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October 27, 2003



Very good for almost November! I'm jealous - I have some foliage but no flowers.

Bookish Gardener

Hey, thanks! These late-season blooms are teaching me quite a bit about not taking things for granted (I'll translate Warren Zevon's "enjoy every sandwich" dictum in this context to mean "enjoy every bloom"), and to favor more cold-hardy plantings as I fill in the garden next year.


Yes - its a learning process isn't it? This year was my first garden and I loved it - it looked great right up until end of September and I want to do it again next year. I learned this year what will work and understand plant selection a bit better - so much to learn though.


I don't think it's feverfew. More like daisy fleabane. If you like hardy plants, try Malva 'Bibor Felho' available from Thompson & Morgan and maybe other places. One year we had quite a mild autumn, frost, yes, but no bad freezes well into December. I had a lot of fun picking small bud vases full of a snip of this and a sprig of that and putting them on my husband's bedside table. Alyssum is another good late fall plant, especially the non-hybrid kind that you get in those free "wild" flower packets from charities. It is not as compact (that is to say, it's leggy) but that's what makes it so good for those late autumn bud vase bouquets.

Bookish Gardener

Right you are! Funny, I came across a description of it in Lauren Springer's The Undaunted Garden just about a week ago (I think she called it "wild aster") but didn't have the presence of mind to update the thanks for doing it for me! The happy story on this is that it popped up as a volunteer in a patch of the border where bright red Jacob Cline monarda, magenta rugosa rose Roseraie de l'Hay, deep purple Black Knight butterfly bush and deep yellow rudbeckia Goldsturm were all duking it out...I have no idea where it came from, but it saved the day.

Bookish Gardener's the rest of my comment. Thanks for the hardy annual recommendations! I've never met a malvaceae I didn't like, which unfortunately appears to be a preference shared by the marauding rabbits. (Warning--rabbit rant ahead: The rabbits ate every single malva, sidalcea and malope to the ground, and kept the rose-of-sharon stripped of leaves and blossoms...thank goodness the hollyhocks were too big for them to take on, and for some reason they left the lavatera alone.) I'm determined to plant more malva this year, and try to fence the plants that are especially vulnerable.

Alyssum's a stalwart...I've got it in an area facing south and near the house, so it would have kept going past Thanksgiving if it hadn't been for garden cleanup. I started out with hybrid alyssum, but the self-sown descendants have all nicely reverted to big blossomed, vigorous and, yes, leggy plants.


Huh! I wonder if rabbits in different regions have different tastes in plants? My malvas don't seem bothered by them at all. (Columbines are a different story.) I have read that putting thorny rose prunings all around your vulnerable plants discourages rabbits, too, but I have never had to try it myself. Do you have a good mousing cat? Our cat (may she rest in peace) sometimes caught rabbit young as well as mice.

I used to say, like you do, that "I've never met a malvaceae I didn't like," but I have had Malva alcea 'Fastigiata' since I first started gardening here in 1991, and I am getting sick of its self-seeding ways. I am thinking of digging it all out (and at this point, I'll probably have to dig to China to get the taproots) and planting a rose or two. Trust me, there will be plenty of it left in other places, thanks to little boys who like to use the seed-laden stalks that I cut down in the fall as swords/spears/etc. One day I am going to write an essay on children as seed vectors.

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