Annuals and Tropicals Rule the Fall Garden

Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day! I'm very happy to participate in this community of gardeners who blog, which was the brainstorm of Carol Michel of May Dreams Gardens. The purpose of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is to see what other gardeners throughout the world have going on in their own gardens on the 15th of each month. And here is what I will share on this first nearly-fall day in September, 2013:

Pentas, Geranium, Salvia, Cleome, Coleus and Colocasia make a colorful statement in this huge planter.
The humongous planter I put together in July with sale plants purchased from Chesterton Feed & Garden Center on July 5 has metamorphosed into its late summer configuration. When I first put it together, I worried about the Salvia having to compete with Colocasia 'Mojito' and not having enough room to grow. I needn't have worried. The Cleome 'Seniorita Rosalita' hasn't slowed down, the Salvia 'Wendy's Wish' is still going strong and, just recently, the Pentas has really begun to flourish.  I'm not sure which variety it is, but it's one of the taller ones of either the "New Look" or "Butterfly" series, growing around 12" - 18" tall. This is a plant I have more luck with if I remove the spent blossoms. The reward for this extra step is the visitation of hummingbirds. And in order to make this pot irresistible to all kinds of winged wildlife, I've included the Salvia and Cleome mentioned above.

Pachystachys lutea
Meanwhile, in a pot around the corner, another tropical plant is holding court with Pennisetum 'Cherry Sparkler' and Bougainvillea 'Flame'. Pachystachys lutea took awhile to really take off, but I think our recent heat wave lit a fire under it. Also known as lollipop or golden shrimp plant, this shrubby sub-tropical plant features brightly-colored bracts from which little white flowers emerge.
You could bring your tropical plants inside if you have the space and the patience to deal with dropping leaves and insects. Some react better to indoor winter culture than others. The easiest for me by far has been Murraya paniculata, also known as orange jessamine. In the same family (Rutaceae) as citrus, Murraya paniculata has flowers with the scent of orange blossom. Our potted plant, which is several years old, gives us many flushes of bloom throughout the season. I feed it with about half the recommended amount of a water soluble acid-lovers fertilizer about once a week, but I also sprinkle the top of the soil with an all-purpose time-release plant food at the beginning of the season.

Unknown yet mature Bougainvillea
Yet to bloom are the Bougainvillea 'Flame' and a Hedychium coranarium, or ginger that has been with me for several years. Another Bougainvillea that has been with us for a long time is having the best bloom season it's ever had.


  1. Gorgeous blooms - what a tremendous container you've got going on there in the top picture. Of course, your flowering shrubs are devine - plants I could only dream of growing here in Scotland!
    Note to self, I really must work on my containers :)
    Happy bloom day.

    1. Thanks, Angie. What part of Scotland? We were there several years ago and I was amazed over the fuchsia and hebe you can grow!

  2. My bougainvilleas bloom all winter in the the spring & now they are starting to bloom now...

    1. You're lucky, Janie! For us "northerners," it's a treat when they bloom. I hope you enjoy your fall temperatures.