This is a tale of two gardens. No, wait – this is a tale of three gardens. Yes, this is definitely a tale of three gardens.

The first garden is the one I always share with you, month by month. October is the month where I make a last, desperate attempt to correct the mistakes of the season. Remember last month’s post? Well, I was pleased to get some new, fresh plants into that rear bed. Here they are!

I love Anemone “September Charm”. I have the white variety in the front and I’m thrilled to have more. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Anemone has much to offer in the garden. It blooms very late, has lovely, clean foliage and flowers, and requires little to no maintenance. “September Charm” is pale pink with a darker rose underside, giving it lots of interest from all angles. This replaced that sad, spindly goldenrod, which will hopefully fare better in “the lab”.

Next is another favorite – Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia).

Another “late bloomer”, Russian sage boasts tiny lavender flowers on aromatic foliage – much like lavender but with better results in my gardening zone. It belongs in the family of plants called sub-shrubs – plants that are part perennial, part shrub. It has woody stems that stay up through late winter, at which point the plant is cut back to start over again in spring. Russian sage has the added advantage of being deer-resistant, which is critical in this bed. It’s replacing the never-did-well Globe thistle, which has also been relegated to the lab, where I’m hoping it will prosper.

Finally, I took out all of the lovely yet very floppy and messy “Karley Rose” fountain grasses, replacing them with Switch grass (Panicum virgatum). Switch grass has a more feathery look and is much more narrow and upright. It will have a neater overall appearance and be less likely to get flattened after a hard rain.

I’m really pleased with the way the bed looks and I think it will hit its stride nicely next year.

Elsewhere in the garden, things for the most part are winding down – especially the peonies, whose tattered and gray foliage each October signal that it’s time to cut it back for the season:

But the Montauk daisies, as always, came on strong and lasted for many weeks. So did the “Moudry” fountain grasses (which I LOVE cutting and putting in vases – so different):


And the sedum I have in my little pots are still lush and vibrant – although looking a little “spider-y”, don’t you think?

Which is perfectly appropriate, because here’s the second garden that October brings:


Zero-maintenance and completely deer-resistant – love it.

So glad I took those pictures when I did – because two days before Halloween brought garden number three – something I never thought I’d see:

Yes, we got about a foot of snow. In October. Which was annoying, to say the least, and has pretty much shut the garden down for the year.

Noah didn’t mind.

And Halloween arrived like always:

(Remember these cookies? Here’s the Halloween version, just as delicious as the original).

So there is my tale of three gardens – I had a few things planned for November, which may or may not happen, depending on how much damage was done. The garden still looks like this:

So it’s hard to say.

What’s on your garden “to do” list in late fall? Are you still active or have you retreated indoors for the winter?

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