I live in Massachusetts, zone 6a. Last June, I saw these plants on a clearance table of mixed annuals, none of which had name tags. They were already in bloom. The colors of both the leaves and the flowers were different from my other annuals, so I bought a few. I planted them in sunny spots around the yard, where they've been blossoming happily, with very little care, in all types of weather, including temperatures as high as 100°F. Since they're among the very few things still flowering after the frost, I'd definitely like to get some more next year.
These are also a good choice because, except for a few nibbles, they're of very little interest to the chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels and other creatures with whom they share space.
The base is a few inches around, and has very narrow, pointy, gray/green leaves, spreading more wide than tall. The rust colored flowers are on 3" - 4" stems, and each bloom lasts a number of weeks. The flowers have little, if any, scent. An interesting feature is that they close up in the evening, and re-open when the sun comes up. On cloudy days they never fully open.
These are pictures I took November 15. This flower looks a bit rough, but it's been there for over a month, and we've had two frosts this week!
What is this plant?
Edit: In response to comments, I changed the images to some that I hope are less blurry! The flower finally died last night so I couldn't take new pictures. I'm hoping the close-ups of the base will give some insight, since the leaves change dramatically in color and texture as they grow, on both the back and front.
Edit: I added pictures of just the leaves, although the quality's rather poor. The full page views look a bit better. The gray fuzz that covers about 2/3 of the front peels off easily. I don't know if the ends were always dark green, or if they grew beyond the fuzzy stage. The entire length of the backs are smooth. Also, the leaves have very small prickles along the edges.
Click on pictures for full size.