October at the Botanical Garden
There is quite a bit of floral display worth exploring at the Cleveland Botanical Garden this October. For those of us who are savoring those last warm winds, start in the Madagascar Biome of the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouses with a nice dry heat to remedy the advancing cold. The blooms of the Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) may ignite nostalgia for summer as this Madagascar native is often used in more temperate climates, like our own, for annual planting. This pink flowering plant contains many alkaloids including some which have been used for treatment of leukemia. Pretty and potent! In the Costa Rica, biome enjoy another commonly used annual plant, lantana (Lantana camara). The yellow, pink, and orange blooms of this tropical American native cascade over the waterfall in the southwest corner of the biome. Compare this massing with lantana cultivars on display as annuals on the Terrace, in the David and Paula Swetland Topiary Garden, and in the Inspiration Garden’s Sun Patio. While you are in the Costa Rica biome make sure to pay a visit to the blooming gongora orchid (Gongora quinquenervis) on the lower level in hanging baskets.
As you head outside you will find fall displays throughout the gardens. Pumpkins and other decorative members of the Cucurbitaceae family are paired classically with many different varieties of mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium Jacqueline Pink, Chelsey Yellow, Yolanda Yellow, Chelsey White, Miranda Orange, Spicy Cheryl Orange). If you’re curious about integrating mums into a perennial garden visit the Japanese Garden or C.K. Patrick Perennial Garden where, like their potted counterparts, the mums will be in bloom this month. While you are in the Japanese Garden a small lavender-pink bloom may catch your eye. The approximately 0.5’ tall blooms of the hardy cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium) unveil their reflexed petals and sweet fragrance. However, to enjoy the nose on this flower one may need to need to put their belly to the ground. More hardy cyclamen can be found on the Western Reserve Herb Society’s (WRHS) Terrace. A showy display this month comes in the form of fruit not flowers on the Japanese beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma and cultivar ‘Issai’). The jewel-tones of this berry, even when not all berries have fully ripened, is such an exquisite site. The magenta-purple berries flanked by chartreuse fall foliage is quite stunning. Enjoy the Japanese beautyberry along the parking garage entrance ramp in the Campsey-Stauffer Gateway Garden, in the WRHS Trial and Cuttings Garden, in the Hershey Children’s Garden, an exquisite mass on the east side of C.K. Patrick Perennial garden, and a white-fruited variety in the Evans Restorative Garden. Another berry worth noting is the bright red berries of winterberry (Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Red’) in the Gateway Garden.