo service to do the mosaics ? I need to do some of those, I like the big mosaic pictures and not the ones where someone crams 15-20 pics into one grouping. very nice, Gina

Susan said...

Char...They're really not that difficult, but I have to worn you that they are addictive. :-)

Steve...All of our orchids come inside when the temps dip below 50 except for the cymbidiums which we left outside all last winter...without any damage. We thought the cold weather might prompt them into blooming, but no such luck.

Hi Kay...Glad to hear your orchids are getting ready to bloom. I think the cold weather really set them back. That wildflower really is a pretty little plant. It doesn't look scruffy like some wild plants do.

Susan said...

Hi Meems...We did (thank God) get a small shower last night. I can't believe how dry everything is. Hopefully, we'll get back into a normal rain pattern. That would certainly help. Thanks for joining in this month. I'll be right over to check out your favorites.

Hi Gina...I use Picasa by Google. There was a little bit of a learning curve, but it's really not difficult and definitely a lot of fun. I think you can download the Picasa program from blogger. If you have any questions, please ask.

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

I love your blog! I wish I was there to have some hot chocolate and muffins with you. And those mosaics of the plants! Terrific!

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