Good Fall Is Here! Garden Bloggers Bloom Day September 2017

– Posted in: What's up/blooming

In my mind there are two kinds of fall: “Good” Fall and “Bad” Fall. Good Fall is what we have now. The leaves on the trees are starting to turn color, temperatures have moderated so that you want to work in the garden again, the colchicums have started blooming and the many native autumn-blooming plants (goldenrods and asters) are at their peak, summer annuals are still going strong and some perennials are having a second flush of bloom. (Bad Fall is after the leaves drop and it’s cold enough that they’d call it winter down South.)

The best that autumn has to offer

Instead of individual flower photos, I’d like to share some vignettes that illustrate the best autumn has to offer.

Fall blooming flowers in shades of purply-pink.

This spot is on the north side of our deck. In the back, left to right, ‘Black Negligee’ bugbane and Angelica gigas. In front of them, ‘Amber Moon’ astilbe foliage, an unknown heuchera, Let’s Dance Diva! hydrangea, ‘Hot Lips’ turtlehead and ‘Zephyr’ colchicum scattered throughout.

Angelica gigas close-up of flower

The Angelica gigas is visible from the deck and just covered with pollinators. Fascinating to watch.

Lets Dance Diva hydrangea

I’ve been really happy with Let’s Dance® Diva! (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘SMHMLDD’). The flowers are huge and very pretty. And for a macrophylla, there were a lot of them.

But then, we did have a mild winter.
Hot Lips chelone and Zephyr colchicum

The ‘Zephyr’ colchicums and the ‘Hot Lips’ turtlehead really complement each other.

The Slope Garden was here when we moved in, and has always been a challenge for me because it’s not easy weeding on a slope. I’ve been adding plants that don’t need a lot of care–shrubs, ornamental grasses, ground covers, and bulbs–and have wound up with a Piet Oudolf/New Perennials type of garden bed. It looks terrific this time of year.
echinacea, liatris, spirea, hydrangea, colchicum byzantinum, lamium fall vignette

Here’s the far end of the uphill edge of the slope. In the back, I’ve got coneflower and a dwarf coneflower called ‘Butterfly Kisses’. Sandwiched between them are the spent flower stalks of Liatris spicata. The grass was here when we moved in, and I believe it’s ‘Morning Light’ miscanthus. Next to that is Phlox paniculata and ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ hydrangea. In front of them is Spirea ‘Crispa’ reblooming a bit. Below them all are Colchcium x byzantinum and a pink flowering lamium.

The ‘Butterfly Kisses’ and the species coneflower both wrap around the far side where you can’t see them. Eventually I want to divide them and continue them further along this edge.
Colchicum byzantinum

Colchicum x byzantinum isn’t the most intensely colored colchicum, but it’s not as pale as it seems in the previous photo. This is more accurate.

japanese blood grass, Cheyenne Sky switch grass, Penstemon calycosus, Vernonia glauca,  Veronicastrum

Still at the top of the slope, but closer to the house, Japanese blood grass, ‘Cheyenne Sky’ switch grass to its right, and then Penstemon calycosus. The blood grass is “interplanted” with a “self-sown” aster. Behind the blood grass and to the right of the aster is upland ironweed (Vernonia glauca) and Culver’s root behind it. Ornamental onion seedheads scattered throughout.

Let’s face it–most country folk still think asters are a weed. I didn’t plant that aster, it just showed up. But have you noticed? If you like a plant, you “edit” its seedlings. If you don’t like a plant, you weed those seedlings out. I routinely pull aster seedlings, and whether I deliberately left that one or just missed it, I really couldn’t say.

New fall bloomer

I’m not going to show you again all the flowers I showed you last year blooming at this time, but I do want to point out one fall bloomer that I didn’t have last year.

chrysanthemum ruby mound

Meet ‘Ruby Mound’ chrysanthemum. Ruby is just getting started, and I look forward to having it in my garden for many autumns to come.

Don’t forget these two exciting events!

(Well, they excite me!) Open Garden to view colchicums: My garden will be open to the public on September 30th so you can see a whole bunch of colchicums at one time, all labeled for easy identification. Details here. And I’m speaking at the Great Plants Symposium on October 6th along with three other fabulous speakers, including Kerry Mendez. Sign up here!

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens. Check it out at May Dreams Gardens.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

Jose September 20, 2017, 11:36 pm

You have such a lovely garden with so many beautiful colors. Down south, we’re still battling the heat with temps in the 90’s. My wife and I love the fall weather and look forward to it every year. It’s just ashamed it doesn’t last long enough.

Donna@Gardens Eye View September 19, 2017, 2:43 pm

That first photo is amazing…..our fall has turned back to summer the last couple weeks and it seems it will last until the end of September. I think I want fall back.

Kathy Purdy September 19, 2017, 2:53 pm

My feelings exactly, Donna–I want fall back! We’ve had more 80°F days in September than we did in August! And more rain, too!

Joanna September 18, 2017, 8:48 am

I love seeing vignettes and the bigger picture and I wish more garden bloggers would show more pictures like that instead of individual blooms. It gets my mind spinning with new plant combinations to try, or ones I didn’t think of. So thank you and happy gardening.

Kathy Purdy September 19, 2017, 2:55 pm

I think we all enjoy seeing the big picture, but mistakes are easier to hide when you shoot a close-up.

Jeannie September 17, 2017, 8:18 pm

I had to search Colchicums to see what they were, and of course I now want some.
Thanks for sharing on GBBD.
Jeannie @

Kathy September 17, 2017, 9:30 am

Beautiful Kathy! It is a lovely Fall … an Indian Summer – the summer we have been waiting for. Enjoy!

Lisa September 17, 2017, 1:11 am

Lovely garden vignettes – I’m a fan of Piet Oudolf’s approach and the naturalistic gardening style.

Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening September 16, 2017, 6:15 pm

I love the mixture of colors in your garden for the end of the summer and beginning of fall. Everything is so lovely and I am enjoying the vignettes!

Angie - Pitchfork & Spade September 15, 2017, 8:40 pm

Wow, wow, wow! Not only do I love your garden but I’ve learned about plants I’ve never heard of like the colchicum. What andelicate stunner! I’ll have to add the Byzantinum to my garden plan next year.

Tim Calkins September 15, 2017, 7:54 pm

Looks great! Assuming you’ve done a previous post on colchicum sources, could you point me to it? I know many bulb companies sell the more common types, and Odyssey Bulbs has a nice selection, but are there more?

Linda from Each Little World September 15, 2017, 7:33 pm

Some great looking combos. Love the switch grass with the blood grass. I will have to see if I can squeeze anything else in near my blood grass! Was excited to see your Colchicums after noticing the shout out in the Garden Design newsletter. Congrats.

Leslie September 15, 2017, 7:30 pm

Your garden is lovely this time of year! I love that chrysanthemum too!

commonweeder September 15, 2017, 4:22 pm

I love that first photo – a symphony in blue. In September! very inspiring. Somehow my camera doesn’t seem to find many vignettes, but I am going to work harder.