Friday, September 10, 2010

Colorful Autumn Garden (Part 2)

As you are learning, the end of the summer doesn't have to mean the end of your colorful garden. There are plenty of options for your garden with fall-blooming flowers and shrubs. Fall gardening will put you in the spirit of the season, and is a superb way to enjoy the beautiful outdoor weather before the frosty wintertime sets in and you'll rather be looking out at your lawn through a window with a cup of hot cocoa.  Here are more of my favorite fall bloomers.  (You can click on any photo to get a larger image; hit back to return to article.)

Eupatorium coelestinum
Hardy Ageratum (Eupatorium coelestinum 'Cori') provides wonderful blue color in the fall and looks so good at that time I would never want to be without it. The plant emerges late in the spring as small attractive green leaves and slowly grows to its full size of 3’, flopping and spreading all the time.  If you do not deadhead, you will have many seedlings next spring.  The seedlings are easy to weed out or transplant.  While hardy ageratum prefers full sun, I have many growing in part shade.  Eupatorium coelestinum 'Alba' is the white specie and is just as beautiful.

Ceratostigma (Leadwort, Plumbago)  is a  semi-woody, mat-forming perennial which spreads by rhizomes to form an attractive ground cover. Like many nice groundcovers, it can be somewhat invasive in optimum growing conditions.  These plants add a leafy green texture to the garden in summer, electric deep blue flowers from mid-summer on, and couldn't be prettier in autumn with its reddish leaves.

Buddleia 'Blue Chip' and Gomphrena 'Fireworks'
Buddleia 'Blue Chip' and Gomphrena 'Fireworks' continue with their beautiful blooms. Both are new on the gardening scene this year.  While most buddleias require deadheading for continuous bloom,  Blue Chip has been blooming since mid summer and hasn't stopped, without deadheading.  Fireworks was slow to start, but is now exploding with color.  Your choice of buddleia is almost endless.

Nick-named for their blossoms shaped like a turtle's head, Chelone is a carefree fall blooming perennial whose only real dislike is excessive dry heat. Chelone behaves itself, growing in a dense clump with attractive foliage and red, pink or white blooms.  An added bonus, Chelone is self-cleaning

Fall-blooming anemones also bring a touch of beauty to the autumn garden scape when delicately beautiful flowers burst open atop the plant’s willowy . The white and pink blossoms illuminate the shade garden, especially at dusk.  Newly opening blossoms mingle among the seed heads, providing a lovely show for several weeks between late July and October.  In favorable conditions, anemones will self-seed freely.

Hibiscus syriacus 'Diana'
Hibiscus syriacus 'Diana', a rose-of-sharon cloaks herself with flowers as lovely as the Greek goddess for which she is named. Lovely, large, pure-white flowers produce little or no seed so troublesome with many hibiscus syriacus.  Thus, 'Diana' will bloom continuously from late June until frost.  I shear Diana back each spring  to about 5' as she blooms on new wood only.

Remember, fall bloomers can get very tall and leggy growing foliage all summer. Once they bloom, they are often top heavy and fall over. To ensure your fall display is as glorious has it should be, you will either need to stake your fall bloomers earlier in the season or do some periodic pruning to make the plants stockier and more self-supporting.  Keep in mind that if you prune your plants, you will be delaying the bloom period by a week or more.

Two books I highly recommend for seasonal gardening:
Time-Tested Plants by Pamela J. Harper and
Continuous Bloom by Pam Duthie.

Colorful Fall Gardening, Part 1

Colorful Fall Gardening, Part 3
Colorful Fall Gardening, Part 4 

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