Another Walk in the Garden: Early October

The weather is cooler, the sky is cloudy, and we are waiting to see what hurricane Matthew is going to do to us. I hope it brings a good bit of rain and leaves all that wind out in the Atlantic. I took advantage of the changing conditions to get a few early fall chores started and to take stock of what is happening in the garden this day. The signs of change are everywhere.

All of our Encore azaleas are beginning to bloom again; they add wonderful color in the garden now when so many other plants are slowing down.


Encore Azalea

There are a few last blooms on clematis ‘Ramona’ and hydrangea ‘Endless Summer.’

I noticed the first foliage peeking up from Ipheion bulbs, and several camellias are full of flower buds. One of the muhly grass clumps is in full bloom, while the other, while lagging a bit, is going to be fabulous this year. We still have blooms on the Knockout rose, the Society garlic, and the second flush of the pink phlox. I am particularly pleased to see the vitex covered with its lavender blooms…and covered with bumble bees as well. The deadheading weeks ago is clearly paying off. The purple loropetalum along the side of the house has doubled since it was pruned in summer. I will wait till frost to bring it back down so we can see out the bedroom window again. Another case of right plant in the wrong place. Alas, it’s far too late to try to move it

img_1854One bad note: some critter has been ripping up the lawn in the back garden. I suspect it is either a raccoon or a possum, and I further suspect it is digging for grubs. Whatever the culprit, it is really doing some damage. The lawn, pictured at left, was a beautiful carpet of thick greenery just a week ago. It’s starting to go after my neighbor’s lawn now, so maybe it has eaten all the goodies in my garden. Let’s hope. I’ve reseeded but will have to do something about those Japanese beetle grubs.


Things are indeed changing; I just planted a pot with the season’s first violas.

Thanks for joining me for this Walk in the Garden.


About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in a retirement community in Matthews, NC.
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11 Responses to Another Walk in the Garden: Early October

  1. One huge difference I notice between you and here in France is we just don’t have many flowers left at all, it has been so so dry all summer and a few hours of rain a couple of weeks ago is all we have had, now it is dry again. The grass has turned a little greener, but the flowers gave up hope long ago. The vegetable garden is thriving thanks to my constant watering all summer, the tomatoes are still ripening and the aubergines still flowering, but the hydrangeas gave up weeks and weeks ago!


    • johnvic8 says:

      I am tempted to say, “Vive le difference” but I don’t know if that would be received well or poorly. Either way, my tongue is in my cheek. We have certainly had years like yours; I have watered a lot like you this year to keep things going.


  2. Your hydrangea makes me nostalgic for mine in Port Angeles, WA. Mine had several hues in blue and burgundy. I dried them every year. They won’t get through the winters where I live now. My grass often looks like this but it’s more from poor volcanic soil than critters, I think. I can add top soil every few years but it sieves down into the porous soil and disappears in little time. I love your garden photos.


  3. Sorry about your lawn. Luckily, seeding should bring it back to life in no time with a bit of rain…fingers crossed we get some sprinkles.


  4. Margie says:

    It’s fun to read about your last blooms compared to our last blooms here in Alberta. We’ve had many heavy frosts, but my hardy tea roses just keep blooming!


  5. Christina says:

    Thanks for the autumnal visit to your garden John, You are very successful with re-flowering plants, I haven’t heard of repeat flowering Azaleas before reading about them here. I didn’t dead-head my Vitex after being so disappointing that the flowers were so small and insignificant and NOT blue!


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