Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Colorful Autumn Garden Series, Part 4

Perennial chrysanthemums brighten any fall garden.

Fall has so much to offer us...much cooler temperatures, endless foliage colors, and rain.  Walking around my garden yesterday to take blog pictures took much longer than I thought it would, not because I could not find plants to photograph, but I just could not decide which plants photograph. (All the pictures in this blog were taken October 25, 2010.)

While most of my asters have finished blooming, Aster tataricus 'Jindai' is in full flower.  This tall aster has a stiff, upright habit and blooms well past October.  The 1" clusters of bright blue flowers with glowing yellow centers is a perfect partner for perennial chrysanthemums.

Itea 'Little Henry'
Double-duty shrubs are among my favorites.   ‘Little Henry’ Itea is a useful native plant that will not only reward you with lightly scented, pure white flowers in early summer; but just when you’re not expecting anything more from this little wonder, its green summer foliage changes to a brilliant multitude of burgundies and reds in the fall.

Another favorite is Fothergilla Blue Shadow.  Blue Shadow is adorned with honey-scented, bottlebrush flowers in early spring before it leafs out. But what sets this outstanding plant apart from the rest is its colorful dusty blue leaves. In the autumn the blue foliage transforms to shades of rich red, orange and yellow.

Penny Mac and Sambucus Black Lace
Ninebark and Black Lace Sambucus are two shrubs that provide year-round dark burgundy foliage.  Hydranges are known for their flower power, but many hydrangeas offer beautiful burgundy fall foliage as well.  Endless Summer, Penny Mac, and Oakleaf  are just three of the many hydrangeas that provide stunning fall color.  As an added bonus, Penny Mac and Endless Summer bloom right through the fall.

Fall seed heads on grasses are as varied as the grasses themselves.  One of my favorites is Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Moudry'.   While Moudry is an especially beautiful grass, the seed heads need to be cut back before winter to prevent reseeding.

Late blooming anemones do not easily give up and continue to flower, as do some of the roses.  Hyssops that were cut back late summer are still flowering.  And while the blooms on butterfly bushes have slowed down quite a bit, they continue to push out some new blooms. 

But the true stars of my late October gardens are
the peren- nial chrysan- themums  And do they know how to ham it up! Sheffields demand attention of anyone who passes by.  Shrugging off frost, these flowers will last well into November without blinking an eye.  I would never garden without  perennial chrysanthemums.

I hope my fall gardening series has encouraged you to discover the enjoyment of fall gardening. 

While we often search for plants that offer beauty, sometimes all we have to do is to take time to see the beauty.

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

Related blogs:
Colorful Fall Gardening, Part 1
Colorful Fall Gardening, Part 2
Colorful Fall Gardening, Part 3
Mums the Word

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