Fall Flowers For Cold Climates

– Posted in: What's up/blooming

Where do people get this silly idea that hardly anything blooms in autumn? I gave my colchicum presentation this week and one attendee remarked that I inspired her to have color in her fall garden. There’s plenty of color in my fall garden, without even looking at the trees. Here’s just a sampling of what I see as I stroll around.

'Ruby Mound' chrysanthemum

‘Ruby Mound’ chrysanthemum (Dendranthema hybrid) is a true, rich red.

As more buds opened and the stems got top heavy, it has started to flop. The floppiness is why I’m supposed to pinch the stems back before July 4th, but I’m afraid it will delay bloom on an already pretty late bloomer. I guess I should pinch some stems and leave the others to see how much it really does delay flowering.
fire light hydrangea

Fire Light® hydrangea, a sample plant from Proven Winners, is almost as red as ‘Ruby Mound’–almost.

Fire Light® flowers open white and gradually deepen in color. When I opened my garden to the public for colchicum viewing last year, many people asked me the name of this hydrangea. It’s the same species as ‘Pee Gee’ hydrangea, but with a lot more bang for your buck. And it’s hardy to USDA Zone 3, people!
kingwood gold talinum

This is blooming, but the flowers aren’t the main point of ‘Kingswood Gold’ jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum).

I grew this from seed and placed it to contrast with the ‘Grape Expectations’ heuchera and the ‘Glory of Heemstede’ colchicum. Gardeners in warmer climates complain that this seeds everywhere and becomes a nuisance. I’m wondering how many of the seeds will germinate with frost due to come this week. I have read that the roots can be dug and stored over winter like dahlias, and I’m planning to try that this year, as well as collect some seed.

New to me this year–monkshood.

I got some starts from a friend, who didn’t know which monkshood it was. It took so long to start blooming that I wondered if it had died on me. Nope, it’s just getting started.
Sheffield Pink mum

This mum is called Sheffield Pink, but it looks more apricot to me.

I’ve been growing this for several years now, and it will bloom into November. The flowers can get knocked back by a hard freeze, but then more flowers open with the next warm spell.
Jindai aster

‘Jindai’ Tatarian aster has gotten ruined by frost in past years.

I’ve dug it up and given it to friends whose growing season lasts longer. But it grows back from every small piece of root, so I still have it, and this year I’m glad of it. It’s really pretty and we haven’t had frost yet.
giant colchicum quick fire hydrangea

Once you build up your supply of colchicums, you can really make a statement.

‘The Giant’ colchicum draws your eye to this bed, where Little Quick Fire® hydrangea, a sample plant from Proven Winners, glows up above, and golden feverfew zings up the corner.

More inspiration for a great autumn garden

These are some of my posts from previous autumns. They feature other great plants for fall.

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.

If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It’s a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it’s time to reflect on what’s come before.

~Mitchell Burgess in Northern Exposure

Comments on this entry are closed.

Lisa at Greenbow October 16, 2018, 6:43 am

The stone wall really sets off the line of cholchiums. They look like a pink froth bubbling up at the base of that wall. Happy GBBD.

Shelly October 15, 2018, 9:57 pm

I love the ‘Ruby Mound’ chrysanthemum. I haven’t been able to find any hardy varieties that look that pretty! Thanks for sharing where you got it from!

betty - NZ October 15, 2018, 7:42 pm

Gorgeous garden! The asters are so pretty.

Rebecca October 15, 2018, 3:53 pm

You aren’t kidding about your colchicums making a statement! Thanks for sharing.

Lea's Menagerie October 15, 2018, 1:18 pm

Beautiful! Happy Garden Bloggers’ Day!

Kathy October 15, 2018, 11:28 am

Beautiful Kathy! Sheffield Pink is my favorite Mum!

Cortney D October 15, 2018, 11:05 am

So here’s a question for you: Where do you source your mums? All we ever get around here are the ones sold in fall that aren’t hard. Its very hard to find varieties for sale in the spring. Do you grow them from seed? Online plant ordering? Thanks!

Kathy Purdy October 15, 2018, 12:17 pm

Hi, Cortney. I got the Ruby Mound from Bluestone Perennials. The Sheffield Pink was a passalong from a friend, but I’ve seen it sold online in several places. I haven’t ordered from them yet, but Mums of Minnesota was recommended by a friend. You’re probably aware that Minnesota is mostly USDA Zone 4 and colder, and they only sell mums that will grow there, so they’re certainly cold hardy.

Phillip October 15, 2018, 10:26 am

I love the Fire Light hydrangea. Stunning color!