Friday, November 9, 2012

Flowers that Defy Jack Frost

It's early November and the weather is still mild.  We've had some short cold snaps and a few hard freezes but Indian Summer is here today and tomorrow and after another brief cold snap early next week it will return again.  YES, there are still many beautiful flowers at Powell Gardens.  The fall floral displays are designed with flowers and foliage that defy Jack Frost.

The planting in front of our entrance sign is a beautiful tapestry of pansies in blue & white, 'Lemon Cream' Calendulas, ornamental "flowering" cabbages, kale and 'Delphi Purple' mums.  All these plants have held beautifully through a hard freeze and should last at least through Thanksgiving.

Here's a closer side view that captures the beautiful flowers and foliage of the entrance planting.

Hardy flowers also come in HOT colors!  I love this planting outside Cafe Thyme with red 'Speedy Sonic Crimson' Snapdragons encircled by 'Orange King' and 'Lemon Cream' Calendulas.

Strawflowers (Bracteantha) 'Sundaze Flame' is a very underutilized fall flower and can be cut used as an "everlasting".  Here there is a bit of a color echo with its orange edged "petals" and the 'Merville des Quatre Saisons' (The Four Seasons) Lettuce, an heirloom variety with gorgeous bronze foliage so lovely at this season.  Look for these in the ramp terrace beds leading to the Dogwood Walk.

Verbena 'Superbena Blue' has been one phenomenal "annual" this year.  It actually survived last winter and has bloomed, and bloomed and bloomed and is STILL in bloom!  The last of the season's butterflies have been all over this flower too.  It is on the south side of the Visitor Center below the Conservatory.

The 'Hillside Sheffield Pink' Mums are still the best of the late season perennial flowers!  Look close and see the butterflies and other pollinators.  I will carefully look over these flowers today and Saturday for unique species of butterflies that may have blown up here from the South or even the tropics.  Fall is the time for stray butterflies and a Tailed-Orange (butterfly) from Texas's Rio Grande Valley showed up in Wichita yesterday!  This picture was taken on the Island Garden.

These are seedling mums (Dendranthema) in the Perennial Garden.  Sometimes mother nature does some really neat plantings for us we must save.  I love the just right highlight of the white with the yellow flowers we could never have created so well.

In the conservatory the "pot" mums are simply stunning.  This is 'Brunswick' Mum with dark 'Sweet Caroline Raven' Sweet Potato and orange 'Sedona' Coleus as companions in the conservatory display.

I love this composition of 'Shanghai Red' Mums with 'Dipped in Wine' Coleus also in the Conservatory.

I like all the fall inspired mum compositions in the conservatory:  here's  'Golden Gate' Mum with 'Honeycrisp' Coleus.

How about 'Pittsburgh Purple' Mum with 'Fishnet Stockings' Coleus' where the mum picks up on the purple veins of the coleus.

Here's a Checkered White butterfly enjoying the last of season's flowers (an Aromatic Aster) at Powell Gardens.  The weather is supposed to be blustery but warm on Saturday so join the butterflies and visit the gardens and see our wealth of fall flowers, and foliage.  Jack Frost has visited but there are still many flowers and the cool season crops in the Heartland Harvest Garden are near peak.  The late fall colors on plants like Japanese Maples are also beautiful right now.

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