Fall for Flowers
Just because summer is on its way out doesn’t mean floral beauty has to leave with it. Try some of these suggestions to create a glorious, colorful fall garden at your home.
A shrub called Blue Mist has wonderful true blue flowers. When they open in late summer, every bee in my area comes to visit. A woody shrub, the Caryopteris or “Blue Mist” spirea reaches a height of 3 feet when planted in sun or partial shade, and it’s drought tolerant and virtually maintenance free.
Unassuming and hardy plants until in bloom, asters give us all shades of purple and lavender-blue flowers. I highly recommend the varieties “Purple Dome” and “New England.”
Autumn, a time of warm sun and little rain, is perfect for sedums. Their floral display attracts hundreds of insects, an entomologist’s delight.
Some much-loved sedums include “Frosty Morn,” with white flower buds and pink centers, “Autumn Joy,” with huge dark pink rose-heads, “Montra,” with deep red stems and pink floral display and “Vera Jamison,” a low-growing sedum with rosy flowers.
Mum’s the Word
Flats of chrysanthemums, plentiful at your local garden center, come in mauves, oranges, reds, yellows and rusts to offer more autumn color for our gardens. Buy some for pots, or plant them directly in your garden.
If you wish the mums to winter over, remember to follow these three steps. First, the plant must have six weeks to establish a root system before a freeze. Secondly, after the plant goes dormant, do not cut it to the ground. Instead, put extra mulch over the plant, and wait until spring to cut it to the ground.
More Fall Favorites
In August, the Lycrois, or “Surprise” lilies, burst up on long stems with their four-inch blooms with no leaves, earning this bulb the Hoosier common name “Naked Lady.” The leaves are visible only in the spring.
For the shade, use easy-care Japanese anemones and obedience plants, which are covered with pink or white flowers this time of year.
Many perennials, such as purple coneflower, black-eyed Susans and butterfly bushes, will bloom until a hard freeze as long as you remember to deadhead them (which means to cut off the old blossoms).
While not actual flowers, ornamental cabbages and kales also help create a colorful fall garden. Plant these in a sunny location, and watch their colors increase after a few frosts.