The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

What’s Blooming: Mexican Sunflowers on a Chili Day


We’ve had some cooler weather here – nights into the lower 40s. Tomorrow night’s low is predicted to be 37 F! But that’s not stopping the “bloom boom.” I am wearing a fleece and socks – yes socks! – taking my pictures this morning, er I mean afternoon (because time flies). It is cooler today, overcast. Mojo (golden doodle lower left) loves the cooler weather and seems to be smelling the flowers but more likely, a chipmunk or rabbit recently passed through the garden.

Mojo Smells the Flowers

These Helianthus in the Bird & Butterfly section of the garden are so welcome each fall and are always loaded with bees.


Behold the Black-eyed Susan takeover. You can just barely see the head of the driftwood “heron,” and the bird bath is completely hidden.

Black Eyed Susan Takeover

I just planted this New York Aster, Wood’s Purple in the Woodland Edge section of the garden and love it. I had another Wood’s aster out front in the Riverfront section but I think it was slowly ingested by the Creeping Jenny this year.

Wood's Purple

Also new to the Woodland Edge is this Turtlehead, now in full bloom.


These Mexican Sunflowers warm me up even on “chili” days. They are now a “must” on my list of things to plant each year.

Mexican Sunflowers

This was such a welcome sight! After months of barely a flutter, yesterday three Monarchs circled this patch of Mexican Sunflowers. Today one remains. Can’t help but admire the orange on orange.

Welcome Sight

Strangely, Sunflowers are not the tallest stalks in the garden. This Amaranth towers above towering 3 to 4 ft. marigolds. I wanted more flowers in the Potager but not exactly a skyscraper scape. The Amaranth has a muppet-like quality to it I think. Maybe I should add some googly eyes on it for Halloween?

Amaranth Tower

Very welcome in the Potager are these Cathedral Bells now blooming on what was formerly the pea trellis. This is the first time I have had success with this annual vine and it has been worth the effort!

Cathedral Bell Bloom

Inside the Bell

Obedient Plant blooms throughout the garden but especially makes an impact along the Nice Driveway this time of year.

Obedient Drive

So does this Phlox, its puffy white clouds drifting over the fuzzy plumes of a mystery grass in a Nice Driveway area I’ve marked as a problem spot that I need to rework.

Fluffy Phlox

Sedums are just about to bloom out front in the Riverfront section of the garden.

Sedum Sidewalk

Sedum Matrona in front of Butterfly Weed. I thought the Butterfly Weed didn’t come back this year but “Surprise!”

Sedum Matrona

Butterfly Weed

Another successful Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day hosted by the wonderful Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

5 thoughts on “What’s Blooming: Mexican Sunflowers on a Chili Day

  1. Kathy yippeee for the monarchs. I have seen one a month ago. We have so many of the same flowers blooming…what a welcome sight these fall blooms as the weather turns chilly and frost is nipping.

  2. WOW!!! what great pictures of your garden. Your dog has the sweetest face:-). Your flower beds look so beautiful, but that cathedral bell I am so envious…I had some a few years ago I started from seed, but they did not grow any futher after they were choked out by something else-lol. Those are so beautiful and I want to try some next year. How soon should I start them inside, and how much sun do they need. Great post of all your beauty-robbie:-)

    • Hi Robbie, this was the first year I started the Cathedral Bells indoors and I think that’s why I have blooms this year. Of course, I can’t pin point when I started them because I am just not that organized! Years past I started them directly in the garden but they take a long time to get going so I would suggest starting indoors according to the package directions. I bought my seed at Renee’s Gardens.

  3. Wonderful garden photos. We now get down into the fifties at night and I have my collection of fleece vests out of storage to keep me warm; oddly enough my garden is also flourishing. Many plants are showing second blooms.

    • Second blooms! That is wonderful. I find nothing keeps me warmer than fleece – especially near water, though I do appreciate and love a beautiful knit wool sweater. No frost yet but I’m sure we’ll have our first frost soon and I won’t be ready – ha.

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