Say goodbye to the last flowers of fall

Courtesy of Craig Summers Black
October Glory candytuft refuses to acknowledge that it is December.
Courtesy of Craig Summers Black
The reblooming Iris Immortality attempts to flower yet again.

My garden now eases into that gentle repose, the long graceful slumber of life’s reassuring cycle of renewal and rebirth and ...

Oh, who am I kidding? It is getting seriously dang cold hereabouts, and the garden is calling it quits. I can hardly blame it.

Everything outside has turned shades of khaki. What is left of these now-skeletal plants is just about the same color as mulch.

Except …

Despite a record early snow – 2 inches in early October – and the ensuing and deepening temperature swoons (highs – highs, mind you – in the 20s), here it is December and I have one perennial that is still going gangbusters.

The candytuft I use as edging in my foundation mixed-shrub border out front is in full bloom. Yay!

While you can often coax a second half-hearted spurty bloom with any old iberis by shearing it in midsummer, this perky performer goes all-out a second time around without benefit of a haircut.

This reblooming candytuft goes by the name October Glory, but as you can see it remains glorious in November and December as well, even in this harsh clime.


Several other reblooming versions of old garden stalwarts likewise extend the blooming season. The now not-quite-so-new reblooming irises also flower for a second season.

Well, some of them more than others.I really like Champagne Elegance (white on top, buttery beige below) and Immortality (all white), and both are fully two-season superstars in the Midwest’s tall-grass prairieland.

And if you’re wondering, some of the variegated forsythia foliage on my acreage is still looking pretty good, too. (See here and here.)

Besides the forsythia, there are no other leaves in my landscape anywhere except for the evergreen hollies.

But on a more positive note: For the next four months, my garden will finally be weed-free!

What else I’m into this week: Christmas music! But maybe not the tunes you know. Stuff like this (James Brown meets the Monkees!) and this (Otis! Booker T! King Curtis!) and this. (Squeeze! Dread Zeppelin! Wall of Voodoo!). My teenage daughter says I have warped her Christmas traditions, but in a good way. Yule be rockin’ too.

Editor’s note: Look for more blog posts by The Transplanted Gardener, Craig Summers Black, at our blog archive. The Monitor’s main gardening page offers articles on many gardening topics. See also our RSS feed. You may want to visit Gardening With the Monitor on Flickr. Take part in the discussions and get answers to your gardening questions. If you join the group (it’s free), you can upload your garden photos and enter our next contest.

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