Northern Shade Gardening

Blue and Purple Flowers in October

Monday, October 11, 2010 Category: Perennials

Here are some of the blue  and purple flowers still blooming in October in zone 3. These are the hardier perennials that have a long flowering time and can still produce colour as most other perennials are fading away for the year.  If you’re viewing on a lower resolution, you need to click the picture to see the overflow.

blue and purple flowers in October

blue and purple flowers in October

On the top left are the flowers of Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (cranesbill) with five rounded petals, each with a white  centre. These have been in bloom since July. ‘Rozanne’ is a terrific plant for a long season of pretty blue flowers. The foliage still looks fresh, too. It is such an easy care perennial, and goes well with many other plants. I like to use them for underplantng shrubs or tall perennials, as they doesn’t mind the shade they make. You can see more pictures of how these hardy geraniums look under a lilac here.

On the upper right of the photo is Phlox paniculata ‘David’s Lavender’ (tall garden phlox), which has soft lavender coloured petals, each with a smaller white bee in the middle than ‘Rozanne’. Mine start flowering at the end of August in zone 3, and continue through until October. They put on a good show, even in part shade. You can see that the white ‘David’ behind finishes a little earlier than the purple flowers.

Campanula poscharskyana (Carpathian bellflower) is on the lower left, with some unopened buds still. These blooms are a pretty lavender blue., and have five narrow petals in a star shape. Many  of the plants still have a good number of flowers, but in summer there can be over a hundred blooms on one small 30 cm square (1 foot square) plant. They produce  well in the shade. The starry blooms are arranged along long flowering stems that mostly spread out along the ground. This bellflower goes from July until very late Fall. It is another perennial that is very useful for underplanting shrubs or tall perennials with a narrow base. There are more pictures of using this Campanula for underplanting in this article.

Campanula rotundifolia (harebell or bluebell of Scotland) is shown on the bottom right side of the collage. These perennials have been blooming since June, and are still producing many blue flowers, even after the first frost. The flowering stems are about 30 cm tall (1 foot), or a little taller, with many bells arranged all around the stems. There are more photos of Campanula rotundifolia in this post from last year. Another bellflower still blooming is Campanula cochlearifolia (fairy thimble bellflower). The blooms are smaller versions of C. rotundifolia on shorter plants. Both of these Campanula put on a good display in part shade.

You can see from the pictures, that the maple tree has lost all of its leaves, and perennials like lily of the valley have faded to yellow, but some hardy perennials continue to bloom through late Fall. Those two Campanula often flower right through October and sometimes up until December, or the first snowfall which usually comes first. These are all great plants for keeping the garden going in soft shades of blue and lavender, when other perennials are starting to sleep.

24 Responses to “Blue and Purple Flowers in October” »

  1. Ann :
    October 11, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Isn’t it great to have such beautiful plants still flowering in the middle of October? The longer we can extend the gardening season in Alberta, the happier I am. Wonderful pictures and plant descriptions. Thanks!
    Ann

  2. Northern Shade :
    October 11, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Ann, I’ve added many more of the early and late flowering perennials, to keep the garden in bloom as long as possible. The earliest bulbs are some of my favourites, and these hardy perennials that laugh in the face of frost are very endearing.

  3. easygardener :
    October 11, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    My Rozanne is doing well too. It is such a good plant. One of my favourite hardy Geraniums.

  4. Northern Shade :
    October 11, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Easygardener, I really appreciate ‘Rozanne’ for its ability to produce lots of flowers over a long period of time, even in part shade. I have a patch under my lilac tree, and another group under a Hydrangea, and they look so pretty as an underplanting.

  5. Shady Gardener :
    October 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    So, so pretty. Blue flowers are so restful. :-) Yours are especially so. I’m putting a few new items on my Wish List!

  6. Northern Shade :
    October 11, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Shady Gardener, I like the blue flowers surrounded by the fall leaves. I cherish any plant that still want to bloom at this time of year here.

  7. Rebecca @ In The Garden :
    October 11, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Beautiful pictures Northern. I was just noticing that my little blue bellflowers are also still in bloom. Has your Garden Phlox been in bloom for long? My white David opened his very first flower today. The colour of your Rozanne is amazing.

  8. Northern Shade :
    October 11, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Rebecca, the white ‘David’ started flowering on August 11, and went until about a week ago. ‘David’s Lavender’ started at the end of August and is still going. They are both planted in part shade right next to each other. There are still a few Campanula carpatica with blue flowers too. I should have made a longer collage. :)

  9. The Garden Ms. S :
    October 11, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Your ‘Rozanne’ is very impressive. Such a pretty flower – and to get blooms from July through October is a real treat. I love all the late season colours I am seeing in front gardens as I walk the neighbourhood. October is turning out to be a lovely month for gardens!

  10. debsgarden :
    October 11, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    It seems that overnight leaves are changing colors and falling from the trees. It is beginning to look like autumn, though our temperatures are still warm – into the 80s, though cooler at night. Your blooms are lovely, and how wonderful to get such a long season of color from your ‘Rozanne’. I love that shade of blue.

  11. Northern Shade :
    October 12, 2010 at 7:42 am

    The Garden Ms. S, it really has been a golden month for gardening. I’ve been enjoying the late flowers, as well as planting bulbs and the fall cleanup.

    Debsgarden, ‘Rozanne’ does have a great colour, and the small shimmery veins running through the petals give them a little glow. It is my favourite geranium.

  12. Sweetbay :
    October 12, 2010 at 7:57 am

    I didn’t realize that Rozanne was two-toned like that, how beautiful. I have ‘David’s Lavender’ and really like it. It has such a lovely soft color. I always admire the blue campanulas in northern gardens.

  13. Northern Shade :
    October 12, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Sweetbay, the thin lines of reddish purple that run through the petals of ‘Roanne’ make them shimmer little, even if there is no direct light on them, and the white bee makes them stand out, too.

    There are 3 large ‘David’s Lavender’ phlox plants next to the white one, and they look good together. You would think that it would bloom at the same time as ‘David’, since it is a sport, but it is later.

  14. Chris :
    October 12, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I love October flowers, the last hurrah.

  15. Patty :
    October 12, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    I am a big fan of the blue flower too. My Rozanne is also going strong. The foliage usually goes red for me in the fall but it hasn’t happened yet.

  16. Northern Shade :
    October 12, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Chris, sometimes we already have our snow base by the end of October, so it is wonderful to have some late perennials that don’t mind a little cold. I fixed your URL for you.

    Patty, I’m surprised that my Geranium ‘Rozanne’ haven’t developed more red on the leaves yet, as they usually do. Most other plants are showing their Fall colours, but these are still mostly green (and blue :)).

  17. Kathleen :
    October 12, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    I’m surprised by all the color in your garden NS. I guess I was thinking it might be over but it’s good that’s not the case. Our leaves have not yet begun to drop yet (they’re just getting good color) so you’re definitely ahead in that dept. Hope you keep the blooms going for a while longer!

  18. Northern Shade :
    October 12, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Kathleen, the hardier of the Campanula are usually the last flowers in my garden, and the Phlox are giving some taller blooms still. Most of the deciduous trees have dropped all of their leaves here, but my large willow always holds out until later, and it is also the first to leaf out in spring.

  19. Catherine :
    October 13, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    I was just out admiring my ‘Rozanne’. I like your idea of planting it under shrubs. It’s interesting that your Phlox is blooming but the maple has lost it’s leaves, here we have just the opposite :)

  20. Northern Shade :
    October 13, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Catherine, I have some Geranium Rozanne under a lilac, and some at the edge of a Hydrangea, and they really brighten up the area when the shrubs aren’t in bloom.

  21. Christine B. :
    October 13, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    I was surprised my Phlox was one of the last hangers-on into the fall. We just had a few hard freezes so everything is pretty much toast now. For those with short seasons, three cheers for ornamental grasses, and other plants which look good when dead. Dead is such a long season here….

    Christine in Alaska, everything dead

  22. Northern Shade :
    October 13, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Christine B., yes, I appreciate the plants that can look decorative as they fade away, too. Astilbe plumes and goatsbeard flowers are some more that look interesting through the winter, as well as the brown, fertile fronds of ostrich ferns, and the dried Hydrangea blossoms.

    You’d probably like the harebells and fairy thimble bellflowers that hold out to the bitter end with their hardy blue flowers. I’m also keen on the perennials with evergreen leaves, like Helleborus, Heuchera, Asarum and Tiarella that miraculously hold their leaves through the dead season, but zone 3 is close to their limit.

  23. Jennifer :
    October 18, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I love hardy geraniums and have started a collection. I find they do well in my half shade back garden.

  24. Northern Shade :
    October 18, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Jennifer, the hardy geraniums are great, since they aren’t fussy, make a nice groundcover, and have such pretty flowers. You’re right; they don’t mind part shade, and will flower well.

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