Looking Good October 2


New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) after the rain

I’m joining Gillian at Country Garden UK in her weekly meme Looking Good. She asks us to showcase highlights in our garden each week and link back to her site. Pop on over to see what’s special in gardener’s plots around the globe.


Gooseneck loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides)

After an unusually mild September, leaves are starting to turn in earnest with the advent of cooler weather. Gooseneck loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides) really shines at this time of year. I love the contrasting colors of green ribs with red-orange margins.


Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)

Two years ago we planted a native sourwood tree (Oxydendrum arboreum) in our backyard to replace our Baldwin apple tree that succumbed to fireblight. As it is close to the house, for the past 25 years we’ve hung our bird feeders on the Baldwin every winter (robins and waxwings would eat the frozen apples, sometimes becoming a bit tipsy from the fermented fruit) and it’s still favored as a perch by hummingbirds in summer. I refuse to cut it down until its replacement is big enough to handle bird feeders, so it might be a while! Folks may think I’m nuts to leave a dead tree in plain sight, but I say, “This tree is for the birds!”  or “It is a lichen-encrusted sculpture.” In the meantime, the sourwood’s fall foliage is gorgeous.


Peony foliage (Paeonia lactiflora)

Also of note this week, the peony foliage is turning purplish-burgundy. It seems not too long ago that they were blooming and I was filling vases with their sumptuous blossoms. Where does the time go?


Butterflyweed pods (Asclepias tuberosa)


Blue Wood Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolum)

Pods of butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) are tinged with burgundy, but as yet show no sign of opening. I want to sow the seeds into the field before the wind carries them away. Asters, visited by pollinators, continue to dazzle all around the property.

Annual nasturtiums, calendulas and zinnias are still going strong, but I expect they will get sluggish now that the temperatures are in the 40s and 50s F (4-10 C). Amazingly, long-range forecasts show no sign of frost. When I was younger, the first frost date used to be in late September. Last year, it was October 22. Who knows what’ll it be this year? I’ll just plan on enjoying the garden as long as I can.




Zinnia ‘Yellow Profusion’ with Silvermound Artemisia


Zinnia ‘Salmon Profusion’ and Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides)


About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
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49 Responses to Looking Good October 2

  1. Gillian says:

    Your garden is amazing Eliza. We do have lots of similar plants… but not the Butterflyweed. I’ve not heard of it never mind seen them before! Thanks very much for joining in with Looking Good.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Asclepias are American native plants that are important butterfly and bee attractors. Matter of fact, our beloved Monarch butterfly depends entirely on the plant and herbicides have all but wiped out milkweed in the wild. Disastrous for this unusual insect (it migrates to Mexico!), there is a massive restoration project (mostly by gardeners) going on to try to save it from extinction. I only saw 2 monarchs this year, so sad.

  2. Kate Houck says:

    Just beautiful. Thanks for sharing with us, Eliza!

  3. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Your plants are looking great Eliza. We too have had a mild September. This last week has been particularly good (and DRY!) and extended some of the vegetables outside. Here too nasturtiums and pot marigold still going strong!

  4. Just beautiful. Lovely flowers.

  5. Pingback: Looking Good 2nd October | Country Garden UK

  6. Those Asclepias seeds pods are very attractive, very tactile. I saw picture last week of the seeds and they look fun too. The Sourwood is colouring up beautifully. I hope that you still provide fermenting apples in your feeders!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Drunkeness in winter birds may be humorous, but makes them easy prey to predators and window and traffic hazards. Though I always enjoyed seeing the flocks of robins pecking away at the apples. One cedar waxwing fell prey to our cat, but I was able to nurse him back to health and release him. We called him Cedric and I often wondered if he ever returned or remembered the excellent meals and warm aviary he had for a few weeks that winter. 🙂

      • You are right of course, it was a flippant comment. In the orchards around here there is a lot of fallen fruit on the ground already. At Wimpole, they gather some of it up for the pigs in the farm (who obviously don’t have the same risk factors). Glad your waxwing made it.

  7. Jim in IA says:

    How clever of you to pose the tiny insect on the Nasturtium. That is a beautiful garden.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Jim. Clever of you to spot that little guy! Did you see the harlequin bug on the milkweed pod? I tried to enhance him a bit as he blends in, but couldn’t do a lot without ruining the rest of the picture. Thanks for your visit.

  8. makingcamp says:

    Beautiful Garden. Lovely images!

  9. You still have a lot of color left – beautiful. 🙂

  10. arlingwoman says:

    Your garden is beautiful. I’m interested in the butterfly weed–which looks like okra, but is entirely different. Is it medicinal in some way? Asclepius is what made me wonder…

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Lisa. Milkweed sap is very toxic to animals. Cattle sicken if they eat it. That’s why farmers kill it in their fields. The insects that eat it become toxic to predators and interesting, most of them have orange markings to announce that fact (monarchs, tussock moths, harlequin beetles).

    • Eliza Waters says:

      I just looked up medicinal uses and the root is used for intestinal worms and other ailments of the digestive tract, as it acts as a purgative. That tells me the body sees it as a poison. Not recommended for the young or the old as it effects the heart. Maybe an experienced herbalist would know the correct dosages, but I am never bold enough to try these things on my own!

      • arlingwoman says:

        Oh, goodness. Me either. I never try something if it’s viewed as toxic. It was the association with Asclepius that made me ask. It seemed to beg the question, him being Ancient Greece’s physician…but worms makes sense.

  11. Eliza, your garden is still looking good for this time of year. I’m waiting for my mums to open. Asters, for the most part, are done. Who knows what will be left after this Nor’easter that’s still raging outside!

  12. dorannrule says:

    Looking Awesome as always. You have a n eye for beauty.

  13. Jewels says:

    ‘Looking Good’ indeed, these are lovely Eliza! 🙂

  14. Robin says:

    Your garden is so beautiful. 🙂 Our peony foliage was burnt by the hot and dry weather. It was so nice to see yours looking so lovely.

  15. You still have so much color in your garden, Eliza! Your Asters are as lovely as Gillian’s, and I hope they are as popular with the butterflies. Everything looks well hydrated. I’m glad you are still in season for flowers and lovely foliage. I’m with you on the tree- it is great for the birds until it finally crumbles into sawdust. It must be a regular fast food place full of insects! Hugs, WG

  16. I love the sourwood – I’ve never heard of it, but it is really pretty.

  17. rluram says:

    Beautiful colors! Since I’ve started photography, I’ve realized there’s color all around in the fall – not just in the changing leaves. We typically focus on the leaves and we neglect the other beautiful fall colors in our gardens. I hope the weather cooperates and you can continue enjoying your garden for weeks to come. It’s beautiful!!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, I hope so, too. Although suddenly, there is a frost warning tonight. It might be close as it is 43 at 10 pm, but we will see. I didn’t bother to cover my annuals, so fingers crossed. As they are near the driveway, I’m hoping there will be residual heat, enough to keep it above freezing.

  18. Maria F. says:

    I just love the Zinnias, and the Nasturtium and the Butterflyweed pods (Asclepias tuberosa)

  19. Kathy Sturr says:

    Oh so pretty! I love that you leave the apple in place – I do think old apple trees are sculpture! I have a friend who has a dead elm that she leaves in her garden. She put one of those faces on it and calls it the ghost tree – it does look white! LOVE that Sourwood – off to learn about it!

  20. Aaah, the wonders of your garden!!

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