What’s that plant?
Visitors asked about two plants at my Open Garden. The first one is readily available at garden centers or online.Hydrangea paniculata is the only type of hydrangea that can be shaped into a tree form. If you’ve seen hydrangeas that look like trees growing in yards in your neighborhood or town, then you know this more colorful version will do fine for you. The other plant visitors asked about is not as easily found. Sometimes an online specialty nursery will offer it for sale, but I’ve always gotten mine as seedlings from friends or the nearest rock garden society sale. In theory, it will self-sow and produce more seedlings. In practice, this has never happened for me. Perhaps I don’t recognize the seedlings and weed them out. Or perhaps I really don’t have the right conditions. After all, I started with three seedlings, and only one made it to maturity. But I love its dramatic form and deep color, so whenever seedlings come my way, I try again. That’s the fun of gardening!
Plants that start blooming in autumn
We haven’t had a frost yet. I thought this might be a record for my garden, but looking over previous posts in October, I see we didn’t have a frost until this date in 2015–and yes, frost is expected tonight. As I mentioned last year, frost is not the end of the garden. Yet many of the open garden visitors expressed surprise at how much I did have blooming on the last day of September. They just don’t know my special plants and secret techiniques.And frost ruins the flowers. Too bad, as it’s winter-hardy to zone 4 (I’ve even seen zone 3). I love the lavender-blue flowers, and it’s a vigorous grower, but I only share this plant with gardeners in warmer climates. I’m not surprised it’s blooming now, as it has “Christmas” rose (Helleborus niger) parentage, and my October/November would be late December in Great Britain (where H. niger got its common name).
Plants that bloom again in fall
The secret to having lots of flowers in fall is to deadhead in summer. I’m not a tidy gardener. And since neglecting to deadhead doesn’t kill a plant, if I’m short on time, I’d rather weed or plant a new acquisition. But I’ve learned that deadheading certain plants means more flowers in the fall.I don’t deadhead these thoroughly and I’m pretty sure they would rebloom without deadheading. Maybe they would bloom even more if I cut off every dead flower. Some daylilies will rebloom if you promptly cut out the spent scapes and there are also reblooming bearded irises. Do you know some rebloomers that I didn’t mention?
Annuals that keep on blooming
Let’s face it: a lot of so-called summer annuals don’t really look like much here until September.Sweet alyssum, violas and pansies, golden feverfew, and flowering tobacco are other annuals that bloom in fall and even through the first frosts.
Fall foliage–it’s what defines the season
Every year I talk about colorful foliage in the garden, and you probably have your favorites, too–tell me about them in the comments. I just want to mention a few you might not have considered.
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.