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Welcome back to Ottawa's never-ending summer. These photos were taken in the last week of September, and most of the flowers in om then, stayed in bloom well into November. Last year, we had a foot of snow October 22, if I recall! This year Los Angeles is cold and wet, with snow in the mountains, and tomorrow, the last day of November, we'll be in the mid-teens (Celsius). The series title remains spectacularly true, right to the end!

And to make it even more true, by the end of August, we appeared to be starting back into spring. The irises sent up the most spectacular blooms we have ever seen in spring, let alone in the fall. They are incredibly cold hardy, lasting

through some nippy nights (slightly below freezing). Finally, worried that the tubers would not be setting for the winter, we cut off the leaves and flower stalks and produced a gigantic indoor bouquet - a unique and delightful final gift from an incredible summer of blooms.

So I can only repeat that the thesis of this series of articles - to document whether we had succeeded in establishing a garden which would bloom heartily through all our spring, summer and fall months - has been insanely blind-sided by Mother Nature. Of mice and men indeed. The leaves have all dropped, but as of today, the digitalis remains in blossom. We're hoping for Christmas now!

We are especially pleased with the mix of inpatients, rudbekia
and Japanese maple which greets us as we go down the front stairs.
The center bed in normal years will definitely not be as spectacular in the late fall!.But this area with purple cone flowers, asters and digitalis in second bloom will undoubtedly improve.
It's just not normal, I tell you! I've never seen this variety of iris produce "hands" of blooms on each stalk in the spring, let alone in the fall. They are the earliest to blossom and so I guess it's not too surprising they don't mind the cool fall nights.
This bank of rudbekia grown from a friend's self-sown seedlings planted last fall held down the front of the garden in a most spectacular way throughout August, September, October and November. The second blooming of the digitalis and delphiniums is not odd, but the height certainly is. At least the white mallow is going to seed, although to be honest we cut it right back to the ground in early August!
So - thaaat's all folks! Mice and men, especially mice, are curled up waiting for the first snow.