The cool weather this week has me looking forward to all the
things about fall I love: changing leaf colors (which will be especially
exciting this fall because my youngest daughter has decided her favorite color
is orange, and we’ll be on a constant search for bright orange leaves)
fall-blooming flowers, and open windows in the house.
In my garden, the palette of flower colors is slowly
changing from pinks and blues to yellows, oranges, and purples. Along the back perennial border, Mexican bush
sage is beginning to bloom in purple spires, and the buds of goldenrod are
about to break into yellow plumes of color.
Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not aggravate allergic
people; ragweed, which blooms at about the same time, causes sniffles.
Outside the vegetable garden, bright orange tithonia is
taller than I am. Along with the goldenrod,
red dahlia, and red pineapple sage, the warm colors contrast well with the cool
purple of the butterfly bush. Russian
sage, or Perovskia atriplicifolia
gives more purple color. The orange
berries from my Pyracantha shrub give a spot of bright orange that will last
through the winter.
|Sedum 'Autumn Joy' with guineas in the background|
Sedum, a nondescript succulent green perennial for most of
the year, is blooming and attracting beneficial insects. ‘Autumn Joy’ is in bloom with russet orange
flowers, and a shorter sedum blooms in pink.
The dried blooms will give the garden structure and interest through the
winter. Anemones, like ‘Robutissima’ and
‘Honorine Johbert’ provide touches of pink, purple, and white, as do
|Anemone 'Honore Jobert'|
A few months back, I cut back my chrysanthemums to encourage
them to bloom during the proper “mum blooming” time, fall. I planted mine in the garden like any other
perennial, and the poor things do not realize that humans have decided that
mums should only bloom in the fall. They
prefer to bloom in the summer. They form
buds in late June, and to prevent the early blossoms, I give them all a haircut
to within a couple of inches of the ground with some hedge trimmers. They have time to grow back so they will
bloom in the fall.
|Pyracantha with orange berries contrasts well with the purple Mexican Sage|
|I have no idea why this iris is blooming now, but I do enjoy it|
If you want to buy some fall-blooming perennials, garden
centers should have them now, or your gardening friends will be happy to share
theirs. Plant them now and keep them well
watered and you should have fall flowers in the garden before frost. If you buy chrysanthemums, consider buying
some in 4-inch or smaller pots instead of just the large, showy ones, and plant
them in the perennial border. They will
bloom this fall, and if you give them a haircut when the buds form in the early
summer, they will bloom again next fall.
Perennials can look ragged during the winter after the foliage has died,
so, on a pleasant winter day, go through your beds and cut to the ground any
brown sticks and foliage.