As The Blooms Fade

Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter.  ~ Carol Bishop Hipps


Our first freeze was Saturday morning.  The temp dipped to 29 degrees which froze the flowers still bravely blooming and sugar coated the leaves everywhere.  The ground was hard and the air was chilled as I ventured out to see the damage and the beauty.  This is the first stage in the demise of my garden in fall.  All the hostas and other tender plants are done, and will quickly fade.  Many flowers though will linger such hardy souls.

Then on Sunday we had an inch of rain with temps reaching 70.  Yep a true Indian Summer is upon us and I look forward the sounds, scents and colors in the garden.

So today is the perfect time to see what is happening in my zone 5b garden in central NY as I check in  to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day hosted by Carol@May Dreams Gardens.


Roses are always a joy to see all fall.  A few climbers and all the Knockouts are blooming.  Of course once the freeze happened, the roses were hard hit as they were coated in icy crystals.



These are the only Japanese anemones that bloomed this fall after our harsh drought.  They happen to be in the shade of the house on the north side.


 I love how the yarrow I cut back in summer continues to bloom this fall.



 This mum is one I took a piece of from my mother-in-laws garden once she passed away.  It really struggled this year.  I weeded in between it, and I hope to see it rebound next summer.



 Hardy cyclamen is popping up all over the shady parts of my garden.  I love the sudden surprise as they unfurl.



 The most reliable fall flowers are the fall crocus, colchicums.  They send up their foliage in spring and summer.  Once the foliage dies back, I forget about them until I see there colorful heads poking out of the ground.  Some colchicums resemble waterlilies, and are the first to bloom in September.  Then in October we see the saffron type like the white one top right.  The yellow is a specialty bulb, Sternbergia lutea, which is a crocus look alike that blooms in fall.


My fall garden is putting out spectacular color even without many blooms left.  In the northeast if you want color in the fall, plant the right bushes and plants to give you incredible foliage color.

I am linking in with Pam@Diggingfor her Foliage Follow Up on the 16th, and Christina@Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for her Garden Bloggers Foliage Day on the 22nd as I share my fall colors.  Let me introduce you to some of my best native shrubs for fall:


Viburnum dentatum just getting her colorful robe started.

Hardy Hibiscus or Rose Mallow or Swamp Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos) ‘Kopper King‘  reminds me of a maple tree in fall with the brilliant orange and red foliage.

 This frosted blueberry is very yummy in fall.  It puts on a the best show in fall after giving me yummy berries in summer.


This shrub is one I look forward to every fall, Oakleaf hydrangea.  Look at that spectacular red and the peeling bark.  This bush was being swallowed up by Obedient plant so I moved it to a more open spot for all to see.


Now it is time for grasses that shine in fall.  I lost the tag on this one a long time ago, but it sits at the corner of the patio close to the house and gives me delight from summer through winter with the colors of the foliage and the plumes it produces.  Look how the sun shines through it  after the rain.



I love showcasing my native Northern Sea Oats grass every year (many times a year).  It is lit up from from the sun with its ‘oats’ as they change color.


Lastly are the heucheras (right and bottom left) and heucherellas (top left).   I think the red one is ‘Georgia Peach’.  I love the foliage of these plants all year.  What a great plant to have for color even after the delicate bell flowers fade.



 Bonfire Days 
Ho! For the leaves that eddy down, 
Crumpled yellow and withered brown, 
Hither and yonder and up the street 
And trampled under the passing feet; 
Swirling, billowing, drifting by, 
With a whisper soft and a rustling sigh, 
Starting aloft to windy ways, 
Telling the coming of bonfire days. 
~ Grace Strickler Dawson

 **If you click on the picture above you will see a speck in the upper right hand corner.  It’s a red tailed hawk that was riding the currents on Saturday.  The woods are across the street and directly behind the houses there.  They are a forever wild area, and cannot be cut down.  


Next up on the blog:  Next week I will share a very favorite butterfly book.  Then its time for Wildflower Wednesday as a showcase a fabulous fall plant, helianthus.

I will be linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.

As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.

I hope you will join me for my posts once a month on the 3rd Tuesday, at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. My latest post will be up on the 16th.

Please remember, to comment click on the title of the post and the page will reload with the comments section.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2012.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.


  1. Gail says:

    I love October! The quote is marvelous and so true. It was a droughty summer here, too and while I did water the J anemones, they had a minor show and the wet winter did in my colchicums. Yours are lovely.

    • Donna says:

      How odd your colchicums were done in. Mine are in some very moist areas and the winter is wet and cold here…they seem to survive the wet clay although it does dry out by later spring when the foliage appears. I hope the see my J anemones in other parts of the garden this year unless they all died out from the drought.

  2. Randy Hyden says:

    Yes, even here we are starting to get some color in the elm trees. I love the yarrow. I was up to visit my son in Colorado in September and it is growing wild with several different varieties in profusion. I planted some White Texas Yarrow when i got back. Enjoy the Autumn! After the HELL of summer In Texas , it is such a neat time here.

    • Donna says:

      I would love to visit the S in fall to see all the lovely blooms. Yarrow is such a great plant as it grows in just about any conditions here. Even after the frost it is still blooming. Love to see more of your autumn Randy. Glad you could visit!

  3. Liz @ Sit With Me In My Garden says:

    I’ve never heard of fall crocus? That’s a new one on me!
    Your roses look pretty even with their icy sugar coating! I’m fairly protected here and still haven’t had a frost. Love the cyclamen! I hope your mum takes off for you nicely! Sometimes they just need to get familiar with their surroundings! I do love all the colors of heucheras! Isn’t Georgia Peach a beauty!

    • Donna says:

      Liz I am glad you enjoyed your visit and saw some new plants. The mum has actually flowered more since the freeze. Georgia Peach is one of my favorites with the gorgeous foliage.

  4. Karin/Southern Meadows says:

    Your blooms are really beautiful but at this time of year I love looking at all the foliage changing color! All the yellows, oranges, reds and burgundy are so gorgeous! You are about a month ahead of my garden. Looking forward to it!

  5. Beth says:

    Hi Donna, there is so much beauty here in your post. The photo of the sea oats is FANTASTIC!!! Love the frosty rose too. Your heuchera look great and your mil’s mum is pretty -hope it thrives for you. The color of the oak leaf hydrangea is stunning too, Donna. I really enjoyed your photos today. I am zone 5b also, so I kind of watch what you have growing for ideas….of course, I’ve essentially run out of room in my garden but that’s another story. lol

    • Donna says:

      How funny Beth as I look at what you are growing too for ideas. I keep taking out grass for more room…hope you got some ideas for new plants when you find some more room.

  6. Mark Willis says:

    The frost-rimed Rose flowers are supremely beautiful! I love your photo of the orangey-coloured grasses too. Your garden has more colour in it now than mine EVER has!

    • Donna says:

      Oh Mark aren’t you so nice to say so. It is amazing what colors we can find throughout our gardens. Fall is cruising through though and more colors are fading and others are coming into their own…glad you enjoyed the colors.

  7. HolleyGarden says:

    From freezing to 70 degrees! What a rollercoaster ride! And I love seeing photos of the foliage – you are right that the colors are just as pretty as blooms. I have a new oakleaf hydrangea. I hope it turns as beautiful red as yours has!

    • Donna says:

      Oh Holley I bet your Oakleaf will turn gorgeous colors once it gets a bit cooler. I was a roller coaster and now it has leveled out at low 60s in the daytime and 40s at night. Great sleeping weather.

  8. Alistair says:

    Cold Saturday morning Donna 29f that is almost minus 2c brr, and then 70f that was seen as a hot day over here at the height of Summer. Great foliage colour in your garden, and yes I did spot the red tailed Hawk.

    • Donna says:

      Alistair I am so glad you enjoyed the foliage fest we are having…I cannot imagine 70 being the height of summer but I love the low 70s.

  9. Liz says:

    Hi Donna,

    Beautiful photos; I’m surprised to see your Yarrow with another flush… I cut mine back but no new growth 🙁 will try next year too and see if I can get some late colour from it!

    I love your Anemone too; I recently bought some pink ones and hope they’re more successful than the last pinks I bought i.e. actually survive beyond a year!

    • Donna says:

      Liz I just cut the blooms off and it seemed to stimulate new flowers. I hope to see more anemones next year if we don’t have a heat wave and drought.

  10. Helene says:

    Such lovely colourful autumn flowers and leaves. I especially liked the Viburnum dentatum, think I need to add it to my very long plant wish-list 🙂 The frosted rose was so nice, although frost already sounds a bit early…brrr!

  11. The Sage Butterfly says:

    You have made the disappointment, perhaps sadness, of that first frost into something that can be admired. Beautiful reflection and acceptance! We have gotten close to frost, but no frost yet. My favorite is that tangerine mum…just lovely!

  12. Kalantikan says:

    Those of you at the temperate climates is now again coming to a very beautifully colored world, which we from the tropical climates want to see and experience. But that is the only thing i want there, because your low temperatures really scare me! Donna, i love your colors too much, but that photo of the grasses is really awesome!

    • Donna says:

      Oh thank you so much. I love the colors too and hopefully when I retire I can experience the colors of fall and then find some warmer climates for winter…

  13. PlantPostings says:

    I must plant some Cyclamen! I’ve been meaning to do so, and now you’ve given me another reason–they bloom in mid-fall. I know I need to look for the hardy varieties, so they’re on my list now. The shot of the frost on the Rose is lovely!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Beth. Just remember cyclamen likes dry shade planted shallow with the concave part of the corm facing up…then they should bloom nicely.

  14. Heather says:

    Thanks for sharing these photos of your fall landscape. The oak leaf hydrangeas don’t grow here but I remember them fondly when I lived on the east coast.

    • Donna says:

      Heather they are actually a native to SE US but will grow here…so I accept them into my garden even if they are not technically native to central NY.

  15. debsgarden says:

    I like the first quote about fall being the perfect pause between summer and winter. Your blooms are lovely as they are about to go into the night, but even as they fade, foliage colors are as pretty as any flower. I love the frosted blueberry!

    • Donna says:

      The blueberry has actually turned redder since the freeze Deb. Your milkweed seeds will be on their way to you this week. I will email you once I send them.

  16. Eileen says:

    What a lovely collection of flowers and photos! And I enjoyed the quotes you included in your post. Beautiful post, thanks for sharing!

  17. Donna says:

    I have not been outside on almost two weeks, but we have been having 70° weather with nice nighttime temps. You have a lot of nice photos from your frost.

    • Donna says:

      Oh Julie I am surprised with all your lovely shade the cyclamens aren’t growing…I have planted them shallow in dry shade and they just grow. I know Carolyn has said it is easier to grow them from plants and she sells them that way too.

  18. says:

    Your weather and ours is the same..I even covered some of the still blooming plants to try to keep them a bit longer..I need to plan for more fall blooming plants.. It still makes me wish we were headed into spring and not winter…Michelle

    • Donna says:

      Well think about the fall bloomers that you want to grow and I will see what I have to share 🙂

      Hope you are doing OK. I have been thinking about you and your family.

  19. Jean says:

    You really did have a lot of flowers that survived the freeze. I suspect that rose did not, but it looked beautiful in its frosted glory.

  20. catmint says:

    I love that the blooms fade, they have their own special beauty, that they would lack if they always stayed the same. (Well, I suppose they’d be like the perfect silk orchid I bought instead of a potplant.) And I think Carol Bishop Hipps is an old misery guts herself if she finds summers and winters miserable!! Sea oats grass photo should be framed – brilliant, running out of superlatives to describe it.

    • Donna says:

      It appears she loves fall only…I am humbled that you think my picture should be framed…I have been told to frame or sell some of my pics…maybe I will one day. Thanks so much Catmint!!

  21. Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens says:

    You really have a lot of unusual bulbs for fall. I haven’t had much luck with colchicums but I have never really focused on them either. I will have to remedy that. loved seeing the color on your arrowwood. I just planted three this year and am now looking forward to when they change.

    • Donna says:

      You should try those fall crocus Carolyn. I have found they tolerate part shade, sun and moist to dry areas…just not really wet areas. And they tolerate my clay.

  22. Pam/Digging says:

    You have such wonderful fall foliage. This time of year, northern gardeners’ posts really blaze with the reds and oranges we all crave. Yours are especially pretty with the edges highlighted by frost. Sorry to be so late reading your post, but I’m so glad you posted!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Pam for stopping by. I completely understand being behind in reading posts as I am myself right now. Glad you enjoyed the frosted foliage.

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