Tag Archives: late autumn flowers

Autumn Flowers

Blooming When Nothing Else Does

I’ve been looking for flowers that bloom in autumn when nothing else will bloom.  I’m just trying to give our garden some color and the bees a late snack on any day that is warm enough for them to come out of their hives.  Not that many plants bloom at this time of year even the Goldenrod have already faded.

After some searching, I found Waterlily Colchicum and Fall White Crocus and planted them in late September.  Saffron also blooms in autumn but somehow they have not produced flowers this year.  I harvested some Saffron last year but this year there are plenty of leaves but no flowers.  Hopefully some will produce some flowers before it gets too cold.

Saffron flower from last year
Saffron flower from last year

I actually encountered the Waterlily Colchicum for the first time a couple of years ago at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden when I attended the Chili Festival.  It was a love at first sight.  There was a large patch of them blooming but I didn’t know what they were until I found them in a plant catalog.  Here they are, a beautiful pink water lily look alike on dry land.

Waterlily Colchicum flowers among autumn leaves
Waterlily Colchicum flowers among autumn leaves
Up close. They really look like waterlily.
Up close. They really look like waterlily.
This Crocus blooms in autumn. Not many of them left from squirrels and chipmunks scavenging.
This Crocus blooms in autumn. Not many of them left from squirrels and chipmunks scavenging.

It’s nice to see colors in autumn that are not orange, yellow or red.  Hopefully there will be more of them next autumn.

 

 

Last Resource

Ode to a Honeybee In Late Autumn

We are having a warm autumn this year.  The daytime temperature is still hovering above 50° F on most days but drops back to slightly above 30° F at night.  We had frost for a couple of days early on in the season which killed off most of the garden.  So there is not much left for the bees.

Honeybees being honeybees, they still come out looking for food when the temperature is above 50° F and to relieve themselves as well.  We had fed them in mid-October but now we still worry that their food storage may not be enough for a winter that has not yet come.  Since they spend more energy flying around instead of semi-hybernating in the hive during this time of year, they probably have gone through more of their storage than usual.  So we are putting sugar syrup out on warm days.   They know exactly where the feeder is and zoom right to it.   They still go for any flowers they find blooming at this time of year: Alyssum, Chinese broccoli, Broccoli raab and…Saffron.

Alyssum, despite being tiny and low to the ground, they weather a light frost quite well. They smell like honey too.
Alyssum, despite being tiny and low to the ground, they weather a light frost quite well. They smell like honey too.
I let some broccoli raab flower and it turned out to be a good thing.
I let some broccoli raab flower and it turned out to be a good thing.
Honeybee collecting pollen from saffron flower
Honeybee collecting pollen from saffron flower

I should have grown more saffron but I always start small with any newbies.  If it fails I haven’t wasted much.  My fellow blogger suggested that I may be able to leave them outside since they are hardy to zone 6.  I will leave one pot out as an experiment.  If they are like other crocuses that bloom in spring (which I grow in the ground) they should be fine.  Then I can have plenty of saffron for tea and cooking, and plenty of food for honeybees in late autumn.

This girl didn't even wait for the Chinese broccoli to open fully
This girl didn’t even wait for the Chinese broccoli to open fully
They also go for the water at the heated birdbath
They also go for the water at the heated birdbath