October is very rarely cold enough for frost down here in South West England but the nights are starting to get a little chilly as the days grow shorter. But, we've had some sun, and quite a few things are in flower - even if they are not as productive as in high summer. Some are just finishing their season, some just starting - but many have flowered all summer and will continue until the frosts begin to bite. This then is this month's selection. As always, click the pictures to embiggen.
The hardy begonia, Begonia grandis evansiana, is brightening all corners of the garden in a final swansong before the chill of winter. By next month it will have vanished, leaving behind only the overwintering tubers and the small bulblets that form in the leaf axils at this time of year. I've illustrated the slightly less vigorous white form below. It's certainly one of my favourites, hardy enough to survive -9C unprotected, with excellent foliage and a neat habit topped by the crystalline purity of the small white flowers.
|Begonia grandis evansiana 'Alba'|
|Crocus speciosus 'Conqueror'|
|Thunbergia 'Sunshine Susie Red and Orange'|
|Impatiens auricoma x bicaudata|
|Cheiranthus 'Walburton's Fragrant Star'|
|Fuchsia splendens 'Karl Hartweg'|
My hardy passion flower, Passiflora caerulea, will continue to flower till hard frosts kill the softer growth so I can expect flowers from now till Christmas. Rather than illustrate it with yet another shot of an individual flower (I've got dozens!) I've selected two rather different shots. In the first one I did a still life composition of flowers and fruit of the species and the white cultivar 'Constance Elliott' that I took a few years ago when I had both in the garden. Alas 'Constance Elliott' is not as hardy as the species and died in the recent bad winters. And yes, the fleshy part of the fruit is edible - but not that tasty. In the second shot - well, if you've ever wondered what pollinates passion flowers, here's one answer.
|Passiflora caeulea and P.c.'Constance Elliott' flowers and fruit|
|Bumble bee pollinating Passiflora caerulea|
Finally, the last flowers are brightening my free flowering Japanese anemone, Anemone japonica 'Honorine Jobert'. Single, pure white with a yellow centre, this perennial flowers for two months. Another week or so and it will be over till next year. So I'll leave you with this reminder of what has been.
|Anemone japonica 'Honorine Jobert'|